This Saturday, PSG will travel to take on Bastia in the sixth round of fixtures in the 2012-13 Ligue 1 campaign. PSG enter the game in 4th place after a run of form that saw them win their past two games after surprisingly drawing their first three. Bastia are in 13th place as their early season success has recently faltered and the club has lost its last three consecutive matches. Bastia will be looking to bounce back against Les Parisiens however, given the quality of PSG and Bastia’s poor run of form, this game has the makings of the latter losing their fourth consecutive match.
Expect the home side Bastia to line up in a highly attacking 4-2-1-3. The newly promoted side will field Magno Novaes in goal and have a back-line featuring Gael Angoula at right back, Sylvain Marchal and Maka Mary as the center backs, and Fethi Harek as the left back. The two more withdrawn midfielders are Yannick Cahuzac and last year’s Serie B Player of the Year Jerome Rothen. The attacking midfield spot will be occupied by Julian Palmieri, who will play slightly behind the attacking trio of Florian Thauvin, Toifilou Maoulida, and Anthony Modeste. The most recognizable name on Bastia’s team sheet is Jerome Rothen who has fashioned a great career for himself but has seen his best days pass him by.
Unlike their opponents, PSG is able to field seasoned internationals all over the pitch and start out with Ligue 1′s preeminent goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu. Captain Christophe Jallet will be marshaling the right flank while the other defensive spots will be occupied by three Brazilians- Alex and Thiago Silva as the central defensive pairing and Maxwell as the left back. Their midfield will consist of the man dubbed as the “next Andrea Pirlo” Marco Verratti, Blaise Matuidi, and Clement Chantome. Slightly in front of the aforementioned midfielders will be last year’s Ligue 1 joint top scorer Nene, after Javier Pastore and Ezequiel Lavezzi are listed as doubtful because of injuries. The strike duo will consist of Jeremy Menez and superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Expect Menez to play slightly behind Ibrahimovic, alongside Nene, where they both will be tasked with getting the Swedish dynamo into goalscoring opportunities.
Even with a depleted roster, I fully expect PSG to beat the newly promoted side handily. On paper, the Paris side is the class of the league and it will be very difficult for Bastia to overcome such a disadvantage when it’s compounded with their poor run of form. One should see plenty of chances created by PSG and it’s fair to say that they will convert a fair number of them as I predict a final scoreline of 4-0 to the visitors. Bastia will likely have to look for fixtures not involving Ligue 1′s best on-paper team in order to come away with points that they will need if they are to ensure their survival in France’s top flight.