PARIS: Lyon travel to Paris Saint-Germain in the French Cup last-16 on Wednesday for a game that the champions, feeling stretched, tried to reschedule with their Champions League clash against Chelsea looming a week later.
Also on the agenda are the all Ligue 1 clashes Bordeaux v Nantes and Troyes v Saint-Etienne, while on Tuesday fifth division Granville from Normandy will hope to make the quarters when they host second tier Bourg-Peronnas.
Coach Laurent Blanc appeared tired when fielding questions after PSG’s 15th straight Ligue 1 win on Sunday, a bruising 2-1 victory at Marseille, and his comments will have pleased all at Lyon.
“The players, like you [journalists], are thinking about the game against Chelsea but…it’s not the last game before Chelsea, there’s one in three days and another in six.”
“Marseille gave us a really physical battle, we’ve now got to ready ourselves for the two games before Chelsea. It’s not going to be easy,” said Blanc.
The win meant PSG’s unbeaten run in Ligue 1 was extended to 34 matches to keep Blanc’s side a huge 24 points clear at the top of the table and the club are also in the League Cup final too.
David Luiz, Blaise Matuidi and Javier Pastore are all injury concerns, but Blanc has been heavily rotating his team in recent weeks anyway.
Resurgent Lyon are on the up since changing coach and moving stadium and currently lie sixth in Ligue 1 with their key striker Alexandre Lacazette finally starting to find the back of the net too.
At the weekend Lyon secured back-to-back league wins, 3-0 at high-flying Angers, for the first time since November and gave new coach Bruno Genesio a first league victory away from home.
“It is satisfying to have a second consecutive victory and what was important is the way we found confidence as a team,” Genesio said.
Cup romantics and those who love a classic underdog will turn their gaze on Norman seaside outfit Granville.
Their tiny 3,000 capacity Luis Dior stadium was given the green light to host the tie only on Friday after the pitch was lengthened by three meters and a referee’s car park spot provided nearer to their changing rooms.
The fifth division side’s rivals are Bourg-Peronnas, promoted to the second tier last season and where they currently occupy 11th place.
The Alpine outfit are giant killers themselves and thumped Ligue 1’s Rennes 3-1 in the last round, prompting the sacking of their coach.
Monaco are Ligue 1’s second-placed side and are so solid at the back they will be firm favorites to beat second tier Sochaux on Tuesday, a night when Corsican first division minnows Gazalec travel all the way to Brittany’s St Malo.
On Thursday in the last-16’s final tie third division Trelissac will at least boost their coffers when they host Marseille.