What: French Ligue 1
Who: Paris Saint-Germain vs Lyon
When: Sunday 2nd October 2011, at 19:00 UK Time
Where: Parc des Princes, Paris, France

Javier Pastore Powered PSG

Paris Saint-Germain have surged to the top of the French league following a slow start as Argentine playmaker Javier Pastore has shown why sporting director Leonardo decided to shell out €42M to bring him to the French capital from Palermo.

Pastore was meant to be the creative force upon which the team was built, with Jeremy Menez and Nene buzzing around him and supplying the goalscoring opportunities for Kevin Gameiro to convert. But the Argentine has scored four himself, including two last weekend in the stunning 3-0 win at the team they displaced at the top of the league, Montpellier.

The former Palermo man’s contribution has been vital, helping to put a poor start quickly behind the club after an opening day defeat to Lorient was followed up with a draw at Rennes. But in the week both Menez and Kevin Gameiro were rested at Athletic Bilbao and PSG lost. With the duo back, Kombouare will hope to put down a marker against one of the club’s title rivals in the year ahead.

Yoann who?

For Lyon, it has been a superb start to life at the helm at the Stade Gerland for new coach Remi Garde in spite of the absence of the man supposed to be the figurehead around which his new team is built – Yoann Gourcuff.

Les Gones’ first defeat under Garde’s management came away against Caen after seven games, but a great win against Bordeaux last week kept the side on level pegging with PSG and Toulouse.

Bafatembi Gomis has powered their start to the season with eight goals in all competitions, but he has been ably assisted by Brazilian star Michel Bastos, who has also been impressive after deciding to stay with Lyon in the summer.

Gourcuff was meant to be key to the new project at the Stade Gerland under Garde, but he is yet to feature due to injury. But in his absence, youngsters such as Clement Grenier and Maxime Gonalons have been able to shine in midfield alongside Bastos and Kim Kallstrom, whilst the defence has become tighter with Bakary Kone taking the place of Brazilian veteran Cris. The entire Lyon side look set for their toughest test yet against Pastore and co.

Recent form

Paris Saint-Germain:
Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 Nice
(21/09; Ligue 1)
Montpellier 0-3 Paris Saint-Germain (24/09; Ligue 1)
Athletic Bilbao 2-0 Paris Saint-Germain (29/09; Europa League)

SM Caen 1-0 Lyon (21/09; Ligue 1)
Lyon 3-1 Bordeaux (24/09; Ligue 1)
Lyon 2-0 Dinamo Zagreb (27/09; Champions League)

Key absences

Paris Saint-Germain: Mamadou Sakho; Milan Bisevac (doubt); Zoumana Camara

Lyon: Yoann Gourcuff; Lisandro Lopez; Clement Grenier; Cris; Ederson (doubt)

Players to watch

Paris Saint-Germain – Javier Pastore: Predictable but nonetheless the man everyone will have their eyes on. With four goals and two assists in five starts, and PSG unbeaten in all of those games, ‘El Flaco’ will be the player Kombouare’s men look to find when in possession. His ability to create chances with his passing and goalscoring have been pivotal in the Parisians’ rapid rise to the top of the table. 

Lyon – Michel Bastos: Gomis may have stolen most of the glory with his goalscoring form for club and country, but Bastos has been key. Having looked set to leave for Italy and Juventus in the summer, Garde’s appointment kept the Brazilian at the club and he has since completed the turnaround with a run of superb performances for Lyon. Perhaps the pick was last time out against Bordeaux, where he scored superbly having already set up Gomis. In this tough ask the Brazilian will be called upon to be the team’s creative spark once more.

Match Predicition

PSG struggled on Thursday in the Europa League having decided to rest Menez and Gameiro, and time will tell whether Kombouare was wise to take the gamble ahead of the Lyon game to give the pair time out, or if it was foolish to risk interrupting their good form. Lyon on the other hand, come into the game having won comfortably in the Champions League in midweek, and they have the resilience as well as attacking threat going forward to match the Parisians.

It is a shame for neutrals that the game will be deprived of the potential battle of the playmakers between the €22M Gourcuff and Pastore. But both teams have an attacking mentality which promises an entertaining encounter at the Parc des Princes.

All the pressure though will be on the Parisians and Kombouare in particular, whilst Lyon can relax knowing that they have already exceeded expectations for their start. Both teams are level on points, goals scored and goals conceded. Expect more of the same. Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 Lyon.

The French Ligue 1 clash between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon  is sure to be a game with lots of betting opportunities. Want to find the best bets to enjoy it even more? Visit OLBG.com where you can put your knowledge to use, find a range of tips and see the latest betting odds.