Depth Charge: Dinamo Zagreb v PSG Preview

Posted by Jonathan Johnson

Kevin GameiroGettyImagesPSG's Kevin Gameiro scores against Reims

Carlo Ancelotti's Paris Saint-Germain squad travelled to Zagreb for their crunch clash with Dynamo at the Maksimir on Wednesday with the Italian facing a number of problems and a squad selection dilemma. Added to a growing injury list at the weekend was centre-back Mamadou Sakho who suffered a late knock against Reims on Saturday. Now with defence and midfield options stretched, Ancelotti will have to utilise some of the considerable strength in depth the club possess.

Currently the list of players in the infirmary stands at Mamadou Sakho (thigh), Clement Chantome (thigh), Ezequiel Lavezzi (groin) and Thiago Motta (not fit). Add to that the unregistered trio of defenders Diego Lugano and Siaka Tiene, and striker Peguy Luyindula and Ancelotti's options are decreased greatly. One positive for the Italian however, is the return of Mathieu Bodmer to the squad after injury.

Given the age of some of the options available to Carletto, particularly at the back, it is expected that he will favour a defensive partnership of Alex and Thiago Silva with Christophe Jallet and Maxwell on either side. Kevin Gameiro can rightfully expect to keep his place in the side following his showing against Reims so a Blaise Matuidi, Marco Verratti, Momo Sissoko and Javier Pastore midfield behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gameiro could suit the Italian. It would allow him to explore the possibility of navigating the upcoming tricky away fixture against Nancy in Ligue 1, with a more dynamic and attack-based version of his favoured 4-3-2-1.

If Gameiro and Ibrahimovic can function as a pair up front with the Frenchman dropping into the role of support striker, it would allow Pastore to exploit the freedom that he enjoys in continental competition that he is not afforded domestically. Bodmer would be a good addition to the midfield base of Verratti and Matuidi but given his lack of match practice, a defensive workhorse such as Sissoko would allow Verratti to step into the more creative role giving the side added thrust from midfield.

With Nene missing as well, Ancelotti needs to bring Bodmer back into the fold but rushing him back into action so soon is a risk, so perhaps a 20 minute substitute appearance followed by a start in Lorraine is more likely. That said, a more attacking showing is needed by PSG in a match that they now need to win following a weak showing against Porto last time out. It would also put distance between themselves and their hosts ahead of the return match-up in a fortnight's time.

The defence is less of a problem for now, but after Gregory Van der Wiel's less than impressive showing against Reims, it would be no surprise if Ancelotti opted to field captain Christophe Jallet to balance to defence. Alex and Thiago Silva will hope to improve their previous showing together against Marseille where they shipped two first half goals to Andre-Pierre Gignac, days after Silva claimed he was more comfortable playing alongside his compatriot than injured French star Sakho.

Zagreb should not be underestimated but if PSG really want to make an impact on the competition then they should see this game as an opportunity to get their first away win of this season's competition. Putting themselves in a strong position to take another three points at home to the Croats before travelling to Kiev to face Dynamo in a difficult away tie is a priority. If not, Ancelotti will be forced into rotating certain members of his squad in an effort to keep them fresh for the return match in two weeks' time, running the risk of being under strength in the Coupe de la Ligue next week when they face bitter rivals Marseille.

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