Paris Saint-Germain news

PSG like Arsenal 'Invincibles' - Cygan

December 4, 2013
By Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

Former Arsenal defender Pascal Cygan sees similarities between the Gunners' legendary team of 'Invincibles' and Ligue 1's current unbeaten leaders, Paris Saint-Germain.

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Cygan was part of Arsene Wenger's squad that won the 2003-04 Premier League without losing a single game of that campaign.

PSG have not suffered a league defeat since last March, and Laurent Blanc's table-topping side can extend their own streak of invincibility to 27 games -- five shy of the all-time Ligue 1 record -- at Evian-Thonon-Gaillard on Wednesday.

"There are a lot of similarities between the two sides," the former centre-back, 39, told Le Parisien. "There's a real team spirit in a squad that is head-and-shoulders above the rest.  And I note that the squad has been constructed with a very large number of foreigners, just like us at the time."

Cygan -- who appeared 18 times in the league for Arsenal as they won their last league title almost a decade ago -- sounded a note of caution to PSG's star-studded squad.

"There will be a time when they slacken off in the league," he said. "The guys are going to want to save themselves for the decisive games and Laurent Blanc will want to look after his best players. It's at that moment that their unbeaten run will be vulnerable.

"At the time, Arsene Wenger was very careful, and alongside me on the bench were the likes of [Sylvain] Wiltord and [Dennis] Bergkamp, internationals whom our opponents feared just as much as those who were starting. That's not exactly the case for PSG right now."

Blanc's options could become fewer still should Ezequiel Lavezzi leave the club in January. The Argentine international, 28, has been moved to the margins of Blanc's plans following some below-par displays this season.

That has sparked speculation the former Napoli star would welcome a move back to Italy in the New Year with Inter Milan -- coached by his former boss in Naples, Walter Mazzari -- particularly keen. Blanc, however, told the press to focus on the present.

"What worries me is that you're already looking ahead to the winter transfer window," Blanc said. "Stop announcing things. I want to keep the same squad. If certain people want to leave, they'll talk to the board. Personally, he hasn't said anything to me.

"I don't speak too much about individuals, but there are players who must do better. They have the ability to do that and have shown they can do that. 'Pocho' is working physically now. His problems are perhaps in that area."

There was a similar message for Lavezzi's compatriot, Javier Pastore, who has also yet to fully establish himself as a first-team regular.

"Javier also needs to work. Let's not forget he was injured for a month, a month-and-a-half. There's no substitute for playing competitive games. But during his absence, the team played, things happened. To get back your place in the starting lineup, you have to roll up your sleeves and work."


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