Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Bernard Mendy for Paris Saint-Germain (v Racing Club Lens), 29 March 2008
Despite their controversial injury time winner in last weeks French League Cup Final, the once mighty Paris Saint-Germain could be playing in next seasons UEFA Cup whilst languishing in the second tier of French football.
The famous club - one of the founder members of G14 - have had a tough few seasons in the shadow of regular champions Lyon. Despite some experienced management (current manager is Paul le Guen - tipped a few years back as one of the leading young coaches in the European game) and some reasonable quality players (French internationals Bernard Mendy, Peguy Luyindula, Mikael Landreau and Jerome Rothen plus Portuguese striker Pauleta, to name but a few), the past Cup Winners Cup winners have spent most of this season in the bottom half of the table.
Now, with six matches of the season remaining, PSG sit in the relegation zone of le Championnat in 18th position. It's tight down there - four teams sit on 35 points - but PSG have shown no sign in recent weeks of dragging themselves out of their perilous position, culminating in Saturday's 1-0 defeat at AS Nancy.
It's been a difficult year for some of Europe's most famous clubs. Deportivo la Coruna, Spanish champions as recently as 2000 have only recently dragged themselves out of the relegation mire they have been in for most of the season. Valencia - La Liga champions in 2002 and 2004 and Champions League/UEFA Cup finalists this decade - are slipping towards the drop zone at an alarming rate (they are 6 points off the drop with 7 games to go). AZ Alkmaar, pipped to the Eredivisie title last season on a dramatic last day are just safe from relegation. Parma, UEFA Cup winners in 1999 are one off the Serie A drop zone.
Whilst it's likely that these other former giants will live to fight another day, PSG have a mere six matches to save their Championnat status which, on current form, looks less and less likely as each week goes by.