After Chelsea's and PSG's matches on Saturday, a 5-1 win over Newcastle and a 0-0 draw with Lille, respectively, attentions turned to Tuesday's Round of 16 Champions League first leg clash between the two teams. It will be the third year in a row that the English and French heavyweights meet in the knockout rounds. Old foes, close matches, small margins.
While Chelsea (and our 12-match unbeaten run) are dealing with a couple crucial injuries in defense — there's a good chance that we will be without both of our first-choice center backs, John Terry and Kurt Zouma — and key man Eden Hazard's fitness is still being regarded with careful eyes, PSG (and their 23-match unbeaten run) are dealing with a few issues of their own as well. The annoyingly great (and greatly annoying) Marco Verratti and the annoyingly oft-ridiculous Javier Pastore are not quite match fit after recently recovering from hamstring and calf injuries, respectively. They subbed for each other at half on Saturday, but Blanc already confirmed that neither will start on Tuesday.
"Just like Pastore, I don't think he (Verratti) can start against Chelsea. It's too risky. Everything goes faster in a Champions League game. If you play, you risk to get injured again."
-Laurent Blanc; source: Reuters
Young Adrien Rabiot will likely continue to deputize for Verratti, completing the midfield trio alongside usual suspects Motta and Matuidi. While Matuidi did play yesterday and Lucas Moura got a few minutes off the bench, other key men like Zlatan, Thiago Silva, Maxwell, and Serge Aurier all got to sit out and rest. Although, in the latter's case, it would appear that he might've had just a bit too much time on his hands.
Serge Aurier caught in the act of not contributing to improving the image of 'the modern footballer'. Check -> twitter. Extraordinary.— Philippe Auclair (@PhilippeAuclair) February 14, 2016
The right back, alongside a friend, apparently hosted a live Periscope session, during which he made several ill-advised comments, insulting several teammates, fans, and even his manager. Here's a Reddit thread with just about all the nitty-gritty detail you'd want. Safe to say, it's not a good look for him.
The news exploded all over Twitter and the French press without much delay. While Aurier tried to do some damage control by claiming that the video was fake or that it was old and altered, according to those who have seen it, there's no doubt that it was from yesterday, with live user comments on the screen referencing February 14 (i.e. Valentine's Day) as happening tomorrow.
Most expect some repercussions to follow; losing his starting spot against Chelsea could just be the beginning of his problems. Aurier's backup is Gregory van der Wiel, a much easier proposition for whoever plays left wing for Chelsea.