Marquinhos with chance to impress in PSG's cup clash vs. Lyon
In the 76th minute of Paris Saint-Germain's 2-1 win away at Olympique de Marseille last Sunday, PSG defender David Luiz stayed down after a challenge with what looked like a thigh injury.
However, instead of accepting coach Laurent Blanc's swift decision to be replaced by Marquinhos, the 28-year-old Luiz played on. Marquinhos eventually entered the pitch at Stade Velodrome, but it was six minutes later and in place of the injured Blaise Matuidi and not Luiz.
The PSG No. 32's insubordination visibly irritated Blanc and it reportedly did not sit well with many of his teammates either -- particularly Marquinhos.
Le President admitted in his Tuesday press conference ahead of Wednesday's Coupe de France round of 16 clash with Olympique Lyonnais that there had been an issue with Luiz's behaviour, but he also revealed that he has spoken with the Brazil international to clear the air.
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Considering the fragile state of Luiz's knees, it is likely that he will be rested at Parc des Princes on Wednesday, giving Marquinhos a chance to impress in his preferred central defensive role.
The 21-year-old needs to make the most of it. With PSG's calendar extremely busy for the next few weeks, the young Brazilian will be getting numerous starts, as Blanc rotates his workforce in order to deal with the demands of domestic and continental competitions.
After Luiz's antics in Marseille, Marquinhos could capitalise on the situation and force his way into the starting XI on a more regular basis. However, if he is to do that, he needs a strong performance against Lyon in the Coupe de France and then another against Lille OSC this Saturday in Ligue 1.
Captain Thiago Silva and Luiz are close on and off the pitch, but Les Parisiens' skipper and the influential Thiago Motta both questioned the frizzy-haired defender's attitude at Stade Velodrome on Sunday.
If there is uncertainty there at this moment, then Marquinhos needs to do whatever he can to prove that he is the best option alongside Luiz -- something many believe he already is.
As for the rest of the PSG squad ahead of the Lyon clash, the Ligue 1 leaders are still without Marco Verratti and Gregory van der Wiel.
With the UEFA Champions League last 16 clash with Chelsea just around the corner, supporters will be fervently praying that the Italy international will be fit to return to action against Lille this weekend.
Matuidi is included, despite taking a knock late in the Marseille win, but Javier Pastore's return to action has been delayed by a late strain suffered in the final training session before Le Classique last weekend. Like Verratti, PSG fans will be desperate to see the Argentina international play some part against Lille this Saturday. If he does not, then El Flaco will most likely miss out against Chelsea.
Were Verratti to be absent as well, the French giants would suddenly be starved of creativity against Guus Hiddink's men. With so many players out or likely to be rested for PSG on Wednesday, Lyon have perhaps the best chance yet to become the first domestic team to beat them this season.
Doing so would end the capital club's push for glory on one front, but their record Ligue 1 unbeaten streak would still remain intact.
If Lyon can leave Paris having knocked out the Coupe de France holders, then Lille will believe that ending Les Parisiens' impressive series of matches without defeat on Saturday is possible -- especially if Blanc rotates his squad again.
Jonathan Johnson is based in Paris and the voice of PSG TV. He also writes for French Football Weekly. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.