PSG look to bastion-of-strength Edinson Cavani for goals against Lyon
Paris Saint-Germain welcome Olympique Lyonnais to the French capital on Sunday, and the defending champions will have Bruno Genesio's men to thank for keeping the Ligue 1 flag flying in continental competition along with AS Monaco.
Usually it's PSG still going strong in the UEFA Champions League at this point in the season, but after Unai Emery's team inexplicably collapsed and allowed Barcelona to write history, Monaco have been left to go at it alone in Europe's top table.
Flying a little under the radar due to Les Monegasques' vibrant displays against Manchester City, Lyon still deserve tremendous credit for dumping AS Roma out to reach the UEFA Europa League quarterfinals a few days ago.
Lyon's progress is good news for Ligue 1 and also for PSG, because Les Gones will be tired after their exertions at Stadio Olimpico in Rome when they arrive at Parc des Princes.
One member of the 19-man home squad assembled by Emery, in-form striker Edinson Cavani, will be particularly pleased by this prospect, as it offers him a good opportunity to continue adding to his rising stock in Paris and his 27 Ligue 1 goals so far.
Speaking with PSG's official website ahead of the match, the Uruguay international paid tribute to Lyon's consistency but insisted he and his teammates will focus on themselves and not their opponents.
"We know that before going off to join our respective national teams, we have a big game to play against Lyon," Cavani said. "They are a team that works well, is competitive, always near the top of the table and a big club.
"But we must above all think about ourselves, our work, and prepare the match well to get the three points and string together wins."
In the aftermath of the Barcelona debacle, Cavani is being looked to as one of the rare bastions of mental fortitude in Emery's side after he managed to emerge from Nou Camp with some credit in a typically committed and wholehearted showing.
It is easy to see why. On the pitch, Cavani is selfless and gives absolutely everything he's got in every game, showing passion that few of his teammates can match. He might be softly spoken, but the 30-year-old from Salto is one of the squad's most experienced figures and an inspiration to others.
Although it is not certain that current captain Thiago Silva will lose the armband at the end of this season, it would make a lot of sense to relieve the pressure on the beleaguered Brazil international, because the role has burdened him ever since his well-documented 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign.
Whether or not Cavani gets considered as a potential alternative, Les Parisiens' No. 9 will continue to see his star rise above Parc des Princes if he keeps scoring at his insatiable current rate. He has four goals and an assist from his last five Ligue 1 outings.
The Uruguay striker scored twice in PSG's 2-1 win away at Lyon in November and has gone on to plunder many more since. However, one of the strongest aspects of his character is that he almost always delivers in the big games, and Lyon at home -- in domestic terms -- is one such match.
Cavani has made Lyon one of his preferred victims over the years, and he needs another goal-scoring performance against them this weekend to help his team remain in pursuit of league leaders Monaco.
With his proposed new contract still not signed, PSG will no doubt be happy to make their offer even more generous if their star striker keeps delivering the goods. As his form so far this term has proved, a happy Cavani is a productive one and a force to be reckoned with.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.