Ligue 1

Ligue 2: Could Paris FC Reignite A Long-Awaited Parisian Derby?

Ogou Edmond Akichi of Paris FC during the Ligue 2 match between Paris FC and Le Havre at Stade Charlety on August 11, 2017 in Paris. August 11, 2017
Ligue 2: Could Paris FC Reignite A Long-Awaited Parisian Derby?

The importance of inter-city derbies in football cannot be lost on those who enjoy the energy it yields, the way matches divide big cities with big dreams of gracing the big stage, or la grande surface in French, in competitions like the UEFA Champions League. Paris Saint-Germain are the main team in France’s largest metropole and are the standard by which Ligue 1’s relevance will inevitably be judged. But their stronghold is the affluent, richer, wealthier western portions of the city, anchored by the seventh and 16th arrondissements and the nearby commune of Boulogne-Billancourt.

We covered this team in the past on TST and we are going to check on them again. The Paris Football Club, Paris FC, spun off from PSG in the 1970’s, represents the eastern arrondissements and the nearby suburbs, the crime-ridden banlieus. Their home ground, the Stade Charlety, doesn’t pack crowds often, but something magical is happening in the eastern parts of Paris. PFC, as they are known, are managed by a relative outsider named Fabien Mercadal. At 45, Mercadal, a former defender, may be green in terms of experience, but he has risen from the amateur ranks to lead Paris to a remarkably strong campaign after being the manager last season at now-struggling Tours FC (who are winless this season and are at the bottom of Ligue 2).

After 10 rounds of the 2017-18 Ligue 2 season, Paris are 6-2-2 (20 points), good for fourth on the table. Two other sides are better than Paris FC on goal differential: second=place AC Ajaccio (+10 GD) and third-place Stade Brestois 29 (+6 GC, PFC’s GD is +3). They have won four of their last five matches.

Paris FC won’t dazzle you with big names but they have working-class talent that are getting the results that matter. Malik Tchkounte, a journeyman forward, leads Paris FC in goals with four to his credit. A couple of players for PFC have two goals in Saifeddine Alami Bazza and Dylan Saint-Louis. Alami is the main workhorse for Paris FC with three assists to lead the club. At 24, his form could see him make a start for a big name and eventually a call-up.

The immediate schedule for Paris FC is straightforward, with the next three games against opposition in the bottom half of the table. Paris are away to 17th-placed FC Sochaux-Montbeliard on Oct. 13, at home to 11th placed Valenciennes FC on Oct. 20 and away to 16th-placed Gazelec Ajaccio on Oct. 27. If PFC can get nine points from the stretch, maybe, just maybe, the beasts from the east can dream of a big Parisian derby with PSG taking place as soon as next season.

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Jo-Ryan Salazar is a writer for The Stoppage Time, a soccer blog powered by Azteca Soccer. A supporter of the Los Angeles Galaxy since 1996 and a committed supporter since 2002, Jo-Ryan also follows Chelsea FC, Melbourne Victory, FC Tokyo and Paris Saint-Germain. Apart from soccer, Jo-Ryan is an administrative assistant for a local nonprofit in Long Beach, California and also does photography, photo-editing and fictional writing.

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