Paris Saint-Germain will look to increase their lead at the top to 13 points when they lock horns with Olympique Lyonnais on Sunday.
Paris Saint-Germain have continued their dominance in domestic football following the appointment of Thomas Tuchel, with the French champions being one of only two teams yet to be beaten in Europe’s top five leagues thus far. And the former Borussia Dortmund manager will hope for more of the same as his side takes on Olympique Lyon on Sunday.
No other side in the history of Ligue 1 has gathered as many points as PSG have at this stage of the competition, with Tuchel’s men having already opened up an astonishing 10-point gap at the top of the table.
They have also registered four back to back wins in all competitions, following their shock 2-1 defeat to Guingamp in the cup – a period in which Les Parisiens have plundered as many as 18 goals, nine of which came in the win against Guingamp in the league about a fortnight ago.
As for Lyon, they are 16 points behind the table-toppers and will be looking to close in on second-placed LOSC Lille. Much like PSG, however, Les Gones also endured a quarter-final defeat in the Coupe de la Ligue back in January.
But, they have since remained unbeaten and have won all of their last three matches in all competitions, meaning they will be confident of their chances against the French champions this weekend.
And here at the Hard Tackle, we take a look both of these sides ahead of this mouthwatering Ligue 1 encounter on Sunday.
Team news & Tactics
With Marcelo back from suspension, coach Bruno Genesio could revert to a three-man backline, which would see the Brazilian slot into the centre-back role alongside Marcal and Jason Denayer. Leo Dubois is expected to occupy the right wing-back slot, while Ferland Mendy should start on the opposite flank.
Genesio is unlikely to tinker too much with the side that secured a narrow win over Amiens, meaning Tanguy Ndombele and Houssem Aouar could both feature at the base of Lyon’s 3-4-1-2.
Ndombele’s athleticism and work-rate will be important against the technically superior PSG midfielders while Aouar will be tasked with the responsibility of providing the creative essence in the middle third.
Further up front, Nabil Fekir will operate as the lone attacking midfielder. The French international is the club’s joint-top scorer this season, having scored nine goals in all competitions.
He will look to provide service to two frontmen in Memphis Depay and Moussa Dembele while Maxwel Cornet, who started against Amiens will provide Genesio with additional options in the final third. Martin Terrier and Bertrand Traore are the other options should the French coach opt for extra firepower up front.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Lopes; Marcal, Marcelo, Denayer; Dubois, Ndombele, Aouar, Mendy; Fekir; Depay, Dembele.
The absence of Neymar and Marco Verratti will be a huge blow for the visitors while Lassana Diarra and Adrien Rabiot, who has been a subject of major transfer speculation, are also unlikely to feature against Lyon.
Tuchel explored the 4-2-2-2 formation in the win over Stade Rennais last weekend but the German is likely to revert to his customary 4-3-3 shape.
New signing Leandro Paredes is expected to deputize for the injured Verratti at the base of PSG’s 4-3-3 while Dani Alves will also continue on his role as the central midfielder, in the absence of Rabiot. The Brazilian will be partnered by Julian Draxler on the other side of the midfield, though the German international is largely expected to operate in an advanced role.
In defence, Thomas Meunier will replace Thilo Kehrer in the right-back slot while Bernat could make way for Layvin Kurzawa on the opposite flank. Tuchel could also make changes in central defence, with Marquinhos likely to get the nod over Presnel Kimpembe. He will be partnered by the experienced Thiago Silva.
Minimal changes are expected in attack, however, especially with Neymar out. Thus, Edinson Cavani will continue to lead the PSG attack, partnered by the wide-duo of Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Areola; Meunier, Marquinhos, Silva, Kurzawa; Alves, Paredes, Draxler; Mbappe, Cavani, Di Maria.
- Paris Saint-Germain have won 5 of their last 6 matches against Olympique Lyon in all competitions.
- The reigning Ligue 1 champions have won 18 of their last 20 league matches.
- Lyon have lost only three of their last 24 games against PSG in Ligue 1. However, two of those defeats came in their last six meetings.
- No other team has beaten PSG in Ligue 1 more often than Lyon since their Qatari era began in August 2011.
- Five of Lyon’s 12 against Paris in Ligue 1 have been scored from outside the box.
Player to Watch
Leandro Paredes (Paris Saint-Germain)
After joining PSG last month, snubbing Chelsea’s keen interest, Leandro Paredes is poised to make his Ligue 1 debut this weekend. He is expected to fill in the role of Verratti, who is facing a spell on the sidelines.
The former Zenit midfielder is certainly a talented individual, whose excellent passing and distribution could make life difficult for the Lyon midfielders. And with Alves partnering him in PSG’s midfield, Paredes will also have the license to go forward, meaning he can push the opposition with his driving runs.
However, it remains to be seen whether or not he will be able to integrate to Tuchel’s Juego de Posicion style of play at PSG – making him one of the players worth keeping an eye out for this weekend.
Olympique Lyonnais 0-2 Paris Saint-Germain
Lyon have done well in recent games but had to work really hard to collect all three points against Amiens last weekend. Therefore, it is unlikely that they will be able to cause an upset on Sunday, especially considering PSG’s fiery form in the lead-up to this game. Thus, we at The Hard Tackle expect a comfortable 2-0 victory for the visitors in this one.