PSG will be eager to continue their winning run and retain their place at the top of the Ligue 1 table when they welcome Strasbourg to Parc des Princes on Saturday.
The international break is behind us and club football resumes for its second chapter in the 2019-20 season. In Ligue 1, defending champions PSG will be in action on Saturday, when they play hosts to 17th placed Strasbourg at Parc des Princes.
PSG seem to be back on track after a stuttering start to the 2019-20 Ligue 1 season. While they did begin their campaign with a 3-0 win over Nimes, a 2-1 loss to Rennes was an unexpected early setback, especially at a time when the Neymar transfer saga was rearing its ugly head.
But, Les Parisiens have since secured successive wins without conceding a single goal, getting past Toulouse and Metz with ease. Strasbourg, on the other hand, are one of three clubs that are yet to record a win in Ligue 1 this season.
Unsurprisingly, Le Racing are flirting with relegation in the early days of the season, with 18th placed Amiens behind them by just goal difference. Their quest for a first Ligue 1 win of the season though, is likely to continue when they PSG a visit.
The corresponding fixture last season was a gripping affair, as PSG came back from a goal down to hold Strasbourg to a 2-2 draw, thanks to Thilo Kehrer’s late equaliser. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the Ligue 1 encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Thomas Tuchel has seen some of his squad’s injury woes ease up, with Ander Herrera and Abdou Diallo returning to training, although neither player is expected to start against Strasbourg. The PSG boss though, is still missing four first-team players.
The most notable absentees are Kylian Mbappe (hamstring) and Edinson Cavani (hip), whose absence seemed to have left PSG shortchanged in attack. But, the French champions ended up signing Mauro Icardi on loan from Inter Milan, with the Argentine’s arrival easing some of the concerns.
More crucially, Neymar is set to make his first appearance of the season for PSG following a summer of bitter friction between the two parties. The Brazilian should take his place on the left side of the attack, with Icardi leading the line for the hosts. Angel Di Maria should complete the attacking unit against Strasbourg.
Herrera is in contention to make his Ligue 1 debut, but is unlikely to make the starting lineup on Saturday. In his stead, compatriot Pablo Sarabia should line up in the midfield trifecta, providing the creative impetus in the no. 8 role. Idrissa Gueye ought to be the defensive midfielder, with Marco Verratti being the workhorse in the middle of the park.
At the back, Thiago Silva and Marquinhos are expected to form the central defensive partnership, with Juan Bernat and Colin Dagba being the two full-backs. Keylor Navas is likely to make his PSG debut against Strasbourg as well, having completed his move to the French capital on deadline day.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Navas; Dagba, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Juan Bernat; Sarabia, Gueye, Verratti; Di Maria, Icardi, Neymar
Thierry Laurey does not have many injury concerns to deal with ahead of his side’s trip to the French capital. Against PSG on Saturday, the Strasbourg manager will be without just three first-team players, with Kevin Zohi, Anthony Caci and Youssouf Fofana sidelined.
Laurey should line his side up in a 3-4-1-2 formation, with the attacking midfielder contributing quite heavily on the defensive front as well. Matz Sels will be the man in goal for Strasbourg, with the Belgian expected to be a busy man in goal.
The back-three pretty much picks itself in the absence of Caci, with Alexander Djiku and Lamine Kone partnering Strasbourg captain Stefan Mitrovic. The two wing-backs – likely to be Kenny Lala and Lionel Carole – will double up on defensive duties to create a back five on the defensive transitions.
Up ahead in midfield, Ibrahima Sissoko will aim to hold the fort in front of the defensive line, with Dimitri Lienard and Adrien Thomasson being the creative forces in the middle of the park for the visitors. Lienard will take his place in the no. 10 role while Thomasson will support Sissoko in a double pivot.
Lebo Mothiba and Ludovic Ajorque should form the strike partnership once again, seeing as Zohi is on the sidelines.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Sels; Djiku, Mitrovic, Kone; Lala, Thomasson, Sissoko, Carole; Lienard; Ajorque, Mothiba
- PSG have won neither of their last two games against Strasbourg in Ligue 1 (1-1 in December 2018 at La Meinau and 2-2 in April 2019 at the Parc des Princes). The Ligue 1 champions last went three in a row without a win against Le Racing in the top-flight between April 1985-April 1986 (3).
- PSG have lost none of their 28 home games against Strasbourg in Ligue 1 (W21 D7). Only against Bastia (29 -W22 D7) have Les Parisiens gone more ties at home without being defeated.
- Strasbourg have won none of their last 22 games against reigning champions in Ligue 1 (D5 L17), with their last such win coming in December 1996 at Auxerre (1-0).
- Strasbourg, alongside Rennes, are one of the only two teams which have not conceded away from home in Ligue 1 this season.
- Strasbourg striker Nuno Da Costa has been involved in four goals against PSG in Ligue 1 (2 goals, 2 assists), more than against any other team.
Player to Watch
The dream return to Barcelona never quite materialised and Neymar now needs to turn his attention towards giving it all for PSG once again. With the Ligue 1 champions experiencing an injury crisis, Neymar will have a lot riding on him in his first appearance of the season.
But, the Brazilian superstar is expected to be greeted by a hostile Parc des Princes crowd, and it will be interesting to see how he copes in such an atmosphere. A crucial season though, begins for Neymar, who will need to perform in fine fashion in order to secure his PSG exit next summer at long last.
PSG 2-0 Strasbourg
Despite a raft of injuries, PSG are starting to find their feet this season and this is when they are their most dangerous in Ligue 1. A returning Neymar will have a point to prove, while Mauro Icardi and Keylor Navas will be eager to shine on their respective debuts.
Strasbourg are not an easy side to beat, as evidenced by the fact that they have not conceded a goal while on the road in the early days of the season. But, the gulf in quality is too hard to resist and we are going with a 2-0 win for PSG, who can consolidate their place atop the Ligue 1 standings in the process.