The 2019-20 Ligue 1 returns to action on Friday night after the international break with reigning champions PSG playing hosts to fifth-placed Lille.
Paris Saint-Germain will be looking to extend their lead at the top of the 2019-20 Ligue 1 table when they welcome Lille to the Parc des Princes on Friday night.
Having surprisingly lost to Dijon at the start of the month, PSG bounced back with narrow wins over Club Brugge (Champions League) and Brest (Ligue 1) prior to the international break. And manager Thomas Tuchel will be hoping that his side continue on their winning ways and widen the gap at the top of the table, which currently stands at eight points.
Lille, on the other hand, are on a three-game winless run across all competitions, having lost to Marseille in the league and Valencia in Europe, before being held to a goalless draw by Metz in their most recent fixture. The last season’s runners-up are currently fifth in the table, just three points behind second-placed Marseille and will want to cut down the gap with a win against PSG.
Ahead of this enticing fixture on Friday night coming our way from the Parc des Princes, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both sets of teams.
Team News & Tactics
The big news for PSG heading into the Friday night encounter is that superstar Neymar has been training for over a week now and is in line to return to the squad. However, Tuchel will have to make do without the services of midfielders Ander Herrera and Marco Verratti. Kylian Mbappe was ill upon returning from international duty, but is expected to be available for selection against Lille.
Keylor Navas had picked up an injury prior to the international break and may not be risked on Friday ahead of the Champions League clash against his former club Real Madrid. This would mean on-loan keeper Sergio Rico could be set for his second appearance for PSG. Colin Dagba and Laywin Kurzawa are likely to be the two full-backs, with Thiago Silva partnering Abdou Diallo at the centre.
Idrissa Gueye ought to start in the middle of the park for the hosts and could be partnered by Brazilian international Marquinhos, who has been used in the midfield role heavily by the manager. Julian Draxler ought to bring the creativity on the field starting as the No. 10 for PSG.
Angel Di Maria should get the nod on the left flank, while Pablo Sarabia, who scored his first goal for Spain during the international break, is likely to get the nod on the right wing. Both Neymar and Mbappe are likely to be used from the bench, keeping in mind the Real Madrid game on the coming Tuesday.
Mauro Icardi ought to start ahead of Edinson Cavani as the lone striker given that he will be fresher of the two, having not been involved in the international break.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Rico; Dagba, Silva, Diallo, Kurzawa; Marquinhos, Gueye; Sarabia, Draxler, Di Maria; Icardi
Christophe Galtier will have to make do without the services of striker Victor Osimhen, who is suspended for the tie. Jonathan Ikone picked up an injury on international duty with France U21, but trained with the squad on Thursday and is likely to be involved against PSG.
However, former PSG man Timothy Weah remains sidelined along with Saad Agouzoul, while Jonathan Bamba is a doubt to feature as he missed training due to fever. Galtier has used the 3-4-3 formation regularly this term, but switched to 4-2-3-1 against Metz last time out. Having secured a clean sheet during that game, he might opt to stick with the same setup against PSG.
Mike Maignan is the undisputed choice between the sticks for Les Dogues, while Zeki Celik and Reinildo Mandava are likely to start as the full-backs on the right and left sides respectively. Seasoned campaigner Jose Fonte ought to pair up with 21-year-old Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes at the heart of the Lille defence on Friday night.
Benjamin Andre, who has won the most duels in Ligue 1 this season (112), will occupy one of the two pivot positions for the visitors. The second slot is likely to be taken up by 20-year-old Boubakary Soumare, who has been recently linked with the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. The attacking impetus will come from summer signing Yusuf Yazici in the No. 10 role.
The 21-year-old Ikone will slot in on the right flank while Luiz Araujo, who has scored two goals so far this season, is expected to come in on the left side with Bamba being a doubt. In the absence of Osimhen, Loic Remy, who is Lille’s second highest scored this season with 3 goals, is expected to lead the line.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Celik, Fonte, Gabriel, Mandava; Andre, Soumare; Ikone, Yazici, Araujo; Remy
- PSG have come out on top in 22 of their last 25 home matches in the Ligue 1.
- Lille have failed to pick up a win in their last ten league games on the road. They have been drawing at half-time and losing at full-time in five of their last seven away matches in the Ligue 1.
- PSG have won all of their previous five meetings at the Parc des Princes against Lille across all competitions.
- Thomas Tuchel’s side have managed to keep a clean sheet in six of their last seven home matches in the French top-flight.
- The Ligue 1 champions are the best-scoring side in the competition this season, having found the back of the net on 28 occasions in 13 matches. They also boast the second best defensive record (8 goals conceded), only behind Stade de Reims (6).
Player to Watch
The 26-year-old, having made a late switch to PSG in the summer, has made an excellent start to life in France. So far this season, Icardi has found the back of the net on nine occasions in 10 matches across all competitions, proving his lethal nature in front of goal.
The Argentine international has been the match-winner for PSG in their last two matches, having scored the only goal of the game against Club Brugge and followed it up with a late winner against Brest. He will once again be hoping to make a mark and fire his team to another victory when Lille come visiting.
PSG 2-1 Lille
Lille’s form had nosedived a bit prior to the international break and they are now without a win in three consecutive matches. PSG, on the other hand, have reacted well to the defeat to Dijon and have picked up back to back wins. And taking into factor the champions’ recent impressive record at Parc des Princes against their opposition, we at The Hard Tackle are predicting a 2-1 win for Les Parisiens.