Reigning champions PSG will be looking to pick up their first victory of the 2020/21 Ligue 1 season when they play hosts to FC Metz.

Two rounds of fixtures into the 2020/21 Ligue 1 campaign, reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain find themselves in the relegation zone. Back to back 1-0 defeats against RC Lens and Le Classique rivals Olympique Marseille mean that the superpowers of France are without a point and lying 18th in the table.

The second defeat, against Marseille, would have particularly hurt Thomas Tuchel & co. as it was the first time PSG lost a Le Classique since 2011. The injury-time brawl, which saw three Paris stars getting sent off, will surely have left a bitter taste, more so with allegations of racist comments against Neymar surfacing post-match.

And, they will be aiming to get things back on track before it gets even worse, when they welcome minnows FC Metz to the Parc des Princes on Wednesday night. Like PSG, their opponents, too, are without a point up until this point, having faced defeats to AS Monaco and LOSC Lille in their first two fixtures.

Vincent Hognon’s men will be looking to make the most of PSG’s current malaise and get off the mark for the new season on Wednesday night. The last time these two sides met was in August 2019 in the league, with PSG emerging 2-0 winners. And ahead of their latest meeting, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.

Team News & Tactics

PSG

Neymar suspended for Metz clash (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Neymar suspended for Metz clash (Photo by Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images)

Three PSG stars – Neymar, Leandro Paredes and Laywin Kurzawa, were all sent off against Marseille last time out and will miss out on the midweek encounter. New signing Alessandro Florenzi, who arrived on loan from AS Roma, and Sergio Rico are ineligible to feature due to registration issues.

Kylian Mbappe, Keylor Navas, Marquinhos and Mauro Icardi missed the last game as they are in self-isolation after testing positive for coronavirus. But much like Neymar and Angel Di Maria made surprise returns for Le Classique, at least some, if not all of the aforementioned quartet could become available for Wednesday’s clash.

With no Navas and Rico, Marcin Bulka should step into the starting XI, starting in goal against Metz. Thilo Kehrer should move to the right-back slot after starting the last game as a centre-back. Juan Bernat should continue on the left-side, with Abdou Diallo and Presnel Kimpembe pairing up at the heart of the defence.

With no Marquinhos and Paredes, there shouldn’t be any changes in midfield with Idrissa Gueye sitting at the base of the three-man unit. He will be flanked by Ander Herrera, who will provide the legs and energy, and Marco Verratti, who will look to conduct play from the middle.

Julian Draxler is in line to start on Wednesday, slotting in on the left flank in Neymar’s absence. Pablo Sarabia, on the other hand, should continue on the right-wing, with Angel Di Maria likely to continue through the middle, unless Mbappe or Icardi make a swift return.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Bulka; Kehrer, Kimpembe, Diallo, Bernat; Herrera, Gueye, Verratti; Sarabia, Di Maria, Draxler

Metz

The visitors will have to make do without the services of Manuel Cabit and Kevin N’Doram. Manager Hognon set his team up in a 4-3-3 formation against AS Monaco, but switched to a 4-1-4-1 last time out against Lille. He is likely to stick with a similar setup against the champions.

Alexandre Oukidja ought to line up in goal for Metz. He is likely to be shielded by a backline comprising of Fabien Centonze and Matthieu Udol as the full-backs on the right and left sides, with Dylan Bronn and John Boye pairing up at the centre.

Mamadou Fofana ought to slot in as the lone defensive midfielder for the visitors, but he is likely to drop back into the backline when his team are out of possession, effectively making it a five-man defence.

Habib Maiga should slot in on the right-side of the midfield four like last time and look to provide cover against the marauding runs of Juan Bernat. Vincent Pajot and Victorien Angban will line up in the central positions and look to cut out the influence of Verratti and Herrera. On the left side, Opa Nguette will look to provide the attacking impetus.

Last season’s top performer Habib Diallo was benched the last time amid uncertainties surrounding his future. He is likely to sit out again, with 21-year-old Ibrahima Niane leading the line for Metz.

Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Oukidja; Centonze, Bronn, Boye, Udol; Fofana; Maiga, Angban, Pajot, Nguette; Niane

Key Stats

  • PSG have won their last eight Ligue 1 games against FC Metz. During this run, Les Parisiens have scored 27 goals.
  • Metz have lost four of their last seven matches in Ligue 1 (W2 D1), as many as they had in their previous 17 (W5 D8).
  • Paris Saint-Germain have lost their last two games in Ligue 1. They have not lost three league games in a row since January – February 2010 (4).
  • Metz have won just two of their last 11 away Ligue 1 matches (D5 L4).
  • The reigning champions lost their last home league game against Marseille. However, they have never lost back-to-back matches on their own turf since November 2012.

Player to Watch

Angel Di Maria

PSG will need Angel Di Maria to be at his best against Metz (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

PSG will need Angel Di Maria to be at his best against Metz (Photo by Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images)

With a number of important players missing due to various reasons, Angel Di Maria will need to step up to the plate for PSG and drag them out of the current situation. The Argentine made a surprise return to the starting XI against Marseille, after having been in self-isolation, and put on an impressive performance, even having a goal chalked off.

Without Neymar, possibly Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi to call upon, Thomas Tuchel will be looking at the experienced Di Maria to deliver the goods in the final third when Metz come visiting on Wednesday.

Prediction

PSG 2-0 Metz

After the hurtful defeat against Marseille, PSG will be baying for blood when they take the field on Wednesday. And even though they will be without a host of star players, once again, the added motivation and drive to prove themselves after a poor start should see them pull through to a victory over a Metz side that is also yet to register any points.

Leave A Comment...

*