PSG will be aiming to reclaim top spot in the Ligue 1 standings when they travel to Stade de Moustoir to take on FC Lorient this weekend.
Reigning Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain will have their eyes on the pole position in the table when they lock horns with relegation battlers FC Lorient away from home at Stade de Moustoir on Sunday afternoon.
PSG, who are yet to lose in their five games under new boss Mauricio Pochettino (W4 D1), entered the weekend as the league leaders following their thumping 4-0 win over Montpellier last weekend. However, Lyon’s 2-1 win over Bordeaux on Friday has meant that they have taken over the top spot, opening up a one-point lead over Les Parisiens. And, Pochettino’s men will have their sights set on regaining their advantage at the top.
Lorient, in contrast, are dawdling at the bottom end of the table. With just four wins from their 19 matches so far, the hosts are 19th in the standings, three points off of safety. Christophe Pelissier’s side ended their five-game winless streak earlier this week as they pulled off a late win against fellow relegation battlers Dijon and will be hoping against hope to get something out from their game against the incumbent champions.
The reverse fixture played at Parc des Princes last month saw PSG walk out 2-0 winners courtesy second half goals from Kylian Mbappe and Moise Kean. Ahead of their latest meeting this weekend, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Defender Thomas Fontaine remains unavailable for selection for Lorient as they get ready to welcome the reigning champions. Apart from him, manager Christophe Pelissier has a full-strength squad to call upon on Sunday, with Armand Lauriente returning from suspension while the likes of Paul Nardi and Vincent Le Goff have recovered from COVID-19.
Lorient are expected to line up in a 4-3-3 formation in front of goalkeeper Matthieu Dreyer, who is likely to continue despite Nardi’s return. Andreaw Gravillon and Jeremy Morel ought to form the central defensive partnership for the hosts, with Jonathan Delaplace and Le Goff starting as the full-backs; the duo likely to stay close to the centre-backs and refrain from pushing forward.
Club captain Fabien Lemoine will sit deep in the middle of the park and look to protect the backline with further support coming from on-loan Chelsea midfielder Trevor Chalobah and Thomas Monconduit. They might often need to drop in between the centre-backs to deny spaces for the likes of Mbappe and Neymar.
The returning Lauriente should return to the lineup, slotting in on the right flank while leading goalscorer Yoane Wissa slots in on the left-wing. Leading the line for the hosts on Sunday will be Terem Moffi, who scored in the win against Dijon earlier in the week.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Dreyer; Delaplace, Gravillon, Morel, Le Goff; Monconduit, Lemoine, Chalobah; Lauriente, Moffi, Wissa
Heading into the game, Mauricio Pochettino has a number of roster issues to contend with as PSG are set to be without as many as six players for the trip to Lorient. Juan Bernat and Ander Herrera are out injured while Marco Verratti and Abdou Diallo miss out after testing positive for coronavirus.
In addition, Keylor Navas and Marquinhos are also unavailable after getting injured in the last game against Montpellier. The visitors will line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with there being a number of changes made to the team that took the field last weekend.
📋 The Parisian squad for #FCLPSG
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) January 30, 2021
With no Navas, Sergio Rico is set to step up and start between the sticks. There will be a double change at the heart of the PSG defence with Thilo Kehrer and Presnel Kimpembe set to feature in Marquinhos and Diallo’s absence. Alessandro Florenzi and Layvin Kurzawa ought to continue as the two full-backs on the right and left sides, respectively.
Leandro Paredes should occupy one of the two pivot positions in the centre of the park and look to provide protection to the centre-backs. He will have support from Danilo Pereira, who is likely to step into the side in the absence of Verratti, even though the Portuguese might not offer the same level of penetration with his passes as the man he will replace.
Angel Di Maria, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, who continues to be linked with Liverpool, will form a fluid attacking trifecta in the final third. The trio is likely to switch positions on a regular basis although Mbappe could play just off of the main striker, Mauro Icardi in and around the six-yard box.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Rico; Florenzi, Kehrer, Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Pereira, Paredes; Di Maria, Mbappe, Neymar; Icardi
- Paris Saint-Germain have won their last 12 matches against Lorient across all competitions.
- Lorient have conceded at least two goals in their last six matches in Ligue 1.
- PSG have won their last three Ligue 1 games without conceding a goal and could equal their longest such run this season – four games with no goals let in between October and November last year.
- Lorient have lost each of their last six Ligue 1 home games against PSG – their longest run of home defeats against any top-flight opponent in the club’s history.
- PSG have kept a clean sheet in six of their last seven matches in Ligue 1.
Player to Watch
While talks of his contract situation and future at the club drudge on, the Frenchman continues to deliver the goods on the field. Last week, against Montpellier, Mbappe opened his goalscoring account under new manager Mauricio Pochettino, as he grabbed a brace and set up a goal as well.
The 22-year-old has now scored 14 goals in Ligue 1, leading the scoring charts in the competition. Given his goalscoring prowess, Mbappe will always be on the prowl to find the back of the net while his link-up play with Neymar and Mauro Icardi could cause all sorts of problems to a Lorient backline that boasts the second-worst defensive record in the league this term.
Lorient 1-3 PSG
Given that PSG will be missing a number of key defensive personnel and their first-choice goalkeeper, their run of clean sheets in the league might come to an end on Sunday. However, with the form that their attacking unit is in, they will relish going up against a Lorient defence that has shipped in 40 goals already this season. The Hard Tackle predicts a comfortable, straightforward win for Mauricio Pochettino & co.