Star-studded Paris Saint Germain will look to make it five wins out of five when they take on take on newly-promoted Clermont Foot.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Paris Saint-Germain take on newly-promoted Clermont Foot who are currently flying high in the third spot in Ligue 1. The Parisians will be keen to make it five wins out of five and extend their lead at the top of the table.
While on paper, the tie represents a mismatch, Clermont have defied expectations with a strong start to the season. They finished second in Ligue 2 last season, earning themselves a place in the French top flight for the first time in their 110-year-old history.
With two wins and two draws so far, Pascal Gastien’s side have made a good start and are so far undefeated in the league. PSG will look to bring the fairytale to a halt and further their efforts at recapturing the Ligue 1 title.
Both PSG and Clermont have both conceded five goals so far and could put up a goal fest this weekend. Gastien’s side have taken the game to their opponents and face a true challenge in PSG. How well they do at the Parc des Princes could very well help us gauge their chances of staying in the top flight.
Both teams faced off against each other back in 1996 in the Coupe de France. It was a high scoring affair with the score ending 4-4 at full time. Clermont went on to prevail on penalties and will be hoping for a similar miracle on Saturday.
The two teams have gone on to evolve since then. It promises to be an open affair and just how Clermont steps up to counter their more illustrious opponents remains to be seen.
Team News & Tactics
PSG will have to take to the field without their South American internationals who have all returned late from national duty. This sidelines the likes of Marquinhos, Neymar, Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes.
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) September 10, 2021
The Parisians also have a number of players injured, with the list including Sergio Ramos, Colin Dagba, Juan Bernat and Marco Verratti. To further deeper the woe for Pochettino, the duo of Kylian Mbappe and Layvin Kurzawa are both doubtful to feature. With the Champions League set to begin next week, it remains to be seen if any of the players who are not at a hundred per cent will be risked.
It is not all doom and gloom as Paris could welcome back Mauro Icardi and Presnel Kimpembe. Despite all the major absentees, Pochettino has enough in his locker to put together a formidable team. It will be interesting to see whether Gianluigi Donnarumma, who spent the last two games on the bench will be handed his PSG debut.
Pochettino has refused to so far give a clear answer as to when Portuguese wonderkid Nuno Mendes would be thrown into the starting XI. With Bernat unavailable, it could prove to be a real toss between him and the more experienced Abdou Diallo for the starting left-back spot.
German star Julian Draxler could start the game on the right following Pablo Sarabia’s exit to Sporting Lisbon. Meanwhile, Alexandre Fressange could be a shock candidate to start, although we are expecting the youth player to start on the bench and make a late second half appearance.
Probable Lineup (4-2-1-3): Donnarumma; Hakimi, Kehrer, Kimpembe, Diallo; Herrera, Gueye; Wijnaldum; Draxler, Icardi, Mbappe
Unlike PSG, Clermont have a fully fit squad to choose from. Gastien has largely stuck to a preferred 11 making minor changes to his formation and players this season.
Clermont goes into the side as massive underdogs and will be well served to stick to a proven game plan. Johan Gastien featured against Metz last time around despite having picked up a knock. He is expected to do so once again this weekend.
Elbasan Rashan is in good form at the moment and could get the nod over Jim Allevinah on the left. With both teams adopting attacking tactics, it could very well come down to a midfield showdown. Both Jonathan Iglesias and Gastien will need to be at the top of their game and provide ample protection to their defence.
While Clermont’s attack has delivered, the same cannot be said of their rearguard who have looked shaky. Iglesias and Gastien will be tasked with providing cover and could be in for a big night.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Desmas; Zedadka, Hountondji, Ogier, N’Simba; Iglesias, Gastien; Dossou, Berthomier, Rashani; Bayo
- Paris have not lost any of their last 28 home games against newly-promoted side in Ligue 1, winning the most recent 15 while last losing to such an opponent in May 2010 against Montpellier.
- PSG have won their last six Ligue 1 games.
- Both teams have scored at least two goals in their last four games.
- This will be the first meeting between both teams in the league.
- Clermont have scored nine goals in four Ligue 1 games this season. Only PSG have done better with 12.
Player to Watch
The Netherlands international joined PSG on a free in the summer and will be counted on to lead a depleted PSG side. Wijnaldum enjoyed a disappointing game for the Dutch national side against Turkey midweek and will be keen to get back to his best.
The PSG attack on the night will be a far cry from their best lineup and the onus could be on Wijnaldum to provide the creative spark, especially in the absence of Verratti. The Dutchman has shown a penchant for not only winning back possession but keeping it cleanly during his time at Liverpool.
In a game where both midfield will need to be at their best, his ball-carrying ability could prove to be the difference.
Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Clermont Foot
While Clermont are clearly the underdogs, the absentees on PSG’s roster even out the playing field to an extent.
Mauricio Pochettino is not one to dismiss the minnows and will be ready to take on them. Gastien has used a largely settled starting XI this season and this could work out to their advantage. As long as they can gain control on the midfield, anything is possible.
PSG despite their stars have shown themselves to be susceptible at the back. Given Clermoint’s attacking prowess, it is an area they could look to exploit. Given both teams’ devotion to going forward, it would not be amiss to expect a high scoring game.
While Clermont can give PSG a scare, the latter’s quality should eventually shine through.