Paris Saint-Germain will be looking for their eighth successive win in Ligue 1 when they lock horns with Montpellier this weekend.
Paris Saint-Germain were once again lucky to get away with a 2-1 victory over Metz in the last game, with Achraf Hakimi this time scoring a late winner in the 95th minute of the game. It has been a feature in PSG’s game this season as they have managed to fight till the very end and secure late winners to collect three points.
The midweek win over Metz was very consequential as it helped Les Parisiens maintain their extraordinary start to the league campaign. Indeed, after seven games into the new season, the French giants have a hundred percent winning record and could register their eighth successive win when they take on Montpellier on Saturday.
Thanks to their excellent start to the season, nonetheless, PSG have a healthy seven-point lead over second-placed Marseille, though Les Phoceens do have a game in hand.
Meanwhile, their opponent this weekend, Montpellier, are heading into this game on the back of a mixed start to the season. They have collected nine points from seven matches, which places them right in the midtable spot, surprisingly ahead of giants like Rennes and defending champions LOSC Lille.
La Paillade faced PSG thrice during the 2020/21 campaign but did not have much luck, notably getting knocked out via penalties in the semi-final of the Coupe de France. However, with PSG set to face a daunting challenge against Manchester City next midweek, the visitors will have an excellent chance of becoming to the first team to stop Mauricio Pochettino’s men in the league this season.
And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a look at their chances of causing an upset at Parc des Princes this weekend.
Team News & Tactics
Lionel Messi has yet to resume training as a result of his left knee issue, and could be sidelined for this weekend's match against Montpellier. (LP)https://t.co/wTnAC1QKRM
— Get French Football News (@GFFN) September 23, 2021
Kylian Mbappe made his return in the midweek game against Metz, but Paris Saint-Germain will continue to miss out on the services of Lionel Messi. The Argentine is still recovering from his injury, joining Sergio Ramos, Marco Verratti and Juan Bernat in the list of absentees for the home side.
As such, the onus of leading the PSG attack will be on Mauro Icardi once again, with the additional support of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe on the flanks. Pochettino, though, might want to rest some of his star performers in light of the upcoming game against Manchester City, so we are expecting Mbappe to start on the bench, with Angel Di Maria hoping to earn a call-up.
Pochettino could, thus, revert to a more traditional 4-3-3 setup, with slight changes in midfield as well. Idrissa Gueye should come into the side, operating in the holding midfield position to orchestrate the game with his passing and excellent ball distribution.
Leandro Paredes is an option alongside him in midfield, but given that the opposition are likely to drop deep, Pochettino might go for the more creative Ander Herrera while Rafinha should retain his place in the side, ahead of Georginio Wijnaldum.
In the defensive unit, Nuno Mendes could be in line for a breather ahead of the Manchester City game. Abdou Diallo is set to occupy the left-back role, as he looks to form the PSG backline alongside Marquinhos, Presnel Kimpembe and Achraf Hakimi, although it won’t be surprising to see Thilo Kehrer starting as well.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Diallo; Rafinha, Gueye, Herrera; Di Maria, Icardi, Neymar
Much like PSG, Montpellier are missing some key players as well including Ambroise Oyongo, Thibault Tamas and Pedro Mendes while new signing Mamadou Sakho continues to struggle with injury.
Fortunately for coach Olivier Dall’Oglio, Thuler is expected to return after serving a suspension. He is set to re-occupy the centre-back position alongside Maxime Esteve. It will allow Nicolas Cozza to shift to his preferred left-back position at the expense of Mihailo Ristic, thus providing more defensive stability in the side.
There might be a change in the offing, as far as the midfield department is concerned. Given the quality of the opposition, Dall’Oglio might opt for the more defensive-minded Joris Chotard in the double-pivot. Starting ahead of Leo Leroy, the young midfielder will likely to feature alongside Jordan Ferri, just behind the advanced midfielder and club captain Teji Savanier.
Montpellier are a team that can be fearless on the counter and are likely to play with a traditional 4-2-3-1. On that note, the influence of wide attackers in Florent Mollet and Stephy Mavididi will be paramount, as they look to take full advantage of the space left behind by the marauding PSG full-backs.
The attack, meanwhile, will be led by none other than Valere Germain, who is coming on the back of a brace in the high-scoring draw with Bordeaux in midweek. It will be interesting to see whether the veteran forward can replicate such a performance against PSG this weekend.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Omlin; Sambia, Esteve, Thuler, Cozza; Ferri, Chotard; Mollet, Savanier, Mavididi, Germain
- These two sides have met 58 times in competitive fixtures previously, with PSG dominating the tie, securing 26 wins and just 13 defeats.
- Montpellier have won just once in their last ten competitive matches against PSG.
- Montpellier’s last him against PSG at Parc des Princes came way back in the 2013/14 campaign, as they knocked the hosts in the second round of Coupe de France.
- Paris Saint-Germain have scored at least three or more goals in six of their last seven league matches against Montpellier.
- PSG have started the season with seven consecutive wins. But they need to win seven more in order to match their record-breaking start to the 2018/19 campaign, where Les Parisien had recoded 14 consecutive wins.
Player to Watch
With the absence of Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi’s slow start to the campaign, Mauro Icardi is making a name for himself at PSG this season. Only Mbappe has scored more goals than him so far, with the Argentine striker becoming more and more effective in the number nine role that has already boosted his prospect in the club.
However, Icardi still has a long way to go before he can redeem himself after a largely disappointing spell in Paris so far. The former Inter Milan forward has been in good form lately, and with the Manchester City game just around the corner, he will be hoping to make a solid impression for Pochettino by performing well against Montpellier this weekend, as he looks to spearhead the PSG attack in the Champions League.
Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 Montpellier
Montpellier are not an opposition to be taken lightly. With 15 goals in 7 games, they have one of the best offensive units in the league and as mentioned earlier, they can be quite deadly on the counter, especially if the likes of Stephy Mavididi, Teji Savanier and Valere Germain get going.
At the same time, though, the visitors have a porous defence with 13 goals conceded so far. It is something PSG will certainly take advantage of and considering their mighty attack, we are expecting Les Parisiens to secure a comfortable 3-1 victory over Olivier Dall’Oglio’s men this weekend.