Paris Saint-Germain are aiming to further extend their lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table when they take on Nantes on Saturday.

PSG will be hoping to continue their blistering start to the league campaign when they play hosts to Nantes on Saturday. The Ligue 1 giants are heading into this game as the table toppers with 34 points in 13 matches.

Having secured 11 wins so far, Mauricio Pochettino’s men lead second-placed Lens by a whopping ten points. They are hoping to further extend that gap with yet another win this weekend, which would also stretch their winning run of three games.

PSG are heading into this game on the back of narrow wins over Lille and Bordeaux. Les Parisiens are facing a tough contest next week when they take on Manchester City in the Champions League, a game that could potentially decide the winner of Group A, which could have a say on the team selection.

As for Nantes, they have enjoyed a decent start to the campaign. After narrowly missing out on relegation last term, Antoine Kombouare’s men are in a comfortable mid-table spot, although they need to improve on their record of just one win in the last four matches.

The visitors won’t be hoping for three points in this upcoming contest against PSG but will be aware that even at least a point could boost their confidence as they brace themselves for a tough fixture list ahead.

Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a look at these two sides ahead of their encounter at Parc des Princes this weekend.

Team News & Tactics

Paris Saint-Germain

With the Manchester City clash just around the corner and most of the PSG stars coming on the back of yet another gruelling international break, it won’t be surprising to see Pochettino field a weaker starting eleven against Nantes this weekend.

Keylor Navas may continue in goal, but there could be rare starting opportunities in defence for Colin Dagba, Juan Bernat and Thilo Kehrer, as the coach looks to rest key players like Achraf Hakimi and Nuno Mendes. It will be interesting to see how Bernat performs at left-back, knowing his technical prowess could be crucial to PSG’s offensive thrust on the flanks.

Presnel Kimpembe is not fully fit, but Sergio Ramos could potentially make his much-awaited PSG debut this weekend, although the veteran centre-back certainly won’t start.

In midfield, Pochettino might persist with the new signing Gini Wijnaldum. Idrissa Gueye is another candidate to start, perhaps alongside Ander Herrera, although the Argentine also has the option to continue with the emerging talent Junior Dina Ebimbe.

The three midfielders will play a key role in helping PSG dominate possession and offer the creative essence in the final third, especially in the likely absence of some of the team’s star players in the attack, including Neymar and Julian Draxler, who are nursing injuries.

Pochettino is also unlikely to risk Lionel Messi as well, which means the onus of spearheading the PSG frontline will be on Kylian Mbappe. The Frenchman is expected to start out wide, hoping to use his pace to good effect while Angel Di Maria will provide the creativity on the opposite flank, looking to craft goalscoring opportunities for Mauro Icardi.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Navas; Dagba, Marquinhos, Kehrer, Bernat; Gueye, Herrera, Wijnaldum; Di Maria, Icardi, Mbappe

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Nantes

Antoine Kombouare won’t be dealt with any fresh injury concerns heading into this game. But he will miss out on the services of key defender Nicolas Pallois due to suspension, paving the way for Andrei Girotto to gain a start at centre-back, alongside Jean-Charles Castelletto.

Tactically, Kombouare predominantly favours a 4-3-3 formation, which is quite convenient against PSG’s similar shape. The 58-year-old may opt for a deep defensive line, though, which means even the full-backs in Dennis Appiah and Fabio will be asked to carry out their defensive duties properly and largely remain in their own area.

It will lead to wingers like Moses Simon and Randal Kolo Muani offering the width going forward. At the same time, they could partner up with the number ten Ludovic Blas to form Nantes’ second line of press.

The main number nine, Kalifa Coulibaly, should also operate in a similar role, hoping to pressurise the PSG ball-carriers in the final third. It won’t be surprising to see Blas pushing forward as well, creating a situational 4-4-2.

Such a scenario could see the wingers move in deeper and join the same vertical line as the two central midfielders in Pedro Chirivella and Wylan Cyprien, who is likely to come into the side after Girotto gets forced to shift into central defence.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lafont; Appiah, Castelletto, Girotto, Fabio; Chirivella, Cyprien; Kolo Muani, Blas, Simon; Coulibaly

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Key Stats

  • After losing 1-2 at home to Nantes last March, PSG could lose two straight matches against Les Canaris in Ligue 1 for the first time since April 1994 – January 1995 (3).
  • PSG have won 12 of their last 13 home games against in Ligue 1, last losing one in March.
  • PSG have won 11 of their first 13 league matches this season (D1 L1). The last five teams to record as many wins at this stage of the season have won the title at the end of the campaign (PSG in 1985/86, 2015/16, 2017/18 and 2018/19, Lyon in 2006/07).
  • Nantes have won only one of their last four Ligue 1 matches, having won three of their previous four.
  • PSG have won each of their last nine league games, scoring an average of 2.8 goals per game over this period. Only Borussia Dortmund (10) are currently on a longer winning home run among teams in the big five European leagues.

Player to Watch

Sergio Ramos

PSG fans will be looking forward to this game, not only to see their team win once again but also to witness the potential debut of Sergio Ramos. The highly-experienced defender has had a difficult start to his PSG career since joining the club in the summer. He has struggled with fitness that forced him on the sidelines for the most part of 2021.

However, the Real Madrid legend has recently made his comeback to full fitness, even training with Lionel Messi in the pre-match training session. While the defender may not start against Nantes, he is likely to make his debut in front of the home supporters. We may even witness him and Messi sharing the pitch in the second half, this time as teammates.

Prediction

Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Nantes

PSG fell to a shocking defeat to Nantes last season, but a lot has changed since. Les Parisiens are one of the most in-form teams in Europe, as far as domestic performances are concerned. And given the sheer quality of the team, coupled with the home support, it is hard to expect anything other than a PSG victory.

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