Parc des Princes will provide the setting as PSG face off against AS Monaco in the hope of returning to winning ways after back-to-back draws in Ligue 1.

Paris Saint-Germain will be aiming to consolidate their position at the top of the Ligue 1 table when they lock horns with rivals AS Monaco at Parc des Princes on Sunday night in Matchweek 18.

Heading into the contest, PSG are sitting comfortably at the top of the standings, having collected 42 points from their 17 matches so far, opening up an eleven-point lead over second-placed Rennes. However, Mauricio Pochettino’s men have been held to two consecutive draws in the league, failing to beat OGC Nice and RC Lens.

Les Parisiens did return to winning ways earlier in the week, beating Club Brugge 4-1 in the midweek UEFA Champions League fixture. And the manager will be hoping that his team carry that momentum forward and bag all three points in what would be their penultimate Ligue 1 encounter before the mid-season break.

Meanwhile, AS Monaco have not made the best of starts to the new season and find themselves in seventh place in the standings, having collected just 26 points from 17 games. However, Niko Kovac & co. are just a point shy of Nice in fourth and three below third-placed Marseille. They will be hoping to cut down that gap before heading into the winter break.

Monaco are unbeaten in their last eight games in all competitions, although their previous match ended in a 1-1 draw against Sturm Graz in the UEFA Europa League. Before that, though, the Principality outfit had thrashed SCO Angers 3-1 and FC Metz 4-0 in Ligue 1 and will look to draw inspiration from those outings against the league leaders.

The corresponding fixture last season had ended in a 2-0 win for Monaco over PSG, with Sofiane Diop and Guillermo Maripan finding the back of the net. Ahead of their latest meeting on Sunday night, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.

Team News & Tactics

PSG

The champions-elect have several injury issues to cope with ahead of the visit of AS Monaco as Neymar, Julian Draxler, and Sergio Ramos are all ruled out. In addition to that, Presnel Kimpembe is also unlikely to feature due to abdominal pain, whereas Nuno Mendes will miss out because of the calf injury he picked up in midweek.

Mauricio Pochettino will field his strongest possible lineup on Sunday night as he looks to lead PSG to their first win in three games in Ligue 1. Gianluigi Donnarumma ought to be retained in goal ahead of veteran star Keylor Navas while Marquinhos and Abdou Diallo form the centre-back pairing that will shield the Italian shot-stopper.

Juan Bernat ought to come into the starting XI at left-back in the injury-enforced absence of Mendes. Meanwhile, there is no looking past Achraf Hakimi in the right-back slot, with the Moroccan likely to be key with his forward forays down the flank.

Idrissa Gueye should slot in as the No. 6 for PSG, with Marco Verratti and Ander Herrera likely to be the other two central midfielders. The former will look to open up play with his vision and incisive passes, while the latter will provide the legs in the engine room. Leandro Paredes and Georginio Wijnaldum would be additional options from the bench.

Up top, Lionel Messi is a certain starter, with attacking support set to come from Kylian Mbappe on the left and Angel Di Maria on the right. Mauro Icardi will provide cover from the bench.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Diallo, Bernat; Herrera, Gueye, Verratti; Di Maria, Messi, Mbappe

AS Monaco

AS Monaco also have a few players missing for the trip to the French capital as Krepin Diatta and Cesc Fabregas are sidelined with injuries. At the same time, Benoit Badiashile is also a doubt for the contest. Meanwhile, Kevin Volland misses out for the visitors due to suspension. Having rung in the changes for the midweek clash, Niko Kovac is expected to bring back his regulars into the starting XI.

Alexander Nubel will take up his customary position in goal in league matches. The German will be protected by the centre-back pairing of Guillermo Maripan and Axel Disasi, both of whom were not involved in the midweek clash against Sturm Graz. Djibril Sidibe and Caio Henrique ought to be the two full-backs who will have their hands full with the threat of Mbappe and Di Maria.

The onus of cutting out attacks before they develop into a threat will fall on the shoulders of young midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, who has become a key player for AS Monaco. He will have support in the centre of the park from Youssouf Fofana, who will provide more of a box-to-box presence, although Jean Lucas is also an option for Kovac.

Out wide, Gelson Martins and Sofiane Diop ought to return after not starting in midweek. Diop is Monaco’s second-highest goalscorer in Ligue 1 with five strikes to his name and could pose a threat to PSG if he can exploit the vacant spaces left behind by the full-backs. With Volland ruled out, Wissam Ben Yedder will have Myron Boadu as his partner up top in attack.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Nubel; Sidibe, Disasi, Maripan, Henrique; Martins, Fofana, Tchouameni, Diop; Boadu, Ben Yedder

Key Stats

  • PSG lost both their Ligue 1 clashes against AS Monaco last season. They have not faced three defeats in a row against Les Rouges et Blancs in the top-flight since between January 1999 and November 2000 (4).
  • AS Monaco are unbeaten in their last five Ligue 1 outings.
  • Paris Saint-Germain have not lost any of their previous 11 Ligue 1 fixtures.
  • Monaco have won just one of their previous four away games in Ligue 1 (D1 L2). Although, that victory came in their latest such encounter against SCO Angers.
  • PSG have won just four of their 19 home games against Monaco in Ligue 1 in the 21st century (D9 L6).

Player to Watch

Lionel Messi

Following his high-profile transfer from Barcelona to PSG in the summer, Lionel Messi has found it tough going in Ligue 1. While he has continued to make an impression in the UEFA Champions League, the 34-year-old Argentina skipper has managed just one goal in nine league outings thus far, although he does have four assists to his name.

However, Messi’s performance in midweek against Club Brugge should fill him and the fans with a lot of confidence. His link-up with Kylian Mbappe, in particular, was a delight to watch, and Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping for more of the same from his star men on Sunday night as PSG look to strengthen their grip at the top of the table.

Prediction

PSG 2-1 AS Monaco

AS Monaco have been able to frustrate PSG in their recent encounters and are expected to do so once again on Sunday. However, the absence of Kevin Volland will take some sting out of their attack. At the same time, Les Parisiens will be buoyed by their impressive result in midweek, with Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe in their elements. The duo is likely to play a key role yet again to lead Les Parisiens to a crucial victory on Sunday.

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