Paris Saint-Germain will be hoping to put an end to their miserable run of form in Ligue 1 when they take on Stade Brest on Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain’s imperious run of form in Ligue 1 has come to a halt in recent weeks. The club from the capital have secured only one victory in their last five league matches, with the team often dropping points against top teams like OGC Nice, RC Lens and most recently, Olympique Lyonnais.

Despite their uncertain run of form, however, PSG comfortably remain on top of the Ligue 1 standings, holding an 11-point lead over second-placed Nice. However, with both Nice and Marseille catching up fast,  Les Parisiens  simply cannot afford another mishap when they play hosts to Stade Brest on Saturday.

After narrowly avoiding the relegation playoffs spot last term, Brest are enjoying a relatively better season. With 25 points in the bag, they are currently standing 13th in the league table, nine points clear of the relegation-threatened Lorient.

However, the club from Brittany has not enjoyed the greatest of starts to 2022 in the league, falling to a 3-0 defeat to Nice last weekend. They are winless in their previous three matches, and with a fixture list that will see them take on PSG and defending champions LOSC Lille in their next couple of games, resilience will be the keyword for Michel Der Zakarian.

Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of their crucial match-up at Parc des Princes this weekend.

Team News & Tactics

Paris Saint Germain

Paris Saint-Germain remain likely to miss the services of Lionel Messi once again as he continues his post-COVID recovery. The Argentine is expected to join Neymar, Julian Draxler and Layvin Kurzawa in the club’s list of absentees. Meanwhile, Achraf Hakimi, Abdou Diallo and Idrissa Gueye remain out due to their participation at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Colin Dagba, the preferred alternative to Hakimi, has not performed particularly well in the last few matches. It may tempt Mauricio Pochettino to start with Thilo Kehrer, with the German hoping to form the four-man backline alongside Marquinhos, Presnel Kimpembe and Nuno Mendes. Sergio Ramos is another option, should Pochettino look to shuffle his back four.

Marco Verratti is confident of returning to the team sheet. The Italian international is likely to form the central midfield trifecta alongside Ander Herrera and Leandro Paredes. It remains to be seen whether Danilo Pereira will be available while Dina Ebimbe will be an option from the bench for PSG.

Moving forward, Angel Di Maria is likely to return to the squad this weekend. He looks set to occupy the right-wing slot, accompanying Mauro Icardi and Kylian Mbappe in the PSG frontline.

In case Di Maria fails to return to full fitness, Georginio Wijnaldum is lined up for another start out wide, although Mauricio Pochettino also has the option of deploying the young Xavi Simons in the final third. Edouard Michut will be another option on the bench, as PSG look to utilise the young talents in the absence of star players.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3):  Navas; Kehrer, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Mendes; Herrera, Paredes, Verratti; Di Maria, Icardi, Mbappe

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Brest

Stade Brest head coach Michel Der Zakarian is missing Haris Belkebla due to international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations, whereas he has two players out injured in the form of Sebastien Cibois and Romain Del Castillo.

The club did put up a good fight in the reverse fixture, notably scoring two goals in a 4-2 defeat. But this time around, Der Zakarian might opt ​​for a more defensive approach by deploying a traditional 4-4-2. Goalkeeper Marco Bizot could hope to be protected by a back four consisting of centre-backs Brendan Chardonnet and Christophe Herelle, and the two full-backs in Ronael Pierre-Gabriel and Jean-Kevin Duverne.

Moving into midfield, Lucien Agoume and Paul Lasne remain key outlets in the number six slots as they look to break up the opposition rhythm and make life difficult for the PSG ball-carriers.

However, arguably the two most important players for Brest in this encounter are the wide-attacking duo of Romain Faivre and Franck Honorat. They are both capable of causing a myriad of problems for the opposition defense on the counter and will be hoping to offer an adequate supply for the two centre-forwards in Steve Mounie and Jeremy Le Douaron.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2):  Bizot; Pierre-Gabriel, Chardonnet, Herelle, Duverne; Faivre, Lasne, Agoume, Honorat; Mounie, Le Douaron

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Key Stats

  • PSG have won each of their last eight games against Brest in Ligue 1, their third-best ongoing urn against a single opponent behind only Metz and Angers (11). In their last 20 matches against Brest in the top-flight, they are unbeaten, with their last defeat coming way back in January 1985.
  • Paris Saint-Germain have lost only one of their 14 home games against Brest in Ligue 1, with that defeat coming back in September 1981 when they hosted SB29 for the second time in the top-flight.
  • Brest are winless in their last nine games against the team at the top of the table in Ligue 1. The last time they won such a game came back in March 1990 against Marseille.
  • PSG have drawn four of their last five Ligue 1 games. PSG have thus failed to win four of their last five matches in the top-flight, as many as in their previous 24.
  • Brest are winless in their last three games in Ligue 1, after winning the previous six.

Player to Watch

Kylian Mbappe

Ian Rush wants Liverpool to sign Kylian Mbappe. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The main PSG frontman. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Kylian Mbappe started 2022 on a positive note, bagging a hat-trick against Vannes to help PSG advance further in Coupe de France. However, he has fallen out of favor once again in Ligue 1, having scored in only one of the last five league matches. His lack of form in front of goal in the top-flight has translated into a bad run of results for PSG.

Mbappe will be aiming to put an end to his inconsistent run and return to scoring ways in Ligue 1 when PSG take on Brest on Saturday. His electric pace out wide, coupled with his ability to drift past defenders, could be crucial in his team’s bid to break the shackles of the opposition defense that is likely to operate deep in their lines.

Prediction

Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 Brest

Stade Brest are not an opposition to be taken lightly by Paris Saint-Germain, especially considering their recent run of form in Ligue 1. However, Brest themselves have not been in a great run lately and might struggle in dealing with the PSG team that is likely to be boosted by the return of star players like Angel Di Maria and Marco Verratti.

We are expecting PSG to dominate the proceedings, use their undisputed quality and talent to good effect. However, a lot may depend on how they start the game, knowing it might be difficult to find holes in the Brest defense once they start to settle in.

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