Paris Saint-Germain will be in desperate need of a win when they play hosts to Lorient at Parc des Princes this weekend.
After a brief hiatus, Ligue 1 is set to get back underway this weekend, with league leaders Paris Saint-Germain resuming their campaign on Sunday as they welcome Lorient at Parc des Princes.
It is a must-win encounter for Mauricio Pochettino’s men coming on the back of an embarrassing 3-0 loss to AS Monaco, just before the international break. The Parisian juggernaut have been quite underwhelming since the turn of the year, struggling to produce consistent performances in the league while being knocked out of all cup competitions.
It has put pressure on the players and the managers, with Pochettino more than likely to be sacked come the end of the season. There are question marks over the future of Lionel Messi and Neymar as well, with both South American stars facing fierce criticism even from their own sets of supporters.
Nevertheless, with a resounding lead at the top, PSG remain the firm favourites to secure the Ligue 1 title. But it will be a challenge for them to get past a Lorient side that managed to hold them to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture.
Although Les Merlus are currently embroiled in a relegation battle, they have appeared sturdy in recent games. They have collected seven points from the last four matches and will be eyeing another resilient performance against the table-toppers this weekend.
Team News & Tactics
Pochettino will have to deal with a few absentees heading into this game. Marco Verratti could be missing out due to a slight niggle. The same can be said for Abdou Diallo, who had picked up a slight knock during the international break. Keylor Navas is another doubt due to his knee issue.
Mauricio Pochettino: “Play the best game possible” ⚽️
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) April 2, 2022
On a bright note, Sergio Ramos is hoping to return to the squad after recovering his fitness during the break. Although we don’t expect the veteran to start, he could play a key role in the second half. Juan Bernat and Colin Dagba are also available, though neither are expected to start against Lorient.
Gianluigi Donnarumma has been under fire for his performances in recent weeks. But with Navas struggling from a knee issue, the Italian remains a favourite to start. Elsewhere in defence, Nuno Mendes could get the nod ahead of Bernat, whereas Presnel Kimpembe and Marquinhos should continue to form the central defensive pairing.
Moving into midfield, Verratti’s absence should pave the way for Gini Wijnaldum to earn a rare start. Leandro Paredes and Idrissa Gueye are the two other players likely to start, although Danilo could be preferred in the number six slot.
In the attack, the likes of Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are all coming back from the international break but remain favourites to spearhead the attack for PSG, as the game will be played on Sunday.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Mendes; Paredes, Danilo, Wijnaldum; Messi, Mbappe, Neymar
Lorient are missing some key players as well, including Bonke Innocent, who is facing a suspension. Stephane Diarra and Samuel Loric are also likely to miss out, whereas captain Fabien Lemoine is facing fitness issues heading into this contest.
— FC LORIENT 🐟 (@FCLorient) April 2, 2022
Tactically, Lorient head coach Christophe Pelissier could opt for a five at the back system, with the wing-backs
It won’t be surprising to see Lorient operate with a deep defensive line in order to nullify the pace of players like Mbappe and Hakimi. At the same time, they cannot afford to give PSG too much possession, and that is where the two midfielders, Thomas Monconduit and Laurent Abergel, could play a vital role in breaking up the play in the second line of press.
In the attack, Ibrahima Kone remains likely to spearhead the frontline, with Armand Lauriente and Terem Moffi operating additional support from the wings.
Probable Lineup (5-4-1): Dreyer; Mendes, Laporte, Jenz, Petrot, Le Goff; Lauriente, Abergel, Monconduit, Moffi; Kone
- Paris Saint-Germain are winless in their last two Ligue 1 games against Lorient (both away from home – D1 L1) after winning each of the previous ten.
- PSG have won their last five home Ligue 1 games against Lorient, scoring 17 goals in the process while conceding just two.
- Lorient have won three of their last seven Ligue 1 games after being winless in their previous 15. Since MD23, Lorient have earned 11 points in the top-flight, only one fewer than PSG.
- PSG have won 13 of their last 14 home league games this season, the highest tally in Europe’s top five leagues. They are one of the three teams unbeaten at home, along with Sevilla and Liverpool.
- Paris Saint-Germain have lost three of their last five Ligue 1 games, as many as in their previous 36. They have conceded at least three goals in two of their last five games in the top-flight, as many as in their previous 63.
Player to Watch
With Verratti, Angeli Di Maria, Ismael Gharbi and Ander Herrera ruled out, this could be an excellent opportunity for Gini Wijanldum to finally make an impression after a disastrous start to his career at PSG.
The Dutchman has made no impression at all with his offensive play, often lacking the creativity to make anything happen in the final third. This time around, the onus will be on him to provide the transition and consistently take part in PSG’s build-up play. He also needs to be active in the game, helping out the likes of Messi and Neymar to run rings around the Lorient defence.
PSG 2-0 Lorient
Lorient are in much better form than they were in the reverse fixture when the visitors were able to hold PSG to a 1-1 draw. However, it appears unlikely they will be able to repeat that feat, especially at Parc des Princes.
Although the PSG fans haven’t exactly been supportive to their players lately, the home support could play a key role in driving the team up, especially after a weeklong breather that would have helped Pochettino get his ideas across to the players.
We are expecting PSG to dominate this outing, controlling possession and creating chances. Kylian Mbappe could be in for a great game, along with the likes of Mess and Neymar.