Paris Saint-Germain will be aiming to maintain their winning run when they take on Clermont Foot this weekend.

Paris Saint-Germain returned to form last weekend by securing a comprehensive 5-1 victory over Lorient at Parc des Princes. The game saw Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe scoring in the same game for the first time since the three were assembled at the start of the campaign.

On Saturday, they will be looking to exhibit a similar performance as they take on Clermont Foot at Stade Gabriel Montpied. A win for PSG could take them one step closer towards securing the league title, with the Parisian juggernaut holding a massive 12 point lead over second-placed Marseille.

However, PSG have been in lacklustre form away from home, winning only two of their last 11 away matches in the league. They are also enduring a run of three consecutive defeats on the road, which could be a source of hope for a Clermont Foot side hovering just above the relegation zone with 28 points on the board.

The newly-promoted side are leading 18th placed St. Etienne by just a point and simply cannot afford another defeat at home. The minnows were swept aside 4-0 in the reverse fixture back in September, but they are hoping for a shift in fortunes this weekend, especially with the backing of the home crowd.

Team News & Tactics

Clermont Foot

Clermont Foot are set to be without Abdul Samed after he was handed out a suspension following a red card. His absence could pave the way for former Barcelona youth prodigy Oriol Busquets to occupy the midfield role in Pascal Gastien’s 4-3-3.

Samad is not the only absentee as Clermont Foot are also missing Cedric Hountondji, Pierre-Yves Hamel, Jim Allevinah, Vital N’Simba and Elbasan Rashani through injuries.

On the bright side, though, both Lucas da Cunha and Johan Gastien have recovered from COVID-19, with Gastien, in particular, likely to get the nod ahead of Busquets in central midfield. The veteran is set to be partnered by Yohann Magnin and Saif-Eddine Khaoui, who offers the creative essence in the final third.

Khaoui’s technical prowess could indeed go a long way in powering the offensive trifecta consisting of Jodel Dossou, Mohamed Bayo and da Cunha. Bayo is the danger man here for the PSG defence, having netted ten goals in Ligue 1 so far. It will be crucial that he performs at the top of his game as the hosts look to snatch a point off Mauricio Pochettino’s men this weekend.

Defensively, Gastien will have to replace the left-back N’Simba, whose calf injury is set to keep him out of this contest. Arial Mendy appears to be the favourite as he is ahead of Julien Boyer in the pecking order.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Djoco; Zedadka, Seidu, Ogier, Mendy; Khaoui, Magnin, Gastien; Dossou, Bayo, da Cunha

homecrowd-formation-dPfdDNbyHnYUshkXhcwk

Paris Saint-Germain

PSG have to deal with a fair share of injured players as well, with Leandro Paredes becoming the latest to join the list after picking up a knock against Lorient. He is set to enter the treatment room, joining Abdou Diallo, Julian Draxler, Ismael Gharbi, Layvin Kurzawa and Ander Herrera on the club’s list of absentees.

PSG are also likely to miss out on Angel Di Maria and Keylor Navas. The two have returned to training but are not fit enough to start or even feature against Clermont Foot this weekend.

Navas’ prolonged absence could guarantee a place in the starting eleven for Gianluigi Donnarumma. The Italian has been under fire for his poor performances in recent weeks, but he will have the opportunity to retain a welcome clean sheet against the minnows on Saturday.

Elsewhere, Pochettino is unlikely to make too many changes from the side that sealed a comfortable win over Lorient. There is a possibility of Sergio Ramos potentially starting this encounter, and with this being an away game, the veteran can feel safe about not being booed by his own sets of supporters.

A guaranteed change could come in midfield, though, with Idrissa Gueye set to replace the injured Paredes in central midfield. Gini Wijnaldum is another option, but the Dutchman is unlikely to be preferred given his poor performances throughout the season.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Ramos, Mendes; Gueye, Danilo, Verratti; Messi, Mbappe, Neymar

homecrowd-formation-7BkMWghePe3e19vFt34v

Key Stats

  • This will be the first third match in all competitions between Clermont Foot and PSG. CF63 had knocked PSG out in the Coupe de France Round of 16 in 1997, while the Parisians won earlier this season in Ligue 1.
  • The last promoted side to beat the side top of Ligue 1 at the start of the matchday was Lorient, against Paris in January 2021. The last promoted side to keep a clean sheet against a league leader in the top-flight was Metz, at Nice, in January 2017.
  • Clermont have lost their last four Ligue 1 matches, as many as in the previous 11. They could suffer five consecutive losses in the top-flight for a second time, having achieved a similar feat during the first half of the season.
  • PSG are the only side still unbeaten against teams currently in the bottom half of the table in Ligue 1 this season. The only time PSG have not won such a match this season was in December (1-1 at Lorient).
  • Paris have lost their last four away games in all competitions (vs Nantes, Nice, Real Madrid and Monaco), their worst run in the Qatar era. They have not had five straight away defeats in all competitions since December 2009-January 2010 (5).

Player to Watch

Kylian Mbappe

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

Man in form. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Kylian Mbappe was in red hot form in the win over Lorient, with the Frenchman being involved in all of the five goals scored by PSG. He combined brilliantly with Messi and Neymar to make life difficult for the opposition defence whilst enhancing his own tally for the Ligue 1 giants.

Mbappe is hoping for a similar attacking display this weekend when he takes on Clermont Foot. He has looked in great touch, and his ability to drift past defenders at ease could go a long way in helping PSG break the shackles of the opposing defence that is likely to employ a deep block on Saturday.

We can expect the Frenchman to be the game-changer, though a lot will depend on how well Messi and Neymar perform alongside him in the final third.

Prediction

Clermont Foot 0-2 Paris Saint-Germain

PSG have not performed well away from home at all this season. They have lacked consistency and have often been mediocre in the final third when facing teams on the road. However, they will feel lucky to face a Clermont Foot side heading into this contest on the back of four successive defeats.

The minnows also have one of the leakiest defences in the league and given the way Messi, Neymar and Mbappe performed in the last game, we can safely expect PSG to secure a comfortable victory this weekend.

Leave A Comment...

*