Paris Saint-Germain are eyeing a third successive win in Ligue 1 as they lock horns with Marseille at Parc des Princes this weekend.

Following their Champions League elimination to Real Madrid and an equally disappointing 3-0 defeat to Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain have done well to get back to winning ways. They have secured back to back victories against Lorient and Clermont Foot, scoring 11 goals in the process, while conceding just one.

However, the Mauricio Pochettino’s men are bracing themselves for a much more daunting task ahead as they take on Marseille on Sunday, at Parc des Princes. A win for the hosts could help them extend their lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table to 15 points, killing any hopes of a late title race.

PSG, though, have been far from impressive against top tier opponents in Ligue 1. They have dropped points against the likes of Nice, Monaco, Lyon and Rennes during the campaign and were notably held to a goalless draw by Marseille in the reverse fixture.

Pochettino’s men won’t be helped by the fact that the visitors are coming on the back of four successive victories in the league. While they may not be able to challenge PSG for the title, a win could put them in a healthy position as they look to secure a second-place finish come May.

Overall, we should brace ourselves for an enticing contest as these two behemoths of French football battle it out at Parc des Princes this weekend.

Team News & Tactics

Paris Saint-Germain

PSG have a total of five players out injured heading into this contest. The list includes three midfielders in Leandro Paredes, Julian Draxler and Ander Herrera. Defenders Abdou Diallo and Layvin Kurzawa remain on the sidelines as well, although both of them are nearing their returns.

On a positive note, Keylor Navas is back in contention after a brief spell on the sidelines. The same can be said for Angel Di Maria as well, though the Argentine remains a slight doubt heading into the contest.

Even if Di Maria does get back to full fitness, it is difficult to imagine him getting into the starting XI given the form of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. Navas, though, has a far greater chance of replacing Gianluigi Donnarumma in goal, although the Italian remains a favourite to continue.

Elsewhere, Pochettino could introduce one change, with captain Marquinhos hoping to return to the starting XI after being rested in the last game. The Brazilian is expected to replace Sergio Ramos at centre-back, thus renewing his partnership alongside Presnel Kimpembe.

There should be no changes in midfield as Danilo Pereira and Idrissa Gueye both look to accompany the main ball-carrier Marco Verratti, with Gini Wijnaldum serving as an alternative.

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

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Marseille

Marseille are sweating on the fitness of star striker Arkadiusz Milik. The Pole is unlikely to recover from his hamstring problem by Sunday.

Bamba Dieng could be given the responsibility of replacing Milik in the No. 9 slot, as he looks to accompany Cengiz Under and Dimitri Payet in the Marseille front three. There are no shortage of alternatives though, with coach Jorge Sampaoli also having the option to deploy Cedric Bakambu and Amine Harit.

However, it is fair to point out that most Marseille players are coming on the back of a midweek trip from Greece, having reached the semi-final of the UEFA Conference League after beating PAOK.

So it will be essential for rested players such as Boubacar Kamara to perform well. The youngster is a vital cog in the No. 6 role and his defensive cover could go a long way in nullifying the influence of PSG ball-carriers such as Verratti and Messi.

In Matteo Guendouzi and Gerson, Kamara has strong support in midfield, but the onus will be on the back four led by Duje Caleta-Car to offer the resistance against an in-form PSG frontline.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Mandanda; Rongier, Saliba, Caleta-Car, Peres; Guendouzi, Kamara, Gerson; Under, Dieng, Payet

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Key Stats

  • PSG and Marseille will face each other for the 85th time in Ligue 1. They have a balanced record with 32 wins each, but PSG have only lost one of their last 19 games against OM in the top flight. OM have also failed to score in five of their most recent seven.
  • Marseille have won their last four games in Ligue 1, which is the best current run and their best one since October-December 2020 (6).
  • PSG have only lost one of their last 11 home games against Marseille in Ligue 1, but it was the most recent one in September 2020.
  • Paris Saint-Germain scored 11 goals in their last two games in Ligue 1, it was only the third time in their history they scored 5+ goals in back to back games after October 2018 and May 2017.
  • PSG are unbeaten in their last 18 games at home in Ligue 1, scoring 48 goals. They have won their most recent seven home games.

Player to Watch

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi has been on fire in recent matches. He appears to have found his rhythm in Ligue 1 since the turn of the year, having been involved in eleven goals in his last nine games. Although goals have continued to elude him, the Argentine has made up for it with his chance creation.

Messi had notably registered three assists in the 6-1 win over Clermont Foot last weekend. His combination play alongside Mbappe and Neymar has already mesmerised the fans, and it is apparent that the three are starting to gel nicely after a rough start to the campaign.

However, Messi faces a stern test against a Marseille side, who have one of the best defences in the league. The visitors are also coached by his former Argentina boss Sampaoli, who knows the ex-Barcelona ace all too well. So it will be intriguing to see how the little magician fares this weekend.

Prediction

PSG 2-1 Marseille

PSG have not quite performed well against top tier oppositions in Ligue 1 this season. They have somehow lacked the creativity to get past strong defences. But thanks to the form of their front three, Les Parisiens remain the favourite to seal all three points in this encounter, although if anyone can stop the attacking trifecta, it is Sampaoli’s Marseille.

Les Phocéens indeed have one of the best defences in the league, but most importantly, they have what it takes to cause problems for PSG on the counter. We are expecting a cagey affair, with the result likely to be determined by the barest of margins.

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