Paris Saint-Germain will be aiming to seal the Ligue 1 title when they play hosts to RC Lens at the Parc des Princes on Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain’s run of four consecutive victories in the league has led them ever so close to sealing the Ligue 1 title. The league leaders are currently sitting at the top of the table with a 15-point advantage over second-placed Marseille.

With just five games remaining until the season comes to a close, a draw in their upcoming clash against RC Lens could be enough to confirm the title. Reclaiming the Ligue 1 crown this season will see PSG equal Saint-Etienne’s record of ten league titles, effectively becoming the joint-most successful team in the history of the competition.

Seven of PSG’s nine Ligue 1 triumphs have come under the Qatari ownership, thanks to their lavish policy in the transfer market and the ability to lure some of the most talented players in world football.

Yet, it has been a difficult season for the Parisian heavyweights. They have been knocked out cheaply from the UEFA Champions League and Coupe de France. Sealing the Ligue 1 title could be the only positive, although their job on the weekend won’t be made any easier by a Lens side regarded as one of the most organised teams in the league.

Under the tutelage of Franck Haise, the visitors have done exceptionally well and are in contention for a top-five finish this season. Lens did hold PSG to a goalless draw in the reverse fixture, and repeating the feat could put them in a decent position in their quest to secure European football next season.

Team News & Tactics

Paris Saint-Germain

Mauricio Pochettino will be boosted by the return of several star players to the team including Lionel Messi, Neymar and Marco Verratti. Presnel Kimpembe should be back in action as well, likely replacing Thilo Kehrer in the back three that was quite successful against Angers in midweek.

Pochettino has hinted he may employ the 3-5-2 again this weekend, which means we could witness a defensive combination of Kimpembe, Sergio Ramos and Marquinhos for the first time this season. Keylor Navas, meanwhile, should retain his place in goal following an impressive performance against Angers.

In midfield, the return of Verratti could see Georginio Wijnaldum return to the bench, while Danilo Pereira should retain his place as the number six. While there might usually be a third midfielder, Pochettino could opt for a 3-4-3 in order to accommodate the returning Neymar and Messi in the attacking lineup.

It means Danilo and Verratti could operate in the double-pivot, forming the second line of press alongside the wing-backs Achraf Hakimi and Nuno Mendes. They will look to complement the front three consisting of Messi, Neymar and the mercurial Kylian Mbappe.

Pochettino has no shortage of alternatives, though, with Angel Di Maria, for one, desperate for some game-time following an exceptional performance against Angers. Youngsters like Dina Ebimbe and Xavi Simons could hope for some minutes as well, although Mauro Icardi has been ruled out due to a fresh injury.

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

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RC Lens

RC Lens have been boosted by the return of Gael Kakuta and Massadio Haidara. But on the flip side, they are missing Patrick Berg and Facundo Medina due to injuries.

Haidara is coming back from a suspension and should replace Deiver Machado at left wing-back. Jonathan Clauss, meanwhile, remains a guaranteed starter on the opposite flank, with the two expected to offer attacking width going forward.

However, the two wing-backs may also need to be careful of the threat from the opposing wide players, so it won’t be surprising to see them help out the three centre-backs in Christopher Wooh, Kevin Danso and Jonathan Gradit for a large part of the game.

In midfield, there were slight doubts over the participation of Cheick Doucoure, but the 22-year-old is likely to return to full fitness. He could accompany Seko Fofana and David Costa in the second line of press, while Gael Kakuta may serve as an alternative, especially if coach Franck Haise opts for a bit more attacking thrust in the middle of the park.

As for the attack, Florian Sotoca and on-loan PSG frontman Arnaud Kalimuendo remain favourites to spearhead the Lens frontline. But in Ignatius Ganago and Przemyslaw Frankowski, Haise has two players who could make a telling impact off the bench.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Farinez; Wooh, Danso, Gradit; Clauss, Doucoure, Costa, Fofana, Haidara; Kalimuendo, Sotoca

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Key Stats

  • Paris Saint-Germain have won just one of their three Ligue 1 matches against Lens since the Sang et Or returned to the top-flight last season, winning 2-1 in May 2021, in the only meeting in this time played at Parc des Princes.
  • Lens have not won away from home against a side top of Ligue 1 at the start of the matchday since March 1998 at Metz (2-0), playing out two draws and losing eight times since.
  • If PSG at least draw or Marseille fail to win, they will be crowned French champions for the tenth time and would equal St. Etienne as the most successful club in the history of Ligue 1, ahead of OM (9). The last time PSG were crowned champions with four games or fewer to go was in the 2014/15 campaign.
  • Paris Saint-Germain won their last four Ligue 1 matches and have not enjoyed a better such run in the top-flight since May-September 2021 (10). In those four games, PSG have scored an average of four goals.
  • Lens have won their last three Ligue 1 games and could win four in a row in the top-flight for the first time since July-August 2001.

Player to Watch

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi is back in training and is all set to start against Lens. After missing the last game, the Argentine international will be keen on returning to his usual flow and play a part in helping PSG secure the league title this weekend.

After a disappointing start to the campaign, Messi has played well since the turn of the year. He has emerged as the creator-in-chief for PSG, linking up extraordinarily well with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, which has resulted in PSG dominating the league throughout April.

Despite scoring only three times, the former Barcelona man has racked up 13 assists in Ligue 1 this term. Messi’s performance could once again be important against a Lens side who boast one of the most well-organised defences in the league. It will be particularly interesting to see how he links up with Neymar and Mbappe, as well as the right wing-back Achraf Hakimi.

Prediction

Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 RC Lens

Paris Saint-Germain have looked dominant after a long while lately. Over the last couple of weeks, they have really started to impose themselves, creating attacking chances, while their front three have worked in tandem to make life difficult for the opposition defences.

We could witness something similar against Lens, especially with the home crowd cheering behind them. Lens, though, are not an opponent to be taken lightly. Haise’s men are more than capable of taking the game to the opposition, so even though we are expecting a PSG win, the result could depend a lot on whether Pochettino can make the best use of his players with the recently implemented three-man setup.

One Response to “Paris Saint-Germain vs RC Lens Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats”

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  1. Ola iluyomade says:

    Psg squad are formidable,they will win tonight

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