Paris Saint-Germain are aiming to end their 2021/22 campaign on a positive note as they lock horns with Metz on Saturday.
Paris Saint-Germain have endured a disappointing 2021/22 campaign overall. Despite reclaiming Ligue 1 title from the hands of LOSC Lille, the Parisian juggernaut had to deal with early eliminations from the UEFA Champions League and Coupe de France.
The underwhelming performances and inconsistency throughout the campaign has put Mauricio Pochettino under pressure, with both him and sporting director Leonardo Araujo facing an uncertain future at the club. But they will be looking to guide their team to a positive end to the season as PSG take on Metz on Saturday.
In the context of the final day permutations, this is going to be a dead rubber affair for the hosts at Parc des Princes. With 83 points, PSG are leading the table by a 15 point margin, with the opportunity to increase their lead to 18, should the likes of Monaco and Marseille drop points in the final matchday.
For Metz, however, it is a must-win contest. With just 31 points on the board, they have no chance of moving away from the drop zone despite back to back victories heading into this contest. Although they are confirmed to finish inside the relegation zone, the visitors would prefer to finish 18h, which would hand them an opportunity to save their skin by playing against the third-placed team in Ligue 2 in a relegation playoff.
Both Metz and St-Etienne, currently placed 19th, are level on points, with the former having the superior goal difference. Metz will remain 18th if both sides lose the game, but even a point for St-Etienne would mean the Maroons will have to replicate the result against the mighty PSG.
Team News & Tactics
There are many PSG players who may leave the club in the summer but will not get the opportunity to don the shirt for one last time. Mauro Icardi, Layvin Kurzawa, Julian Draxler and Leandro Paredes are involved in that list, as they are all out injured, while Abdou Diallo remains a doubt heading into this fixture.
Mauricio Pochettino answered questions from PSGTV and the press ahead of the last game of the season. https://t.co/mUGYfnb3O2
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) May 20, 2022
It will be interesting to see how Mauricio Pochettino goes about his business as far as the team selection is concerned, though. There could be a start for Keylor Navas, knowing it will be the last game in PSG colours for the former Real Madrid goalkeeper.
Elsewhere in defence, Marquinhos should renew his central defensive partnership alongside Presnel Kimpembe at the heart of the four-man backline. Nuno Mendes could be recalled to the starting eleven as well, at the expense of Juan Bernat, another player in contention to leave PSG in the summer.
Achraf Hakimi and Mendes’ marauding runs forward could go a long way in unsettling the Metz backline, especially with Pochettino set to return to a 4-2-3-1 setup that will witness Angel Di Maria and Neymar playing out wide, with Lionel Messi occupying the number ten position.
It should vastly improve PSG’s approach play, especially with Marco Verratti offering additional creative support. The Italian international will be partnered by Danilo Pereira in midfield, but Pochettino could hand opportunities to a host of young players later in the game, including Xavi Simons and Edouard Michut.
Meanwhile, in the attack, Kylian Mbappe should spearhead the line, as usual. It could be the Frenchman’s last game for PSG although he is yet to make a final decision on his future, amid interest from Real Madrid.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Navas; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Mendes; Danilo, Verratti; Di Maria, Messi, Neymar; Mbappe
Metz will have to deal with the absence of top goalscorer Nicolas de Preville due to the accumulation of yellow cards. His absence could greatly affect Metz’s potency up top in this crucial encounter. The onus will be Louis Mafouta to replace him in the number nine role, as he looks to lead the Metz frontline alongside Lamkel Ze.
[ ℙ𝕙𝕠𝕥𝕠𝕤 ]
🏋️♂️ J-2 avant le déplacement au Parc des Princes
📸 𝐿𝑎 𝑠𝑒́𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑑𝑢 𝑗𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑒𝑛 𝑖𝑚𝑎𝑔𝑒𝑠 𝑔𝑟𝑎̂𝑐𝑒 𝑎̀ @VacommAgency 👇
— Fc Metz ☨ (@FCMetz) May 19, 2022
Tactically, Metz head coach Frederic Antonetti should not deviate from his 3-4-1-2 formation that allows his side flexibility in defence, as the number ten Farid Boulaya can effortlessly drop deeper to help out the two midfielders Pape Sarr and Boubacar Traore in the second line of press.
For the large part, though, Boulaya will be expected to offer the creative essence in the final third and make life difficult for the PSG defence, using the additional width provided by the two marauding wing-backs in William Mikelbrencis and Fali Cande.
Speaking of defence, however, the onus will be on Dylan Bronn to spearhead the three-man Metz backline consisting of him, Sikou Niakate and Kiki Kouyate, with Marc-Aurele Caillard starting in between the sticks.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Caillard; Niakate, Bronn, Kouyate; Mikelbrencis, Sarr, Traore, Cande; Boulaya; Mafouta, Lamkel Ze
- Paris have won their last 11 Ligue 1 games against Metz, since a 0-0 draw away from home in August 2007. Indeed, at home, PSG haven’t lost any of their last 14 Ligue 1 home games against Metz (W11 D3) conceding just twice in the last 10 – Ahn Jung-hwan in July 2005 and Modibo Maiga in April 2015.
- If they lose, Paris will be crowned champions with 83 points, the same tally as Lille last season. Indeed, no team has won the title with a fewer since Montpellier in 2011/12 (82 – excluding curtailed campaigns).
- Metz currently sit 18th in Ligue with 31 points, as many 19th placed St Etienne. Six of the last eight teams in 18th position before the final matchday have been relegated, with two of them finishing in 19th after the final round of games (Troyes in 2012/13 & Caen in 2018/19). The only two such teams who have avoided relegation are Toulouse in 2017/18 and Nantes in 2020/21, via the playoff method.
- Paris have failed to win each of their last two Ligue 1 home games (D2), after winning 15 of the first 16 this season (D1). PSG could have a run of three home games without a win for the first time since February-April 2021 (3).
- Metz are winless in their last seven Ligue 1 away games (D3 L4), last suffering a longer such run in the top-flight between November 2016- April 2017 (10).
Player to Watch
PSG’s game against Metz on Matchday 38 in Ligue 1 will revolve around Kylian Mbappe. The Frenchman has stolen the headlines this week due to the speculations linking him to a move to Real Madrid. The attacker has promised to come up with a decision, but until then, he will look to end the campaign on a positive note.
Mbappe is set to receive adulation from the PSG supporters, most of who do realise this might be the forward’s final game as a PSG player. With 168 goals and 87 assists in 216 competitive appearances, Mbappe has offered great service to PSG over the years and he will hope to extend that record one last time against Metz.
In many ways, the onus should be on the likes of Messi and Neymar to shine on Saturday, as they are the ones to remain at PSG. But Mbappe’s pace and ability to dribble past defenders in the final third could, nevertheless, become paramount as the hosts look to breach the opposition defence.
Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 Metz
Metz have been one of the least competitive teams in the French top division this season. Although they are coming on the back of two successive victories, the absence of their top scorer coupled with the prospect of facing the mighty PSG attack could be too much for the visitors.
THT expect Mbappe to dominate in his final game for PSG, alongside the likes of Neymar and Messi, making life difficult for the opposition and securing a comfortable victory at the Parc des Princes.