Paris Saint-Germain will begin their Ligue 1 title defence with an encounter against Clermont Foot on Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain will start life under new manager Christophe Galtier with an away trip to Clermont Foot to kick off their Ligue 1 campaign. The French giants finished atop the league table last season after missing out on the title to Lille in the previous campaign.

But their 2021/22 campaign was marred by their failure to win the UEFA Champions League, which forced a change in the managerial hotseat. PSG have also managed to hold on to Kylian Mbappe, who looked destined to move to Real Madrid this summer.

Les Parisiens had a great pre-season, winning all four of their friendly matches. They also defeated Nantes 4-0 in the Trophee des Champions to kick off their new campaign on a high. PSG will want to maintain their form and defend their Ligue 1 title, while a Champions League triumph remains the ultimate prize for them.

Clermont Foot, on the other hand, have a completely different set of objectives after a 17th-placed finish last season. They will be eager to hold on to their top-flight status for another season, and there won’t be a better start than taking points off PSG on the opening day.

Clermont Foot had a positive pre-season overall, winning four of their six matches. Clermont’s most recent friendly encounter against Montpellier finished in a 1-0 win on July 31. They will want to continue in a similar vein as the Ligue 1 season kicks off.

Team News & Tactics

Clermont Foot

Clermont Foot gained promotion to the Ligue 1 last season and managed to stay afloat in miraculous fashion, finishing 17th in the league. Pascal Gastien’s men caused quite a few upsets last campaign and will want to start the new campaign in a similar fashion.

Gastien will be without full-back Mehdi Zeffane for the encounter but is expected to have the rest of his squad fit. He prefers a 4-2-3-1 and is expected to field a similar lineup against PSG as well.

Mory Diaw will line up between the sticks for the hosts, with a back four of Alidu Seidu, Mateusz Wieteska, Florent Ogier and Neto Borges protecting him. Up ahead in midfield, Johan Gastien and Maxime Gonalons will look to cover the backline by keeping things tight in the middle of the park.

Jodel Dossou and Jim Allevinah will be the two wide attackers for Clermont Foot, with Komnen Andric leading the line against PSG. Jason Berthomeir will play just behind Andric, looking to pull the strings higher up the pitch.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Diaw; Seidu, Wieteska, Ogier, Borges; Gastien, Gonalons; Dossou, Berthomeir, Allevinah; Andric


Paris Saint-Germain

Christophe Galtier will have quite a few absentees for the Clermont Foot match, including Kylian Mbappe, who also watched the Ligue 1 giants defeat Nantes from the sideline.

Layvin Kurzawa, Julian Draxler, Ander Herrera, Rafinha Alcantara and Thilo Kehrer are all expected to miss the encounter. But they were not available for the Trophee des Champions match either, so Galtier will not have to make a lot of changes.

Mbappe has not been named in the travelling squad, so he will miss the encounter. Moreover, there might not be any changes from the side that started against Nantes. Gianluigi Donnarumma will man the goal, with a three-man defence of Marquinhos, Sergio Ramos and Presnel Kimpembe protecting him.

Marco Verratti and Vitinha are expected to form the double pivot in the centre of the park, with Achraf Hakimi and Nuno Mendes manning either flank. Lionel Messi will be handed a more central role by Galtier and is expected to take the no.10 role with Neymar and Leandro Paredes leading the line in a 3-4-1-2 formation.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Donnarumma; Ramos, Kimpembe, Marquinhos; Hakimi, Vitinha, Verratti, Mendes; Messi; Paredes, Neymar


Key Stats

  • Clermont Foot and PSG have faced off just twice previously, with the Ligue 1 champions winning both their matches.
  • PSG scored a total of 10 goals in their two matches against Clermont Foot.
  • Kylian Mbappe scored four goals against the side in two league matches last season, including a hat-trick.
  • Neymar also scored a hat-trick in the away win over Clermont Foot last term.
  • Clermont Foot lost 20 league matches last season, the joint highest in Ligue 1, but still managed to avoid relegation.

Player to Watch

Lionel Messi

With Kylian Mbappe missing out, Lionel Messi will definitely be the player to watch out for in the encounter. The Argentine arrived on a free transfer from Barcelona last summer but failed to hit the ground running in France, finishing with just six league goals.

He continued to provide assists freely and will be expected to do more of the same as he will be handed a more central role by new manager Galtier. He also scored in PSG’s win over Nantes, signalling a return to form. With the 2022 FIFA World Cup fast approaching, the Argentine will want to maintain his form. Expect him to be among the goals in the opening Ligue 1 encounter.


Clermont Foot 0-4 PSG

Paris Saint-Germain scored freely against Clermont Foot in both their league encounters last season. and a similar outcome could be expected this time out as well. Neymar and Lionel Messi are fit and raring to go, so expect a goal fest from the defending Ligue 1 champions. The Hard Tackle predicts a 4-0 win for Christophe Galtier’s men.

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