LOSC Lille will aim to halt the Paris Saint-Germain juggernaut at the Stade Pierre Mauroy on Sunday night.

LOSC Lille are the only French side apart from Paris Saint-Germain to win the Ligue 1 title in the last five seasons. Les Dogues will be keen to channel the spirit of 2020/21 when they welcome the defending champions to the Stade Pierre Mauroy on Sunday night.

The game will also be a homecoming for PSG boss Christophe Galtier who led Lille to the 202021 league title. The 55-year-old replaced Mauricio Pochettino at Parc des Princes and has turned Les Parisiens into a formidable outfit at the top of their game. PSG have looked nigh on unbeatable over the opening two weeks of the current campaign and they will once again start on the front foot this weekend.

Both teams are unbeaten in the league and should put up a good game. Although a shadow of their former self, Lille have it within themselves to pull off an upset. It could very well prove to be an early warning for a PSG side that has at times appeared complacent. The Parisians are vulnerable on the break, and it is an area that Lille could exploit. With boisterous home support egging them on, it remains to be seen if they will take the game to their opponents.

PSG have held the upper hand in this matchup in the last few years and will go into the game as favourites. The onus will be on Lille to make a game of it on the night. The Hard Tackle looks at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ.

Team News & Tactics

LOSC Lille

Lille are a shadow of the side that shocked France to win the 2020/21 Ligue 1 title. PSG have since established themselves as the domestic tour de force and also employed former Lille boss Christophe Galtier this summer. PSG have held the upper hand in the match-up in recent years, and having Galtier in their corner makes them an even more formidable opposition.

Paulo Fonseca has enjoyed a promising start to life with Les Dogues but now faces his greatest challenge yet. The Italian tactician will be without Timothy Weah, who is out injured while Tiago Djalo is suspended for the tie. He has an otherwise fully fit squad at his disposal. Fonesca is unlikely to deviate from the 4-2-3-1 formation that has brought his side a semblance of balance in the opening weeks.

Leo Jardim will start in goal behind a back four of Gabriel Gudmundsson, Alexsandro Ribeiro, Jose Fonte and Akim Zedadka. Angel Gomes and Benjamin Andre will form the double pivot, screening the back four and looking to disturb PSG’s rhythm. The duo is in for a difficult night against the likes of Vitinha and Marco Verratti. With Lionel Messi also dropping deep, it could prove to be too much to ask.

Jonathan Bamba and Jonathan David will bring up the flanks, with Remy Cabella tasked with functioning as the playmaker behind Mohamed Bayo. David is arguably Lille’s most dangerous player and could enjoy some joy against Presnel Kimpembe, especially at times when Nuno Mendes rushes forward, leaving space behind him.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Jardim; Gudmundsson, Ribeiro, Fonte, Zedadka; Gomes, Andre; Bamba, Cabella, David; Bayo

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Paris Saint-Germain

Galtier will be without Mauro Icardi, Julian Drexler and Ander Herrera on the night. However, it is a testament to the quality at his disposal that none of them will be missed. The 3-4-1-2 setup has made PSG difficult to defend against this season and there is little reason for them to change it against Lille.

Gianluigi Donnarumma will start in goal behind the back three of Presnel Kimpembe, Marquinhos and Sergio Ramos. Vitinha and Marco Verratti have formed a formidable partnership in the middle of the pitch and are likely to rekindle it this weekend. The cushion offered by the duo will give Nuno Mendes and Achraf Hakimi the freedom to push up the flank.

Lionel Messi has looked immaculate this season and has rediscovered his mojo with former Barcelona teammate Neymar. The duo have been irresistible this season and are nigh on undroppable. The former will function as the playmaker while the latter will lead the line upfront.

The Samba star will accompany Kylian Mbappe in a front two that are currently banging in goals for fun. The latter made a goalscoring return to action last week and will be keen to match Neymar’s numbers in the coming weeks.

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

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Key Stats

  • Lille have won just two of their last 20 games against PSG. Both of them occurred when Christophe Galtier was in charge of the Stade Pierre Mauroy outfit.
  • Lille have failed to find the back of the net in five of their last six home games against PSG.
  • PSG have now scored five goals in three successive Ligue 1 games. Making it four on Sunday will see them match Reims’ record that was set back in 1952.
  • PSG have scored three or more goals in their last five away games in Ligue 1.
  • PSG (28) and Lille (23) are the two sides with the best turnover rate in Ligue 1 this season.

Player to Watch

Kylian Mbappe

Main man Mbappe. (Photo by Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images)

Main man Mbappe. (Photo by Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images)

Mbappe made a goalscoring return against Montpellier but was far from his best on the night. He missed a penalty and cut a frustrating figure whenever things didn’t fall his way. The Frenchman is among the best players in world football and should be able to put in dynamic performances consistently.

Given the new contract he signed in the summer, the Frenchman has also been afforded much power. Hopefully, this will not get to his head, and he will continue to prove his worth on the field. Neymar and Messi have set the bar high this season, and the onus is now on Mbappe to match it. All eyes will be on him against Lille on Sunday.

Prediction

LOSC Lille 1-3 PSG

It is difficult to see anything but a PSG win on the night. The visitors have quality in abundance and are comfortably the better team on paper. Add to it the names on their roster, and it would appear to be a serious mismatch. Galtier is not one to take a result for granted and should have his side ready for the game.

PSG do however look vulnerable, especially when they already have the game sewn up. Lille, led by David, can cause the defending champions some problems, but it should amount to little as far as the result is concerned.

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