PSG may have entered crisis mode following a third straight defeat in all competitions after another dull effort in a 1-0 UCL loss to Bayern Munich. The 2023 French champions have already dropped five more games than they did in 2022, and they’re trying to avoid losing four straight games in a row for the first time since 2000! The Parisians’ manager Christophe Galtier acknowledged that his team is going through a “tough phase,” but due to their prior domination, they still held a five-point advantage at the top of Ligue 1 going into this round.
Galtier, who guided opponents Lille to the Ligue 1 championship in 2020–21, might at least be happy to see Kylian Mbappé return from injury. Mbappé would be the last player his former club would want to see as the forward scored within the first ten seconds of this season’s rematch, which the league leaders won thrashingly 7-1. While it was in April 2021, Lille was the last team to defeat PSG in a Ligue 1 match at Parc des Princes, so PSG may proceed with care (W28, D5).
With just one loss in their last eight league games, the Mastiffs may be confident in repeating that performance after gaining ground on the European spots since the resumption (W4, D3). Prior to this round, Paulo Fonseca’s team was only six points away from the UEFA Champions League spots. By winning consecutive away league games for only the second time this year, they might close that distance even more.
Lille will need to have defeated the ghosts of their past two defeats to PSG, which they suffered by an aggregate score of 12-2, in order to accomplish that. However, neither of those matches took place in the French capital, and Fonseca’s team has benefitted greatly from playing away games this season, with just three teams winning more games than they have. Only Marseille has allowed fewer goals than their ten this season than any other team traveling in Ligue 1.
Players to keep an eye on: Neymar scored five goals and had a riot in the rematch this season (G2, A3). Jonathan David, who scored a brace against Strasbourg in the previous round, may be Lille’s primary threat. Moreover, David has two goals in seven head-to-head matches versus PSG (W2, D1, L4).
This Ligue 1 season, PSG (14) has the most goals scored between the 76th and final whistle of any team.
Despite lingering doubts about their health, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, and Lionel Messi were all cleared to play against Bayern, albeit the latter only came off the bench after making a quick recovery from a thigh injury.
Aside from Achraf Hakimi, who is out with a new hamstring injury, Presnel Kimpembe has also made a full recovery from a troubling Achilles problem. Marquinhos, however, had a midweek thigh injury and is questionable. The two are being treated in the treatment room with the assistance of Renato Sanches and Nordi Mukiele.
Sixteen-year-old Warren Zaire-Emery, one of PSG’s season’s success stories, might start again on Sunday, and Kimpembe, if Marquinhos doesn’t make the team, can anticipate an immediate recall to the backline with Sergio Ramos.
The absence of Lille left-back Ismaily has forced Timothy Weah to play defense in an unconventional manner lately, but Gabriel Gudmundsson is a more sensible choice as he is anticipated to miss another few weeks due to a thigh injury.
Adam Ounas will also be sidelined owing to a thigh injury, while young center defender Leny Yoro, who was absent from the victory over Strasbourg due to illness, will also require evaluation.
In any event, for the journey to the capital, Fonseca should adhere to a tried-and-true strategy, with 39-year-old Jose Fonte leading the defense against Galtier’s renown trio.
Possible starting lineup for Paris Saint-Germain includes Donnarumma, Pembele, Ramos, Kimpembe, Mendes, Zaire-Emery, Verratti, and Vitinha, along with Messi, Mbappe, and Neymar.
Chevalier, Diakite, Fonte, Djalo, Gudmundsson, Andre, Angel Gomes, Zhegrova, Cabella, Bamba, and David might be Lille’s starting lineup.
Prediction: Paris Saint Germain 2-1 Lille
PSG has clearly underperformed both domestically and on the continent in recent weeks, but much of this may be attributable to a variety of injury issues that have already completely passed.
Les Dogues are anything but reliable away from home and should probably lose at the Parc des Princes fortress, but a steady Lille side may still hope to challenge a leaky PSG backline, which is unusual for Galtier’s methods.