Paris Saint-Germain continue their stumbling toward the Ligue 1 finish line away to Troyes on Sunday night amid yet another week of bloodshed and controversy on and off the field.
Last weekend, Christophe Galtier’s club was defeated 3-1 at home by Lorient, while its opponents who were fighting for a playoff spot were defeated 1-0 by Nice.
Following their 1-0 home loss to Nice last weekend, Troyes manager Patrick Kisnorbo voiced his regret and acknowledged that his team had lost “focus from the first minute.” They moved one step closer to Ligue 2 during the second longest winless skid in club history (D4, L12), and a ten points deficit to safety prior to this round seemed insurmountable at this point in the season.
The desire of the first Australian to manage in one of Europe’s top five divisions will definitely be fueled by the possibility of becoming the first manager to lead Troyes to a victory against PSG since 2001 (D3, L16 since). Since Troyes has lost more points after the 75th minute (11) than any other team in Ligue 1 this season, it will be essential for them to regain their focus if they hope to pull off this accomplishment.
In addition to cutting PSG’s lead at the top of Ligue 1 to five points as of the conclusion of the previous round, their 3-1 loss to Lorient at Parc des Princes on Sunday also sparked a crisis within the organization. following Lionel Messi left PSG without permission the day following the loss and missed a scheduled training session, the club’s administration made the decision to suspend him for two weeks as a result of the incident.
Coach Christophe Galtier has faced added challenges as PSG travel to Stade de l’Aube amidst drama as a result of the long term injuries to Neymar and Nuno Mendes as well as the suspension of Achraf Hakimi. Galtier’s club, though, can take heart from the fact that they have won all three of their away games this season against opponents currently sitting in the bottom four spots, with each game featuring precisely three goals.
Rony Lopes of Troyes will definitely get attention because he assisted in seven of his team’s 16 goals scored at home (G4, A3). As Troyes was the team he scored his first Ligue 1 goal against in 2016 at the age of 17, PSG’s Kylian Mbappé holds a special place in his heart for them.
Rominigue Kouame’s return from a one game suspension will be a little plus for Troyes going into the champions’ visit, while Jeff Reine Adelaide’s brief stint in the starting lineup may now be over.
For the hosts, Renaud Ripart (Achilles), Abdu Conte (discomfort), and Karim Azamoum (ACL) make up a trio of known absences. Right back Andreas Bruus was also forced to leave the match against Nice with an undisclosed injury 10 minutes before the end.
Thierno Balde, a former PSG youth product who left the club last summer, might now line up against his former employers. The degree of Bruus’s harm is presently unknown.
Hakimi will serve a one game suspension for his red card against Lorient, while Messi, who is now almost certainly leaving this summer, starts his two weeks exile for traveling to the Middle East without the club’s permission. In contrast, PSG have now lost two players to completely different suspensions.
They join long term absentees Neymar (ankle), Presnel Kimpembe (Achilles), and Nordi Mukiele (hamstring) on the sidelines, with Nuno Mendes becoming the fourth player to be sidelined for the remainder of the season with a hamstring issue of his own. The pair have been two of PSG’s most crucial players this season.
Galtier lacks any established right-backs due to Timothee Pembele’s knee injury as well, and may be forced to use 16-year-old Warren Zaire-Emery in an improvised position. On the plus side, Renato Sanches has exercised in preparation for this match while speeding up his rehabilitation from a groin ailment.
Troyes possible starting lineup
Gallon, Zoukrou, Palmer-Brown, Rami, Balde, Agoume, Kouame, Larouci, Chavalerin, Odobert and Balde.
Paris Saint-Germain possible starting lineup
Donnarumma, Pereira, Marquinhos, Ramos, Zaire-Emery, Verratti, Vitinha, Ruiz, Bernat, Mbappe and Ekitike.
We predict: Troyes 0-1 Paris Saint-Germain
A battered PSG team will be far from its free flowing best at the Stade de l’Aube, but victory should still be theirs despite the fact that injuries and off field drama threaten to entirely scupper their title bid.
Troyes may be able to continue fighting if other outcomes go in their favor, but Kisnorbo’s confidence drained crop could have and should have lost by more against Nice if it weren’t for a determined Gallon, who can still harbor hopes of keeping the champions’ waning offense to just one goal.