Paris Saint-Germain will host relegation threatened AC Ajaccio at the Parc des Princes on Saturday evening, but they will not be able to formally reaffirm their title as Ligue 1 champions this weekend.
Last Saturday, Christophe Galtier’s team defeated Troyes convincingly, 3-1, while their visitors earned a respectable 0-0 draw with Coupe de France champion Toulouse.
Last Sunday, PSG defeated struggling Troyes 3-1 with ease despite having off the field issues, solidifying their lead atop the Ligue 1 standings. PSG has a comfortable cushion of six points over Lens with four games left in the season, but they must keep their composure to prevent any mistakes and win a record tying 11th French tittle.
Given that they are slated to play against current bottom half teams till the conclusion of the season, the Parisians’ path to winning this Ligue 1 title appears to be very simple. Lionel Messi will be available to PSG manager Christophe Galtier for the forthcoming game after his punishment was shortened as a result of his social media apology, which should further solidify their position as heavy favorites.
Ajaccio’s winless run in Ligue 1 now stands at nine games (D2, L7) after last weekend’s scoreless draw at home against Toulouse. As a result, they must win at Parc des Princes in order to avoid being officially demoted to Ligue 2. The main reason for their situation is Olivier Pantaloni’s squad’s terrible play in the final third, as at the end of last weekend, Sampdoria was the only team in the top five European leagues with a worse average of 0.65 goals per game.
Despite their unexpected 2-1 victory at Marseille in the first week of October, which served as a reminder to supporters that an upset is still possible, Ajaccio’s recent road record of only one win (D2, L9) is not going to instill confidence in their supporters. The ACA have recently done well at Parc des Princes, avoiding defeat in three of their last four visits (W1, D2). The bookmakers may not think highly of Ajaccio’s chances, but they haven’t in recent times.
Vitinha of PSG has three goals and one assist in his previous four Ligue 1 games (G2, A1), which is a considerable improvement from his first 28 games where he only had one assist. Among goalies with at least 30 appearances in Ligue 1 in 2022/2023, Benjamin Leroy of Ajaccio, who was selected as Ligue 2’s top goalkeeper last season, has the fewest clean sheets (four).
Despite initially receiving a two weeks club suspension, PSG said on Monday that Messi has resumed individual training at Camp des Loges after publicly apologizing for his trip. However, it is still unknown whether the 35 years old would be selected for this weekend’s lineup.
Achraf Hakimi, who served a one match ban for his red card against Lorient last weekend, will come off the bench, but Nuno Mendes (hamstring), Presnel Kimpembe (Achilles), Neymar (ankle), and Nordi Mukiele (hamstring) are all still out for the remainder of the campaign. Due to a knee issue, Timothee Pembele’s participation is also in doubt.
Warren Zaire-Emery, who played right wing back for Troyes, should be demoted as a result of Hakimi’s return, while Hugo Ekitike will keep the fort holding up front if Messi is once again required to watch from home.
In a similar vein, Ajaccio, which had three players suspended last week, will reinstate two of them for the trip to Paris now that Ismael Diallo and Mounaim El Idrissy have served out their suspensions for accruing too many yellow cards.
Yoann Touzghar, a seasoned striker, still has this weekend’s game to complete his three matches suspension, and Mickael Barreto and Yocuef Belaili are absent because of injuries and disciplinary difficulties, respectively.
El Idrissy, who is returning, will anticipate replacing Riad Nouri in the attacking third right away, but despite last week’s flawless performance, Diallo is far from a lock to replace Youssouf Kone, who is on loan from Lyon.
Paris Saint-Germain possible starting lineup
Donnarumma, Pereira, Marquinhos, Ramos, Hakimi, Ruiz, Verratti, Vitinha, Bernat, Mbappe and Ekitike.
AC Ajaccio possible starting lineup
Sollacaro, Youssouf, Vidal, Gonzalez, Diallo, Marchetti, Mangani, Coutadeur, Hamouma, El Idrissy and Spadanuda.
We predict: PSG 4-0 AC Ajaccio
Although AC Ajaccio showed off their newly acquired defensive prowess during Toulouse’s visit, they shouldn’t hope for the same success at Parc des Princes, where going all out for the win needed to extend their stay might and should prove disastrous.
Galtier’s team hasn’t exactly been a force to be reckoned with on their home turf lately, but as their visitors wave goodbye to the big boys in less than ideal style, it should just be a matter of how many Les Parisiens they can rack up.