Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Ligue 1 clash between Paris Saint-Germain and Nantes, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Paris Saint-Germain return to Ligue 1 action at the Parc des Princes on Saturday afternoon, with Antoine Kombouare‘s Nantes lying in wait.
Les Parisiens currently boast a 10-point lead at the top of the table, while their upcoming visitors sit nine places and 16 points below the capital outfit.
PSG are yet to convince every one of their title credentials this term, but they sought to silence the doubters by storming into a three-goal lead against Bordeaux, with Kylian Mbappe setting up Neymar twice before scoring himself from Georginio Wijnaldum‘s pass.
However, Les Girondins made a game of it in the dying embers when Alberth Elis and M’Baye Niang both struck to threaten a storming comeback, but Mauricio Pochettino‘s side held on to claim a second successive win in the top flight.
With last season’s title rivals in Lille, Monaco and Lyon all faltering, Les Parisiens sure are taking advantage to open up a 10-point gap at the top of the standings over second-placed Lens, taking 34 from a possible 39 in their 13 games this term.
The hosts are also six for six at the Parc des Princes in Ligue 1 this term – scoring at least two goals on each occasion – and their home winning streak in the French top flight stands now at an impressive nine matches before the visit of Nantes.
However, Pochettino must work around a depleted squad this weekend and will likely have one eye on the crunch clash with Manchester City in the Champions League, so Kombouare may sense an opportunity to get one over his former club this weekend.
Inconsistency continues to plague this Nantes side, who went into the lead twice against Strasbourg last time out but were pegged back to share the spoils in a 2-2 draw with Les Coureurs, despite having an extra man for the majority of the second half.
Kalifa Coulibaly headed home the opener for his side with 20 minutes gone before Habib Diallo levelled on the stroke of half time with a close-range finish, and after Randal Kolo Muani put Nantes back ahead and Ludovic Ajorque saw red for Strasbourg, the visitors rescued a point thanks to Adrien Thomasson‘s header against his old club.
Having failed to claim a fourth home win on the bounce, Kombouare’s men occupy the 10th spot in the rankings, with six points separating them from the bottom three and second-placed Lens as they sit smack-bang in the middle.
Les Canaris should not have any concerns about another fight for survival if they can maintain their new-found goalscoring touch, but they have only won one of their six games away from home this term and have conceded in each of them.
Nantes memorably marched to a 2-1 win at the Parc des Princes back in March, although that game was perhaps best remembered for Angel Di Maria‘s substitution after Leonardo and Pochettino were informed that the winger’s house had been burgled, with Marquinhos also a victim of the same crime on the night.
Paris Saint-Germain Ligue 1 form:
Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions):
Nantes Ligue 1 form:
Lionel Messi‘s call-up to the Argentina squad was met with fury by the powers-that-be at PSG, but the six-time Ballon d’Or winner came through the international break unscathed, although Pochettino will be reluctant to take any risks over his fitness.
Sergio Ramos is not likely to make his debut for the capital club this weekend, while Neymar has picked up an adductor problem and will reportedly be spared for the trip to Man City alongside Marquinhos, Presnel Kimpembe and Marco Verratti.
Abdou Diallo has recovered from a bout of coronavirus, but Julian Draxler picked up a muscle injury over the international break, Gianluigi Donnarumma has been dealing with gastroenteritis and Rafinha is still out with a hip issue.
Given Pochettino’s selection woes and impending trip to the Etihad Stadium, it would not be surprising to see the likes of Mauro Icardi and Colin Dagba given opportunities to impress this weekend.
As for Nantes, defender Nicolas Pallois will sit this one out due to an accumulation of bookings, so Andrei Girotto could drop back into defence as Kombouare alters his XI slightly.
Wylan Cyprien or Samuel Moutoussamy should join Pedro Chirivella in midfield if Girotto returns to centre-back, but Kombouare has no injury concerns to contend with for the encounter.
Charles Traore could push for a recall at left-back over Fabio in an otherwise unchanged side, with Kolo Muani and Coulibaly both featuring in the final third of the field.
Paris Saint-Germain possible starting lineup:
Navas; Dagba, Kehrer, Diallo, Bernat; Herrera, Gueye, Wijnaldum; Di Maria, Icardi, Mbappe
Nantes possible starting lineup:
Lafont; Appiah, Castelletto, Girotto, Fabio; Chirivella, Cyprien; Kolo Muani, Blas, Simon; Coulibaly
We say: Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 Nantes
This ought to be a much more tightly-fought affair than the form book would suggest, as Pochettino is likely to tinker with his injury-hit side before locking horns with Man City.
Kombouare’s men got one over the Parisiens at the Parc des Princes only eight months ago, but PSG’s home form since then has been near-faultless, and we still have confidence in Pochettino’s side to get the job done.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5: data