PSG host Lille at the Parc des Princes on Saturday evening in a key match in the Ligue 1 title race. The hosts sit top of the table on goal difference and face second placed Lille, with Lyon and Monaco both within four points of the summit too. PSG beat Lille 3-0 in the Coupe de France just two weeks ago and Mauricio Pochettino will want to take a big step towards his first title in this match. Lille have won just one of their last 21 matches against Paris Saint-Germain.
Pochettino has done a good job since taking over of implementing his tactics but PSG have had some poor results under him. After 19 matches at the helm, he has taken PSG into the Champions League quarter-finals after 4-1 away and 1-1 at home results against Barcelona.
In Ligue 1, the side have not been as dominant as in recent seasons with three defeats in their last nine matches opening the door for other sides to challenge for the title. Those losses include a 3-2 reverse at Lorient, a 2-0 home defeat to Monaco (a few days after winning 4-1 in the Camp Nou) and a 2-1 home loss to Nantes. PSG responded to that defeat with a 3-0 cup win against Lille and a fine 4-2 away victory at title rivals, Lyon. PSG were 4-0 up after 52 minutes in that match.
PSG Team News
The Lyon match saw the return from injury of Neymar as a substitute. Having had two weeks to train during the FIFA break, he could start this clash. Moise Kean or Marco Verratti are most at threat of losing their places so perhaps Pochettino will use Neymar from the bench for one more match and start him against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
Jun Bernat remains absent with a long term knee injury, Pablo Sarabia is carrying a thigh problem and Mauro Icardi missed the Lyon match but probably won’t start this match even if he recovers in time.
PSG will have one eye on Bayern Munich in midweek. Their league defeats to Monaco and Nantes both came after facing Barcelona, and PSG are known for their complacency. Pochettino will play to win and will make attacking substitutions to chase the game but this match feels like more of a must-not-lose than a must-win.
The coach’s team selection will give some indication of how seriously he is taking this match. The Argentine is likely to pick his best XI aside from any players carrying knocks or fatigue from international duty.
Having had a superb January which saw six wins (five with clean sheets) in a row in Ligue 1 to end the month, Lille sat top of the league with a two point lead over Lyon and a three point gap to PSG. Things have not been anywhere near as good since then. Their last 10 matches in all competitions have seen just three wins.
In Ligue 1, Lille drew at home to both Brest and Strasbourg in that run whilst they lost 2-1 both home and away to Ajax and were eliminated from the Europa League. Their last two matches saw a 3-0 thumping at PSG in the Coupe de France and a shock 2-1 home defeat in Ligue 1 to Nimes.
Lille Team News
Right backs Zeki Celik and Jeremy Pied are both real injury doubt for this match for LOSC. If Celik doesn’t recover in time then it may mean a midfielder covering at fullback which would be less than ideal up against Kylian Mbappe.
Lille have great options in attack with Jonathan David expected to lead the line with either Yusuf Yazici (14 goals) or Burak Yilmaz (11 goals) playing in support with the other being a good impact substitute.
00% focus and motivation will be on this match. With no cup commitments to distract the side, full attention is on the side’s Ligue 1 title challenge. Lille would probably be very happy to take a point from this match and Christophe Galtier has built his side on a solid backline (19 goals conceded – best defence in Ligue 1).
A counter attacking approach using David’s movement and Timothy Weah’s pace on the right is most likely.
PSG have won 9 of their last 12 Ligue 1 matches
PSG have lost 3 of their last 9 Ligue 1 matches
Lille have won just 1 of their last 21 matches against PSG
The last 3 Ligue 1 meetings between these sides have seen under 2.5 goals
Lille have lost 4 of their last 9 matches
Lille have won 2 of their last 6 Ligue 1 matches (D3, L1)
PSG are heavy favourites to win this match. They can be complacent and distracted around Champions League matches but have generally dropped points after big games rather than before. Lille’s form is not the best and they would probably snap your hand off for a draw. The best bet may be a PSG combination as there is no value in a single bet for them to win the match.