Paris travel to the south of France to take on one of the heavyweights in Ligue 1: Olympique Lyonnais on Sunday night. A win against Lyon is made even more crucial after Monaco sent big message to title rivals, Paris and Nice, by thrashing Marseille 4-0 on Saturday.
Theses two heavyweights have already clashed right at the start of the season in the French Trophée Des Champions. The game was Unai Emery’s first competitive game in charge of Paris and everything clicked so perfectly for them. Pastore, Lucas, Ben Arfa and Kurzawa all scored before the hour mark and PSG ran away with the game becoming 4-1 winners by the end.
But things have changed considerably for PSG especially since the; Emery’s tactics from that match and his beloved 4-2-3-1 formation has not worked in the league, Cavani and the new signings have been criticised by the media and , as it stands, they lie third in the table, 3 points off the title they have dominated in recent years. Things haven’t been as bad for last years runners up but it certainly hasn’t gone smoothly for Lyon. They are 7th in the table and have been troubled by injury. However, Alexander Lacazette has been a very good source of goals for Lyon and he’s scored 10 goals already, which is just one short of Edison Cavani of PSG. So the stage is set for a great battles between the two best goal-scorers in the league.
“PSG are the best team in Ligue 1”
– Alexandre Lacazette
Both teams played in midweek in the Champions League. Lyon beat Dinamo Zagreb to keep their chances alive, but still have an uphill battle to qualify ahead of Sevilla and Juventus. Whereas PSG had better similar fortune in their draw against Arsenal which takes them top with the knowledge that just a win is needed to top the group at home to Ludogorets next time out. Hatem Ben Arfa was the stand out performer when coming on in that game and has been highly praised by the French media since, making him a serious candidate to get a Starting XI place against one of his former teams.
In PSG’s record breaking title season, this fixture was one of only two times Les Parisiens failed to record a point, giving this game an extra edge. If the fans get right behind Lyon at their new ‘Parc Olympique Lyonnais’ then they could make it difficult for praise to take naythimh from this match. A match that is particularly as important to PSG who need to win to keep up with their rivals.
Unsurprisingly, Di Maria and Pastore are both left out of the squad that travelled to Lyon following their injuries they picked up against Nantes last weekend. Kurzawa is also still injured and Rabiot is close to recovering but is still left out due to his lack of fitness. Unlike on Wednesday, its more likely that Jesé or Hatem Ben Arfa will replace Di Maria in the team. Kevin Trapp showed great form when Arealoa was out and he may keep his place in goal, but it looks like Emery does prefer Areola over the German.
Predicted Starting XI
(4-3-3) Areola; Aurier, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Maxwell; Motta; Matuidi, Verratti; Lucas, Cavani, Ben Arfa
Subs: Trapp, Kimpembe, Meunier, Krychowiak, Nkunku, Ikone, Jesé
Lyon 1-3 PSG