A week ago, Paris Saint-Germain’s away match against AS Monaco was touted as their first real test of the Ligue 1 campaign. With the departures of Layvin Kurzawa (to PSG) and Aymen Abdennour (to Valencia) in just the last few days, the match has lost some of its luster.
There’s still plenty to look forward to though. Angel Di Maria is expected to be on the bench for PSG and could play his first minutes for the club. Additionally, anything but a loss will see Paris go top of the table ahead of Stade de Reims and extend their undefeated streak against Monaco to eight games (although it’s important to note that 6 of them ended in a draw).
Meanwhile, Monaco are looking to rebound after being knocked out of the Champions League by Valencia. Currently, the principality club are on a run of sixteen undefeated Ligue 1 games at Stade Louis II and will want to continue their run against the defending Ligue 1 champions.
Monaco will have a very difficult time dealing with the Paris midfield as a result of the absence of João Moutinho, who was injured during a scoreless draw against LOSC Lille on August 14th. Missing the services of one your best players is never a good thing, however it is especially punishing in this situation against a midfield with the likes of Marco Verratti, Thiago Motta, and Blaise Matuidi. The injury bug hit PSG as well. They will be without Javier Pastore, who is reported to be out with a calf injury, and Kurzawa will not face his former club due to a knock he picked up against Lille. On the flipside, it is possible that Zlatan Ibrahimovic may return from injury after missing three games due to a knee issue.
Javier Pastore & Layvin Kurzawa miss out, as expected. No Jean-Kevin Augustin or Presnel Kimpembe (CFA). #ASMPSG
— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) August 29, 2015
PSG players to watch closely:
Angel Di Maria
As mentioned before, Paris Saint-Germain’s most expensive signing of the summer is expected to make his first appearance this weekend as a substitution at some point in the match. It will be the first chance to look at how the Argentine will link up with the rest of the attack, and how Laurent Blanc plans to use his large arsenal of skills. Di Maria will look to get a good start to his hopefully long career in Paris in an attempt to redeem himself from his days in Manchester and prove that he is still a superstar. With a €63 million transfer fee attached to his name Di Maria has plenty to live up to but if anyone can do it, he can.
This match will show whether or not Cavani can put this rather disappointing start behind and regain his form from the end of last season. Following his astonishing finish to the 2014-15 season, scoring 9 goals in 6 games, Cavani had a fairly awful showing with Uruguay in the Copa America this summer. Despite showing a spark in the Trophée de Champions against Olympique Lyon by scoring a goal, Cavani hasn’t been particularly great since, and unless he shows something against Monaco, he could be in for an extending stay on the bench or even sold. There are a couple more days left in the transfer window after all.
Follow along with us on Twitter @PSGTalk during the match.