Coming off their impressive season-opener against Stade Malherbe Caen, Paris Saint-Germain looks to keep the ball rolling against En Avant de Guingamp at the Stade de Roudourou. The hosts are coming off a 2-1 defeat to AS Saint-Étienne and will be looking for a positive performance in front of their home supporters. Paris has had success against Guingamp in the past but the last match against them in Ligue 1 ended in a 2-2 draw at the Parc des Princes.
With all that being said, this match promises to be as exciting as the one last week. Here are my 5 things to watch for this Saturday.
Against Stade Malherbe Caen last week it was hard to find a moment in the game where the momentum was truly possessed by the opponent. Moving the ball into the empty corners of the field, passing into open lanes, and generating chances based on what’s given allowed PSG to control the game. Scoring chances in last week’s match were generated largely in part by PSG’s ability to keep possession of the ball.
Possession against Guingamp will play a large factor given the impact it made last week. The goals from Neymar Jr. and Adrien Rabiot would not have been possible without the play both on and off the ball, which translated into scoring chances.
2. Goal Differential
Exploding for three goals in the first match, one coming just several minutes after the opening whistle, PSG showed they are more than capable of putting the ball into the net. Going against a team who was held to a single goal in their first match of the season and currently sitting with a -1 goal differential, this game has the opportunity for PSG to find the back of the net again.
Exploding for three goals in the regular season opener, one coming just several minutes into the game, PSG showed they are more than capable of putting the ball into the net. Going against a team who was held to a single goal (5 shots on goal) in their first game of the season and currently sitting with a -1 goal differential, this game has all the signs for PSG to explode for one of their lopsided domestic victories.
3. Gianluigi Buffon
Stepping onto the national stage in his Ligue 1 debut, PSG’s newest goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon, brought his Juventus FC flare to the Parc. The Italian, who arrived earlier this summer on a free transfer, made two incredible saves—one against Caen’s Malik Tchokounté and the other on teammate Thiago Silva whose attempt to clear a cross got a little too close for Buffon’s comfort.
Matching up against a Guingamp side that can fire the ball on target and will be expected to do so with their home support behind them, Buffon has the chance to show his ability and keep the much younger Alphonse Areola on the bench.
4. Adrien Rabiot
As transfer and contract extension rumors swirl around the head of PSG’s problem child, it will be interesting to see how affected he will be when and if he starts against Guingamp. They clearly did not seem to be a factor last week as he finished off a beautiful pass from Angel Di Maria in the 35th minute.
The 23-year-old midfielder from Saint-Maurice, France, has had his name brought up in recent days in the media and it is now public knowledge that Rabiot has turned down yet another contract offer from the club and the Frenchman has expressed interest in other offers with both Juventus and FC Barcelona testing the waters. Given all of the speculation and his mother’s meddling, the pending fate of Rabiot in a PSG shirt seems to be uncertain and a sensitive subject.
5. Youth Prevails
The fountain of youth has cascaded down upon this season’s PSG roster. Having three 19-year-old players on the pitch at one point this season shows nothing but promise. The academy players can not only fend for themselves but also provide quality support week-to-week. Making their Ligue 1 debut, six PSG players aged 19-20 in Colin Dagba, Antoine Bernede, and Moussa Diaby impressed supporters.
The investment in youth seemed to pay off in a positive light against Caen and matching up this week against Guingamp, having all of those young players is a luxury PSG can use to their advantage.