Paris Saint-Germain returns to action on Tuesday as they travel to Istanbul to face Galatasaray S.K. on Matchday 2 of the UEFA Champions League. After their impressive 3-0 win over Real Madrid to open the competition, Thomas Tuchel will be looking for another dominating performance from his squad to take a commanding lead in Group A.
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Galatasaray, a club known for the atmosphere created by their supporters, will offer very little in terms of quality on the pitch. They feature several Ligue 1 castaways (Jean Michaël Seri, Jimmy Durmaz, Radamel Falcao) who will be familiar with PSG, but not much else. They currently sit in seventh place in the Süper Lig and will rightfully be considered underdogs against the reigning French champions.
We’ve all heard that analysis before though and watched as PSG played down to their opponents. Just last Saturday against FC Girondins de Bordeaux, PSG barely scraped by 1-0 after finally bringing on Kylian Mbappé in the 60th minute. Prior to that, Tuchel played a heavily rotated squad and lost to Stade de Reims. It’s very much been a roller coaster of a season thus far with PSG needing late heroics from Neymar Jr. to save face against teams they should be beating putting away in the opening 45 minutes.
Unfortunately, PSG will be without their polarizing star against Galatasaray. Neymar will be serving the final game of his suspension (reduced to two games instead of three), so it will be up to Mbappé, Mauro Icardi, and Di Maria to pick up the slack. On the eve of the pivotal Champions League match, Tuchel named the rest of his squad heading to Turkey:
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Sergio Rico, Garissone Innocent
Defenders: Juan Bernat, Abdou Diallo, Presnel Kimpembe, Layvin Kurzawa, Thomas Meunier, Thiago Silva, Tanguy Nianzou Kouassi
Midfielders: Idrissa Gueye, Ander Herrera, Marquinhos, Leandro Paredes, Marco Verratti, Adil Aouchiche
Attackers: Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Angel Di Maria, Mauro Icardi, Kylian Mbappé, Pablo Sarabia
OUT: Mitchel Bakker, Marcin Bulka, Edinson Cavani, Colin Dagba, Julian Draxler, Thilo Kehrer, Loïc Mbe Soh, Neymar Jr.
The manager has some options here in terms of formation and starting XI, but I believe we will see a similar lineup to what we saw against Real Madrid with some slight changes. Expect to see Icardi lead the attack from the middle with Di Maria and Mbappé flanking him. In midfielder, you can’t go wrong with the trio of Marquinhos, Idrissa Gueye, and Marco Verratti. The backline should be Juan Bernat, Abdou Diallo, Thiago Silva, and Thomas Meunier. Presnel Kimpembe did start against Real Madrid but the Frenchman still hasn’t returned to form and struggles at times. Diallo meanwhile has been a versatile player for Tuchel and is earning the manager’s trust. In goal will be Keylor Navas, who after blanking his first couple of opponents as a PSG player, did let in two against Reims, including one that he probably should have saved.
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