Prior to the international break, Marco Verratti suffered a knee injury and was substituted off in the 80th minute against Stade Brestois.
On November 16, the Italy international’s status hadn’t improved enough to be included in the squad for the home fixture against Lille OSC. According to the club’s medical report, Verratti was still undergoing treatment on his right knee.
PSG was able to win comfortably 2-0 at the Parc des Princes, but with an away match against Real Madrid next Tuesday in the UEFA Champions League, the status of Verratti is very much on the forefront for manager Thomas Tuchel.
On Saturday, Le Parisien reported that it’s still unclear whether or not Verratti will be available to face Madrid next week. The outlet also reported that Verratti trained on Saturday and a decision will be made on Sunday on whether or not the 27-year-old can participate in the upcoming match.
Even if Verratti can play, you have to wonder how many meaningful minutes he can give the team. With Ander Herrera also limited with a quadriceps injury, Tuchel will have to get creative with his starting lineup for the Madrid match.
Now is the perfect time to try something new if you’re Tuchel. Even if PSG lose at Madrid, they will still be in first place in the group with a home match against Galatasaray S.K. where a win will confirm the top spot in the group.
With that in mind, Tuchel could opt to play Neymar Jr., Mauro Icardi, Kylian Mbappé, and Angel Di Maria all at the same time. Icardi would play in the striker role with Mbappé and Di Maria on the wings. Neymar would sit behind Icardi in the number 10 role and be the catalyst for the offense.
Behind this fantastic four, Idrissa Gueye and Marquinhos would play in the defensive midfield role. Both players have been fantastic this season and I’m confident they could limit Real Madrid’s attackers even without Verratti there. Juan Bernat, Thiago Silva, Presnel Kimpembe, and Thomas Meunier would be my ideal backline.
After the Lille match, Tuchel was asked about the possibility of playing his four attacking stars at the same time as reported by Culture PSG:
“We have to try. But there is a small difference between trust and too much trust. And if we do that, we have to think about how we can balance the team, how we can control attacks and counter-attacks by opponents and half-spaces. It’s not easy, maybe we have to play in a 4-2-3-1, maybe it’s possible with the four for the structure.”
That’s not a no from the manager regarding playing such an offense-heavy lineup. ESPN‘s Paris Saint-Germain correspondent Jonathan Johnson even eluded to the possibility in a recent PSG Talking podcast.
Paris could very well find themselves down a couple of goals in the latter stages of the Champions League and that is not the time you want to try playing all of these guys for the first time. I believe Tuchel has to experiment to see what happens when they’re all on the pitch together. The match against Real Madrid is the last time we get to see PSG against a top-tier European opponent before the knockout phase begins.
Let us know your ideal starting XI in the comments below or find us on Twitter @PSGTalk.
Want more PSG? Visit the PSG Talk Podcast Network page and subscribe to PSG Talking, The 1970, and 24th & Parc.