Paris Saint-Germain’s match against Galatasaray SK means absolutely nothing on paper but absolutely everything in terms of their long-term viability as a UEFA Champions League contender.
Aside from the 3-0 win over Real Madrid on Matchday 1, PSG has not played well together given the quality in the squad and manager Thomas Tuchel has been asked repeatedly by the media what the issue is.
Some of the issues stem from the fact that PSG has been hit with a ridiculous amount of injuries. From Neymar Jr. to Kylian Mbappé to Ander Herrera, several of PSG’s best players have missed significant amounts of time. It’s actually pretty difficult to gel as a team when many of your starters are out with muscle injuries.
A loss against Galatasaray won’t change the fact that PSG will finish first in Group A but Tuchel must field a strong starting lineup in the hope that the players start to come together as a team. As a supporter, I was hoping to see a completely rotated squad to not only give some of PSG’s fringe players playing time in the Champions League but also to preserve the likes of Neymar and Mbappé who will be crucial in the knockout phase.
With all of that in mind, here is who I believe Tuchel will start against Galatasaray:
Admittedly, my predicted lineup is a bit of a stretch with both Adil Aouchiche and Pablo Sarabia in the midfield.
The reason for that is the fact that while Marco Verratti should be healthy enough to play, he risks suspension if he picks up a yellow card. Given the Italy international’s reputation, it would be wise for Tuchel to not play him in this meaningless match.
With that in mind, I believe Sarabia (or perhaps Leandro Paredes) could start in place of Verratti and I would like to see Aouchiche next to him. According to RMC Sport journalist Loïc Tanzi, Aouchiche, along with Tanguy Kouassi, will be held out of PSG’s youth team tomorrow and presumably, available to Tuchel against Galatasaray.
Adil Aouchiche et Tanguy Kouassi ne sont pas retenus en Youth League demain. Ils devraient, logiquement, être avec les professionnels dans le groupe que communiquera Thomas Tuchel demain matin #PSGGAL
— Loïc Tanzi (@Tanziloic) December 10, 2019
Aouchiche has been on fire in every international tournament he’s played in this year and I could see Tuchel wanting to give him some minutes as they try to convince him to stay in Paris instead of leaving like so many other Parisian projects before him.
The rest of the squad should be about what you would expect. I love the front three of Mauro Icardi, Mbappé, and Neymar, but if they don’t click, expect to see Tuchel make a move to Angel Di Maria on the wing but the Argentine will have to be careful as he’s risking a suspension with a yellow card as well.
At his pre-match press conference, Tuchel also mentioned that Edinson Cavani could get some minutes against Galatasaray so look for El Matador to make a cameo in the second half.
Marquinhos returns to the starting lineup after the birth of his daughter and will play in the defensive midfield.
With Presnel Kimpembe’s injury, expect to see Abdou Diallo in the center-back position alongside Thiago Silva. The full-backs will be Juan Bernat and Colin Dagba. Thomas Meunier could play right-back but Dagba needs to play more as he’s thought to be PSG’s future at right-back and Meunier is also risking suspension with one more yellow card.
As always Keylor Navas will be in goal as he attempts to wrap up the group stage with a clean sheet, which would mean the Costa Rican would have only allowed two goals in six matches in the Champions League. Impressive.
What does your starting lineup look like? Find me on Twitter @PSGTalk and let me know.
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