For the second time in only three days, Paris Saint-Germain will face off against AS Monaco.
Last Sunday, the two clubs battled to a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Parc des Princes but on Wednesday night, the reigning French champions travel to the Principality for a make-up match after last December’s meeting was canceled due to extreme weather.
Making the trip will be a makeshift squad of sorts. Several defenders, including Marquinhos (adductors), Juan Bernat (right calf), and Thomas Meunier (lower back pain) are out. Edinson Cavani is absent due to a groin injury, (although it could be because El Matador is pushing for a January transfer), and Leandro Paredes is out as well with an ankle issue.
OFFICIAL: PSG's travelling party for Monaco away in Ligue 1 (rearranged) tomorrow. Edinson Cavani (groin) & Leandro Paredes (ankle) have both been ruled OUT on top of Marquinhos, Juan Bernat & Thomas Meunier. #ASMPSG https://t.co/As8YjyCevr
— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) January 14, 2020
Here is the full list of players that will be available for manager Thomas Tuchel to choose from:
The 20 players set to face Monaco ✈️ #ASMPSG
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) January 15, 2020
Given those players, here is who I would start against Monaco at the Stade Louis II:
Goalkeeper: Keylor Navas
Defenders: Layvin Kurzawa, Presnel Kimpembe, Thiago Silva, Colin Dagba
Midfielders: Marco Verratti, Ander Herrera
Forwards: Angel Di Maria, Mauro Icardi, Kylian Mbappé, Neymar Jr.
This is a highly anticipated match due to the way Monaco exposed PSG’s 4-4-2 formation and its defensive frailties. In the return meeting, I expect Tuchel to once again go with the Fantastic Four in the attack but tweak the midfield duo.
In the middle of the park, I would like to see how a combination of Marco Verratti and Ander Herrera performs. I still rate Idrissa Gueye but he hasn’t been playing at a high enough level for weeks now and it might be time to test other players in that position.
On defense, Layvin Kurzawa will go up against his old club with Colin Dagba as the other full-back. That will give PSG plenty of speed going forward but I am worried about their ability to stop Monaco’s talented attacking players.
At center-back, Presnel Kimpembe should return and line up alongside Thiago Silva. The Frenchman has been out since last December with a muscle injury and if he is to play a major role for PSG in the UEFA Champions League, he needs to prove his fitness and put in a solid performance.
How PSG performs in this match could tell us a lot about whether the 4-4-2 formation is a viable option against top-tier teams in the Champions League.
It could also signal a need for Tuchel to start rotating his squad with a gauntlet of away matches leading up to the meeting with Borussia Dortmund on February 18.
After the away match against Monaco, PSG travels to Lorient FC, Stade de Reims, Lille OSC, FC Nantes, and Amiens SC before finally traveling to Germany for that highly anticipated Champions League match.
“The players are dead! They don’t sleep,” Tuchel said to Le Parisien when asked about the fixtures and kick-off times (9 PM for several matches).
While I appreciate Tuchel sticking up for his players, I’m not interested in excuses at this point in the season. If I can borrow a slogan from the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, “Nobody Cares, Work Harder.”
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