After a ridiculous run of five away matches, Paris Saint-Germain finally returns to the Parc des Princes on Saturday to take on Montpellier HSC in Ligue 1 action.
The match will be the first since the close of the January transfer window where other than the loan of Moussa Sissako to Standard Liege, absolutely nothing happened. Edinson Cavani remains a PSG player as does Layvin Kurzawa and no new players arrived.
Despite rampant speculation that Cavani and Kurzawa were on the verge of departing the French capital, both are actually included in the 19-man squad to face Montpellier according to the club’s official website.
Despite the 3-1 scoreline, Montpellier manager Michel Der Zakarian’s side gave PSG a tough battle back on December 7. In fact, Montpellier actually led PSG for much of the game until Neymar Jr., Kylian Mbappé, and Mauro Icardi poured on three late goals to steal the victory at the Stade de la Mosson.
In the return match, here is how I believe manager Thomas Tuchel will set up his team:
Goalkeeper: Keylor Navas
Defenders: Layvin Kurzawa, Presnel Kimpembe, Abdou Diallo, Thomas Meunier
Midfielders: Marco Verratti, Leandro Paredes
Forwards: Angel Di Maria, Mauro Icardi, Kylian Mbappé, Neymar Jr.
With Juan Bernat, Colin Dagba, Thiago Silva, and Marquinhos all out due to injury, Tuchel will have to shuffle his backline a bit. Kurzawa played last Sunday against Pau FC and I expect him to put his transfer saga behind him and play a decent match.
In the midfield, I think Tuchel will go with Marco Verratti and Leandro Paredes. The Argentine captained PSG against Pau and recorded a goal and an assist. He’s in great form and the German tactician should ride the hot hand. Plus, I think Paredes can get under the skin of Montpellier striker Andy Delort, who said in an interview recently that Paredes insults everyone.
Upfront, it doesn’t get any better than the Fantastic Four. Neymar Jr. has been in brilliant form and I expect him to continue to impress against a tough Montpellier side. I would like to see Mauro Icardi have a breakout game on Saturday. The Argentine has yet to score a goal in Ligue 1 in 2020 and with the UEFA Champions League tie against Borussia Dortmund coming up, PSG would really like to see their number one striker consistently scoring goals.
I think at some point in the second half we’ll see Cavani. El Matador hasn’t played meaningful minutes for more than a month, but, he should be able to make a brief appearance. It will be an opportunity for the PSG fans to either show support for the club’s all-time leading scorer or scold him for trying to force a transfer to Atlético Madrid.
My prediction? Another 3-1 win for PSG with goals from Icardi, Mbappé, and Paredes.
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