A lot of attention has been placed on Paris Saint-Germain’s upcoming UEFA Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund but it’s important to remember that the club has another important cup match on Wednesday: a Coupe de France semi-final clash against Olympique Lyonnais.
Manager Thomas Tuchel will lead his squad into the Groupama Stadium with a chance to take PSG to its sixth-consecutive French Cup final.
Reaching the final won’t be easy for Les Parisiens. Lyon are on an impressive run of form that includes a derby win over AS Saint-Étienne, a Champions League win over Juventus FC, and a win over Ligue 1’s second-place team, Olympique de Marseille.
Making the task more difficult is the fact that Tuchel will be without Ander Herrera, Thiago Silva, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, and Colin Dagba due to injury. Presnel Kimpembe is out due to suspension.
Angel Di Maria trained on Tuesday but after coming off after 17 minutes last Saturday against Dijon FCO with an apparent thigh injury, he may not be ready to play a full 90 minutes against Lyon just four days later.
One player that we know will feature is Neymar Jr. who is coming back from a one-game suspension after receiving two yellow cards against Girondins de Bordeaux.
At his pre-match press conference, Tuchel made it clear that he intends to play his superstar so that he is as in-form as possible for the return fixture against Dortmund.
“He [Neymar] will play. It is very important for him to play and to have rhythm. In order to have him in this very decisive phase, I am very happy that we will have him with us tomorrow against Lyon. I think he is ready. He is confident.”
You’ll remember that Neymar wasn’t happy about being held back from playing leading up to the first match against injury and claimed it had an impact on his performance in PSG’s 2-1 loss in Germany back on February 18.
Considering the absences, the return of Neymar, and the importance of the match, here is who I think Tuchel should start against Lyon:
Goalkeeper: Keylor Navas
Defenders: Juan Bernat, Abdou Diallo, Tanguy Kouassi, Thilo Kehrer
Midfielders: Marquinhos, Idrissa Gueye
Forwards: Kylian Mbappé, Mauro Icardi, Neymar Jr., Pablo Sarabia
Keylor Navas shouldn’t be a surprise in goal and neither should the defense in front of him. Thomas Meunier and Layvin Kurzawa will be on the bench but since Juan Bernat and Thilo Kehrer will be the starting full-backs against Dortmund, it’s important that play as much as possible to find their form.
In the midfield, Marquinhos and Idrissa Gueye will start and again, this will likely be the partnership Tuchel goes with against Dortmund.
With Di Maria’s status less than 100 percent, Pablo Sarabia will get the start and will look to continue his impressive 2020. I’ve mentioned Neymar already and he will start on the opposite wing of Sarabia.
Leading the attack will be Kylian Mbappé and hopefully, Mauro Icardi. It’s time for Tuchel to stop with the games and leave Edinson Cavani on the bench. He’s wasted far too many chances in the 4-0 win over Dijon whereas Icardi came on late in the match and scored after five minutes.
I’m predicting a 2-1 PSG victory with a late match-winner from Mbappé.
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