The Paris Saint-Germain squad we saw last March 11, against Borussia Dortmund will have noticeable differences to the team we see later this summer when the UEFA Champions League resumes.
The biggest absences from the squad that we know of right now will be Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier. Both players will let their contracts expire on June 30, and they’ve chosen to not sign a temporary extension that would allow them to finish out the 2019-20 season.
It’s a slightly different story for Layvin Kurzawa. It was long thought that he would not receive an extension but now, there are credible reports that he has been offered a new long-term deal from Leonardo, PSG’s sporting director.
Sergio Rico doesn’t play often as the backup goalkeeper but his loan from Sevilla FC could be extended so that he can be available in the event that Keylor Navas goes down with an injury.
Mauro Icardi was also on a season-long loan but PSG locked him down to a four-year contract earlier this month.
The rest of the squad remains intact and now that we know who will be staying and who will be going, we can get a better idea of what manager Thomas Tuchel will be working with.
We don’t yet know who PSG will play in the quarter-finals of the Champions League but regardless, here is the lineup that I think gives PSG the best opportunity to win and advance.
Goalkeeper: Keylor Navas
Defenders: Juan Bernat, Presnel Kimpembe, Marquinhos, Thilo Kehrer
Midfielders: Marco Verratti, Idrissa Gueye
Forwards: Neymar Jr., Mauro Icardi, Kylian Mbappé, Pablo Sarabia
This lineup is very similar to what we saw against Borussia Dortmund last March but with a few changes.
Leading the attack will be Icardi and Kylian Mbappé. On the wings, Neymar will obviously start and Pablo Sarabia will get the nod over Angel Di Maria only because the Argentina international is suspended due to yellow card accumulation (thanks to our commenter for pointing that out).
In the midfield, Marco Verratti returns to replace Leandro Paredes and he will line up next to Idrissa Gueye. The back four and goalkeeper should be exactly the same as it was against Dortmund.
I would leave Thiago Silva on the bench because of how Presnel Kimpembe and Marquinhos were able to silence Erling Haaland. Joining him should be Choupo-Moting, Kurzawa, Rico, Julian Draxler, Leandro Paredes, Ander Herrera, and Colin Dagba.
The starting lineup is very attack-minded and with the single-elimination format of the Champions League, I think it would be wise for PSG to go on the offensive from the opening whistle and use their world-class players to blitz their opponent and put them a couple of goals down early.
Of course, this is all based on the assumption that there will be no injuries to the team, which may be a bit optimistic. The long layoff due to the coronavirus will almost certainly lead to muscle injuries and considering all of the absences, that could be PSG’s downfall this season as they look to win their first Champions League title.
Let me know in the comments or on Twitter what your ideal Champions League starting lineup is.
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