Paris Saint-Germain VS Lille, a home win

Posted Sat, 03 Apr 2021 00:31:09 GMT        

Match Time:4/3/2021 23:00 Saturday  (GMT+8)

France Ligue 1 --  Paris Saint Germain (PSG)   VS   Lille

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Match preview

At just 22 years and 91 days of age, Kylian Mbappe did not let the growing speculation over his future impact his performance against Lyon, as the PSG forward netted a brace to chalk up a century of top-flight goals in a 4-2 victory for Mauricio Pochettino's team before the international break.

 

Unsurprisingly, Mbappe became the youngest player to hit 100 Ligue 1 goals with his two strikes against Lyon - which also took him up to 20 for the current top-flight season - while Angel Di Maria and Danilo Pereira also got in on the act before Les Gones threatened a late comeback through Islam Slimani and Maxwell Cornet.

 

However, the attacking prowess of the reigning champions came to the fore early on as PSG recovered from their shock defeat to Nantes on March 14, and with Lille suffering a humiliating defeat to Nimes last time out, PSG's crushing win over Lyon saw them reclaim their rightful place at the top of the Ligue 1 standings.

 

Pochettino's team have hardly enjoyed a plain-sailing run to first place, but now that they have finally climbed back on top of their perch, the champions must strive for perfection over the coming weeks as they bid to stay there when the season reaches its conclusion.

 

Of course, there is the small matter of a Champions League battle with Bayern Munich to look forward to - a repeat of the 2019-20 final - but for now, PSG must simply hope to avoid losing three home league matches on the trot for the first time since October 2007, as a win in this battle would see them open up a potentially pivotal three-point gap at the top of the table.

 

Ending the month of March in the worst way possible, Lille were expected to cruise past relegation-threatened Nimes and cement their position at the top of the standings, but it was Les Dogues who were ultimately humbled in a 2-1 loss to the Pascal Plancque-inspired Crocodiles on March 21.

 

Plancque's side had taken an early lead through Moussa Kone before Xeka's header levelled proceedings on the 20-minute mark, but Nimes stalwart Renaud Ripart popped up with his eighth goal of the season on the stroke of half time to condemn Lille to just their third league defeat of the season.

 

The only teams in Europe's top five leagues to have suffered fewer league losses this season are Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid (two each), but that rare defeat for Lille had serious consequences as they relinquished their place at the top to PSG, who are ahead thanks to their superior goal difference before the Dogues come to town.

 

Christophe Galtier's side have already been sent packing in the Europa League and Coupe de France, so unlike PSG, they can focus all their energy into maintaining a Ligue 1 title charge in the coming weeks, but only three wins from their last 10 across all competitions is not exactly a confidence-boosting tally.

 

However, Lille are enjoying a nine-game unbeaten run away from home and have won seven of their last eight league matches on the road, so a capital shock is not beyond the realm of possibility, so long as they can consign their recent 3-0 Coupe de France defeat to PSG to history.

 

Galtier's side managed to hold the champions to a goalless stalemate at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy just before Christmas, but Lille have not managed to prevail on PSG's turf in the league since 1996 - losing 13 and drawing eight away to the capital outfit since then.

 

Paris Saint-Germain Ligue 1 form:

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Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions):

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Lille Ligue 1 form:

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Lille form (all competitions):

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Team News

Neymar made his long-awaited return from injury against Lyon and will hope to return to the starting lineup for this battle, but his fellow attackers Pablo Sarabia and Mauro Icardi are expected to miss out once more.

 

Pochettino's number 10 Marco Verratti has picked up a recent thigh problem and will likely be saved for the first leg of their quarter-final with Bayern on Wednesday, so Rafinha and Julian Draxler should battle it out for the opportunity to start.

 

Danilo Pereira's time with Portugal was hampered by a calf problem and he might make way for Leandro Paredes here, but Thilo Kehrer is thought to be making good progress in his recovery from a groin problem and could be available on Saturday.

 

Lille attacker Jonathan Ikone missed out the loss to Nimes due to an ankle problem, but he turned out for the France Under-21s team during the international break and should earn a recall to the first XI this week.

 

Jeremy Pied is also expected to miss out with an injury in the same area, but Zeki Celik was never in any danger of losing his place, while Reinildo should get the nod over Domagoj Bradaric despite his crucial goal for Croatia Under-21s against England on Wednesday.

 

Renato Sanches will hope to displace Xeka in midfield despite his inconsequential goal against Nimes, while Yusuf Yazici may have to make do with a spot on the bench if Burak Yilmaz and Jonathan David pair up in the final third again.

 

Paris Saint-Germain possible starting lineup:

Navas; Florenzi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Diallo; Gueye, Paredes; Di Maria, Rafinha, Neymar; Mbappe

 

Lille possible starting lineup:

Maignan; Celik, Fonte, Botman, Reinildo; Ikone, Andre, Sanches, Bamba; David, Yilmaz

 

We say: Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Lille

With Lyon and Monaco still very much in with a chance of Ligue 1 glory, the result of this tie will not determine the destination of the crown, but the victor - if there is one - will open up a crucial gap at the top with three points at the Parc des Princes. There could hardly be a better way to welcome Ligue 1 back to our TV screens than with this top-of-the-table battle, and even though Lille's away form has been sensational, Mbappe's PSG were simply too strong for Lyon and we cannot see any other result than another win for the reigning champions.

 

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Nowgoal3.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. 

 

Prediction: Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Lille

O/U Picks: Under 3.5

Paris Saint-Germain VS Lille, a home win