Metz VS PSG - Match Preview

Posted Sat, 24 Apr 2021 09:57:40 GMT        

Match Time:4/24/2021 23:00 Saturday  (GMT+8)

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

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Paris Saint-Germain will endeavour to leapfrog Lille at the top of the Ligue 1 rankings when they travel to the Stade Saint-Symphorien to take on a misfiring Metz outfit on Saturday afternoon.

 

Les Grenats played out a goalless draw with Reims in their most recent fixture, while PSG boosted their title chances with a dramatic 3-2 win over Saint-Etienne.

 

Match preview

With Metz's European hopes getting slimmer and slimmer by the week, Frederic Antonetti's men realistically have nothing but pride to play for in their remaining few matches after a run of underwhelming results.

 

The 59-year-old has overseen plenty of positive results since being welcomed back to the Grenats dugout with open arms, but he has now witnessed his side fail to win any of their last six league games, and neither Metz nor Reims could find a way through in last week's stalemate at the Stade Auguste-Delaune.

 

Metz are mathematically still capable of pushing for fifth spot, but the ninth-placed Grenats are 10 points adrift of Lens in the final European spot and cannot rise any higher up the standings with a win here, so Antonetti would be satisfied with a top-half finish at this stage of the season.

 

Antonetti's goal-shy attackers have now failed to find the back of the net in their last three league matches, and rather embarrassingly, Ibrahima Niane - who has been out since October with an ACL rupture - remains their top scorer with six Ligue 1 goals this season.

 

However, Antonetti has confirmed that Niane is close to making a long-awaited return and should be able to help Metz in the next few weeks, so the Grenats faithful will be praying that the 22-year-old has not lost his magic touch after six months on the sidelines.

 

Metz have lost their last four home games in the league, though, and if there is one team who will know how to prolong their misery, it is Paris Saint-Germain. Mauricio Pochettino's side temporarily took a break from league action in midweek to hammer Angers 5-0 in the Coupe de France, but their quest for Ligue 1 glory resumes straight away.

 

After a goalless and somewhat uneventful 77 minutes against Saint-Etienne in last Sunday's battle, Denis Bouanga opened the scoring before Kylian Mbappe's brace put PSG in control in the 87th minute, and Romain Hamouma's late equaliser ultimately counted for nothing as Mauro Icardi headed in a late winner during a dramatic 3-2 success.

 

Icardi scored three of PSG's five goals against Angers in the cup and laid down a marker for the rest of the season, and with his side winning three of their last four in the league, PSG are only one point behind leaders Lille and will temporarily go top before Les Dogues and Lyon lock horns in a top-of-the-table clash on Sunday night.

 

Something has to give in that battle between first and fourth, and Pochettino will be aware that PSG have a magnificent opportunity to steal a march on their rivals this weekend, so nothing less than a sixth away league win in a row - and a 10th in all competitions - will do for the reigning champions at the Stade Saint-Symphorien.

 

It took a late Julian Draxler goal for PSG to claim all three points in a 1-0 win over Metz back in September, but that triumph marked a ninth league victory in a row for Les Parisiens over their upcoming opponents, who last beat the champions in 2006.

 

Metz Ligue 1 form: LDLLLD

Metz form (all competitions): DLLLLD

 

Paris Saint-Germain Ligue 1 form: WLWLWW

Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions): LWWLWW

 

Team News

Metz manager Antonetti has confirmed that Niane will soon be able to return to the pitch, but the striker will be slowly integrated back into the team and would likely be restricted to a spot on the bench if he is selected for the visit of PSG.

 

Kevin N'Doram and Opa Nguette have been keeping Niane company in the treatment room for most of the season, but the duo are also expected to play a part before the season is over in a huge boost for the hosts, although it is too late for Vincent Pajot or Warren Tchimbembe to make miraculous recoveries.

 

Habib Maiga is expected to shake off fitness concerns in time to feature, and Antonetti is likely to shuffle the pack in attack as he aims to end his side's luckless streak in front of goal, so Papa Ndiaga Yade and Lamine Gueye could both be rotated into the team.

 

Pochettino is dealing with far more absentees than he would have hoped to at this stage of the season, as the quintet of Rafinha, Marco Verratti, Abdou Diallo, Marquinhos and Keylor Navas all missed the Coupe de France win over Angers.

 

All five are due to return to training at the end of this week, but this game will likely come too soon for the injured group as Pochettino hopes to recover them for the Champions League, while Juan Bernat is still out for the long-term.

 

Mbappe was given a complete rest in midweek but will certainly feature here - even with Manchester City in mind - and Icardi should not be dropped after hitting a rich vein of form, so Draxler will likely make way.

 

Metz possible starting lineup:

Oukidja; Bronn, Boye, Kouyate; Centonze, Maiga, Sarr, Delaine; Boulaya; Gueye, Yade

 

Paris Saint-Germain possible starting lineup:

Rico; Florenzi, Pereira, Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Gueye, Paredes; Di Maria, Neymar, Mbappe; Icardi

 

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