Champions of France once again, Paris Saint Germain will be continuing this stroll to the finish line in Ligue 1 when they visit Montpellier on Saturday in what will be their penultimate match of the season.
On Montpellier’s match on the road against Clermont Foot, the traveling supporters were witness to Joris Chotard’s wonder strike which may prove to be the best goal in the career of the 20-year-old. However, his ecstatic flick-up and volleyed effort ended up being in vain as Montpellier fell to yet another loss, this time a 2-1 defeat against Clermont Foot at the Stade Gabriel-Montpied.
Before Chotard found the back of the net with a goal for the ages, Elbasan Rashani had put Clermont Foot ahead in the contest with a simple tap in goal five minutes into the contest. Although Rashani was forced off the pitch with a shoulder injury a few minutes later, the responsibility of scoring then fell on the shoulders of Mohamed Bayo. Bayo capitalized on the opportunity which presented itself from the 12-yard spot in the second half. He converted the penalty with ease with 69 minutes on the clock and it secured the three points for the hosts.
Montpellier are now winless in seven Ligue 1 matches and have lost as many as five during that period. Olivier Dall’Oglio’s side are now trying to claw their way to the finish line after a disappointing run of results that has seen them drop to the 13th place in the table. They have won 12 of their 36 matches so far and have suffered defeats in 17 of those games. With 43 points, they will finish in the bottom half of the table no matter what happens over the next couple of fixtures.
There has been a silver lining to the poor run of form that has resulted in them going winless over the past few matches. They have at least been prolific upfront and have shown signs of Dall’Oglio’s intent to attack. Montpellier have found the back of the net on five occasions in the last three games. However, it is at the back where they have been extremely vulnerable, conceding a dismal 15 goals over the last few matches. The Stade de la Mosson, which once used to be a defensive stronghold, has also fallen as their form at home has also been affected by poor displays at the back.
La Paillade have now gone six games without a single win in front of their own supporters on their home turf. They last defeated Monaco at home in January but since then, have only managed three draws and a loss. While the home crowd will have realistic expectations going into the tie given Montpellier’s form as well as their opponents, they will only have pride to fight for while facing Paris Saint Germain.
With the Ligue 1 title secured, PSG have definitely taken off their foot from the accelerator and Mauricio Pochettino continues to have dark clouds of uncertainty floating over his head. He is doing himself no favour with the prospect of continuing as Paris Saint Germain coach beyond this season.
The shocking and disappointing exit from the Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid may not have done enough to convince chairman Nasser Al Khelaifi to get rid of the Argentine manager, but ending the season in the manner that they are doing despite winning Ligue 1 might just seal the writing on the wall and confirm his sacking.
Pochettino witnessed his side suffer yet another collapse from the sidelines as PSG blew away a two-goal lead to end up drawing the match with Troyes at the Parc des Princes. Marquinhos scored a top in to secure PSG’s ascendancy in the contest before Neymar stepped up to take the spot-kick from 12 yards and seemed to have put the game to bed. However, a defensive mistake allowed Troyes’ Ike Ugbo to pull one back before Florian Tardieu scored a cheeky Panenka penalty to wrestle control of the match back.
Presnel Kimpembe was guilty of being reckless once again when he needlessly brought down Renaud Ripart in the box to concede a stupid penalty. The Parisian outfit has now drawn the last three matches in a row in the French domestic league and there’s also the chance that their double-digit lead at the top of the table will disappear soon.
At least the point against Troyes helped PSG break the 80-point barrier in the league. Following the trip to Montpellier, they will take on Metz. However, their recent record of only three wins in 10 clashes away from home hardly suits their status as league champions. They have only managed to keep just a single clean sheet in their last 12 matches on the road in Ligue 1 which signifies the issues they’ve had at the back.
However, on a more positive note, PSG did secure a 2-0 win over Montpellier the last time these two sides met each other at the Parc des Princes earlier this season. They have been victorious in all of their last five matches against Montpellier in all competitions. They have also found the back of the net at least twice against Montpellier in Ligue 1 since 2017 and the likes of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar might be biting their lips after hearing that.
MTP vs PSG, Ligue 1 2021/22
Date: 15th May, 2022
Time: 12:30 AM IST
Venue: Mosson Stadium, Montpellier
Montpellier Ligue 1 form:
Montpellier form (all competitions):
Paris Saint Germain Ligue 1 form:
Paris Saint Germain form (all competitions):
Montpellier wins: 8
Paris Saint Germain wins: 17
Montpellier Team News: Montpellier’s left back Ambroise Oyongo will be back in contention after he served a one-match suspension in the previous fixture against Clermont Foot. This might see Mihailo Ristic get relegated to the bench instead of in their match against the league champions.
The injury of midfield maestro Teji Savanier continues to remain a bitter pill to swallow for Dall’Oglio and his team. First-choice goalkeeper Jonas Omlin has also been sidelined and finds company in the medical room from Elye Wahi and Remy Cabella.
The return of Jordan Ferri to group training brings positive news for Montpellier ahead of this mega clash. Meanwhile, Pedro Mendes will be in contention if Mamadou Sakho’s lower back pain renders him unavailable to face his former side.
Paris Saint Germain Team News: Meanwhile, Paris Saint Germain will be without usual suspects Presnel Kimpbmbe and Neymar who will have to miss this fixture due to an accumulation of yellow cards.
Leandro Paredes and Julian Draxler have both undergone operations and will play no part in the remainder of the season. Meanwhile, Mauro Icardi could force his way back into the squad if he recovers from the muscular problem that he has been struggling with. However, Mauricio Pochettino is unlikely to take any risks and might persist with the duo of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe with Angel Di Maria aiding and assisting them from the flank.
Di Maria’s departure this summer has been taken for granted and so has goalkeeper Keylor Navas. PSG maintain that Gianluigi Donnarumma will be their number 1 in goal and all offers will be heard for all the other goalkeepers in the squad.
Colin Dagba and Abdou Diallo are also struggling with muscular injuries. However, the return of Sergio Ramos at the back is likely to strengthen the rear guard while Idrissa Gueye may find himself a start in midfield.
Montpellier possible starting lineup:
Bertaud; Cozza, Esteve, Mendes; Souquet, Chotard, Ferri, Oyongo; Mollet; Mavididi, Germain
Paris Saint Germain possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Ramos, Mendes; Pereira, Gueye, Verratti; Di Maria, Messi, Mbappe
Conceding two goals to allow newly promoted Troyes to crawl their way back into the game summed up the Ligue 1 champion’s season. While they have had their high moments, it has largely been yet another season of disappointment and near misses.
With that being said, PSG will fancy themselves against Montpellier who have been poor recently. While their backline doesn’t inspire much confidence, Montpellier might fancy themselves on the strength of their frontline. PSG have enough resources to secure all three points from here.