Paris Saint Germain began their title defence in Ligue 1 by smashing five goals past Clermont Foot without conceding any on the opening day of the season. They will now play their first home match at the Parc des Princes in the league this season against Montpellier HSC. The visitors were also involved in a five-goal thriller last weekend. However, they just managed to scrape through a win by the slimmest of margins with the scoreline ending at 3-2 against Troyes on their own soil.
Christophe Galtier couldn’t have asked for a better start to life as Paris Saint Germain manager. His side have scored nine goals so far in official competitions without conceding any and already have a trophy in the cabinet after demolishing Nantes in the Trophee des Champions. However, it goes without saying that the former Lille manager still has a long way to go in order to appease a more than trigger-happy PSG board.
Domestic success will be the bare minimum when it comes to expectations surrounding the Parisian outfit. They did get their campaign off the mark with a bang as an opening day trip to Clermont last weekend saw Neymar, Marquinhos, and Achraf Hakimi get on the scoresheet. Lionel Messi, who had turned provider in the first half, then netted a brace in the final 10 minutes of the match, which included an audacious overhead kick that drove home PSG’s overwhelming superiority with a 5-0 scoreline.
After just one match, PSG are already sitting on top of the league standings and it may be extremely hard to dislodge them from pole position. Galtier’s side will have no intentions of loosening their grip and are looking for yet another successful defence of their league title. They are now unbeaten in the last 10 matches in the top flight and there’s a strong chance that the record will stretch to 11 after Saturday night’s clast against Montpellier.
The French champions are still making moves in the transfer market and are already preparing for more arrivals. Fabian Ruiz has become the latest midfield target for PSG and they are still involved in negotiations with Napoli. Galtier also admitted in his pre-match press conference that the Parisians are also looking for another striker to take some pressure off Kylian Mbappe’s shoulders.
His words provided light to the recent rumours linking Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford to Paris Saint Germain. While Rashford would be happy to swap Old Trafford for Parc des Princes, United are desperate to keep him.
Paris Saint Germain had also gone unbeaten at the Parc des Prince for the entirety of Ligue 1 last season. They will now be looking to extend that dominance on home soil to a whopping 23 matches. Messi and Neymar, who have been excluded from the top 30 nominations list for the Ballon d’Or this year, will need little in the way of motivation and added fire against an unsuspecting and leaky Montpellier defence in the country capital.
It wasn’t surprising to see a fest of goals in a match where Montpellier manager Olivier Dall’Oglio was wandering up and down the touchline in excitement and agony. The crowd at the Stade de la Mosson couldn’t have imagined a more blockbuster start to the league campaign given what occurred last weekend in Montpellier’s premier clash with Troyes on home soil.
With just 17 minutes on the clock, Teji Savanier, Theo Sainte-Luce, Florian Tardieu and Mama Balde had all gotten their names on the scoresheet with the scoreline being locked at 2-2 between the two sides. However, it took a moment of absolute magic from Savanier to unlock the impasse and give Montpellier all three points from the opening fixture.
The Pallilade captain grabbed his second goal of the night with a neat cushioned finish from the edge of the penalty box in the 81st minute of the match. His goal, which ultimately sealed the win for Montpellier, helped the side break their drastic and miserable 11-match winless run in Ligue 1 which has been going on since they defeated Bordeaux, who eventually got relegated following the season, in March earlier this year.
Following what represents the most difficult fixture on the Ligue 1 calendar, La Paillade will face Auxerre, Brest, and Ajaccio next. Olivier Dall’Oglio have lost all of their last five matches at the Parc des Princes and PSG will be looking to inflict a sixth straight defeat. During that period, Montpellier have conceded at least two goals in each of their last five assignments in Paris.
In the last meeting between the two sides at the Parc des Princes, PSG eased their way to a solid 2-0 victory before putting four goals past them without reply at the Stade de la Mosson back in May and towards the concluding stages of the league last season. It represented the defending champions’ seventh consecutive win in the history of this fixture across all competitions and there are no doubts that they will start as the favourites on Saturday night.
PSG vs MTP, Ligue 1 2022/23
Date: 14th August, 2022
Time: 12:30 AM IST
Venue: Parc des Princes, Paris
Paris Saint Germain Ligue 1 form:
Montpellier Ligue 1 form:
Paris Saint Germain wins: 18
Paris Saint Germain Team News:
Paris Saint Germain continue to miss the services of Julian Draxler. The German forward is still injured and is continuing to recover from a knee issue. However, Galtier doesn’t have any fresh injury concerns following the opening weekend’s dominant win over Clermont.
Kylian Mbappe had to miss that encounter due to an adductor injury and the 23-year-old was also forced to celebrate the Trophee des Champions win over Nantes from the sidelines as he was unavailable due to suspension. However, Mbappe is all set to make his first appearance of the season which is only going to take PSG’s already free-scoring forward line to a greater height.
New signings Nordi Mukiele, Renato Sanches, and Hugo Ekitike are all pushing hard to make their first Ligue 1 appearance for Paris Saint Germain this weekend. However, Portuguese midfielder Sanches is said to be nursing a minor knock which casts doubt over his participation this weekend. PSG will be hoping it isn’t enough to put him out of action for long as has actually been the case with the young midfielder.
Montpellier Team News:
As far as Montpellier are concerned, they will have midfielder Jordan Ferri back in action after he missed the previous match due to a suspension. Teji Savanier and Joris Chotard will also be expected to hold on to their places in the middle and lead the frontline.
Dall’Oglio had to witness the painful sight of one of their key attackers Stephy Mavididi walking off the pitch with a thigh injury just 30 minutes into their new league season. The injury is severe and could render him unavailable for selection for several weeks going forward.
On the brighter side of things, Arnaud Nordin is said to have completely recovered from the groin pain that saw him miss the previous fixture. He will be expected to deputize for the Englishman on the left-hand side of Montpellier’s system.
Meanwhile, Sacha Delaye has been ruled out of the game while central defender Pedro Mendes’ availability also remains a doubt as he continues to suffer from a muscular problem. It will be interesting to see whether Mendes does end up getting the medical green light to participate here.
Paris Saint Germain possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Marquinhos, Ramos, Kimpembe, Hakimi, Verratti, Vitinha, Mendes; Messi, Mbappe, Neymar
Montpellier possible starting lineup:
Omlin; Souquet, Esteve, Sakho, Sainte-Luce; Savanier, Chotard; Maouassa, Khazri, Nordin; Wahi
If their leaky defence and mismatched squad quality weren’t enough, Montpellier are also missing a top talent in their forward line in Mavididi before their trip to face the defending champions. PSG have gone 16 months without suffering a defeat at the Parc des Princes in Ligue 1 and the record looks like it’s set to stay that way.
While Savanier and Elye Wahi will try to force problems and be a threat to the PSG defence, the Parisians have more than enough resources all over the park to not only snuff out possible danger but also score goals aplenty. With Mbappe returning to the fold, expect plenty of hammering in this encounter.