Paris Saint-Germain will be looking to get off the mark in the 2023/24 Ligue 1 season when they take on Toulouse on Saturday night.
Carles Martinez had a dream debut as the new first-team coach as Le Tefece fought back from a half-time deficit to waltz away 2-1 winners at Nantes on the opening weekend.
Toulouse’s unanswered double past the hour mark made it six away league games without losing for the Coupe de France holders (W4, D2), handing them a morale boost ahead of this mouth-watering contest.
PSG’s visit to the Stadium Municipal could stir unpleasant memories in the home camp as they finished on the receiving end of a 3-0 scoreline in this corresponding fixture in 2022/23.
However, on the evidence of an underwhelming 0-0 home draw against below-par Lorient last weekend, this new-look PSG side may struggle to replicate last year’s success.
Neymar, who opened the scoring on PSG’s last visit to Toulouse, is now part of Les Parisiens’ history after completing his mega-money switch to Saudi Pro League club Al-Hilal.
Lionel Messi is another high-profile departure, but Luis Enrique’s men have kept hold of quick-silver forward Kylian Mbappe, which could be a season-defining feat for the record-time French champions.
With the arrivals of Goncalo Ramos, Marco Asensio and Ousmane Dembele, PSG should effortlessly maintain their domestic supremacy as predicted in our 2023/24 Ligue 1 season preview.
Despite their admirable away run of form, Toulouse’s home performances towards the end of 2022/23 cast doubt on their bid to upset the apple cart this weekend.
Martinez’s side went winless in their final seven home outings last season (D2, L5), failing to get on the scoresheet on four occasions.
With PSG coming to town, Toulouse’s wait for a first top-flight victory at the Stadium Municipal since a 3-1 demolition of Rennes in early February could linger on for another week.
It has been seven years since Le Tefece last had a sweet taste of victory against the capital-based powerhouse, having since lost seven of their eight league duels against the perennial champions (D1).
Mbappe’s return to the fold after missing out on the opening-day draw against Lorient will boost PSG’s effort to avoid a fourth consecutive league match without winning, a feat they last endured in 2017/18.
Following an underwhelming start to his regime in Paris, Enrique leaves the capital for the first time, safe in the knowledge his star-studded squad finished last season on an impressive seven-game unbeaten away run.
Six wins and a draw during that sequence explains PSG’s status as odds-on pre-match favourites, and extending that run with another triumph could see the visitors pack a punch.
Their last nine Ligue 1 victories on hostile turf have seen Mbappe and his teammates score multiple goals, which contradicts their recent scoring exploits at the Municipal Stadium.
Les Parisiens have netted precisely once on four of their last six top-flight trips to Toulouse.
Even without last season’s headline midfielder Branco van den Boomen, Toulouse can still count on free-scoring forward Thijs Dallinga to carry them forward.
Martinez will need the Dutch striker at his best in the absence of several first-team stars, including Ibrahim Cissoko and Junior Flemmings.
Mbappe’s reintegration into the squad is not the only encouragement for Enrique, with Dembele in contention for his first Ligue 1 appearance since 2016.
The visitors will be without Sergio Rico, Presnel Kimpembe, Juan Bernat and Nuno Mendes.
Toulouse potential starting line-up:
(4-3-3): Guillaume Restes; Mikkel Desler, Logan Costa, Rasmus Nicolaisen, Moussa Diarra; Vincent Sierro, Cristian Casseres, Denis Genreau; Zakaria Aboukhlal, Gabriel Suazo, Thijs Dallinga.
Paris Saint-Germain potential starting line-up:
(4-3-3): Gianluigi Donnarumma; Achraf Hakimi, Marquinhos, Milan Skriniar, Lucas Hernandez; Warren Zaire-Emery, Manuel Ugarte, Vitinha; Kylian Mbappe, Goncalo Romas, Ousmane Dembele.
We Say: Toulouse 1-2 Paris Saint-Germain
After an uneventful start to their title defence, we expect PSG to get back on track.
With Mbappe back and Dembele set for his Ligue 1 return, Enrique’s men could be too hot to handle for Toulouse’s error-prone backline.
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