Saturday night brings up a Ligue 1 blockbuster as reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain take on last season’s runners-up Lens at the Parc des Princes.
One point made all the difference as a star-studded PSG side pipped Les Sang et Or to a record-breaking 11th title in the French top flight last term, making history under previous manager Christophe Galtier.
Following Galtier’s exit from the club, Luis Enrique inherited his role but also all the problems associated with the job.
In the club’s first league outing without the formidable attacking trio, below-par Lorient scooped up a point in an otherwise uneventful 0-0 draw in Paris on matchday one.
Mbappe’s return to the fold for the day-two trip to Toulouse rekindled the enthusiasm in the PSG camp, yet the Frenchman’s second-half penalty only proved sufficient for a gut-wrenching 1-1 draw.
Lens’ visit to the capital offers Enrique another opportunity to post his first Ligue 1 win in charge of Les Parisiens and prove us right for anticipating another cruising domestic run in our 2023/24 Ligue 1 preview.
Despite relinquishing the services of captain Seko Fofana and free-scoring forward Lois Openda in the summer, the visitors are no pushovers, though a slow league start suggests otherwise.
After letting an early 2-0 lead slip through their fingers in a dismal 3-2 defeat at Brest on the opening weekend, Franck Heise’s side drew 1-1 against Rennes last time out despite being 1-0 up at half-time.
Bringing the back end of the 2022/23 campaign into the equation, the hosts have only won two of their last seven league matches at the Parc des Princes (D1, L4).
That’s the least of the defending champions’ problems, considering they’re winless in their last four Ligue 1 matches (D3, L1), ominously netting one goal or fewer on four occasions.
While they must been keen to turn their fortunes around, Lens’ visit could throw a spanner in the works, regardless of PSG’s eye-catching run of three wins in their last four league H2Hs on home turf (D1).
Lens showed how talismanic they could be on a good day in a remarkable 3-1 home win over Les Parisiens last January, suggesting Enrique’s men cannot afford to take this fixture lightly.
A lack of discipline has emerged as Lens’ Achilles heel this term, with three of their four league goals conceded thus far coming from the penalty spot.
But if they can shore up their defensive set-up, a fourth victory in five away league outings (L1) could be on the cards, even though it’d have to come at long odds.
Lens should only be cautiously optimistic about their prospects in Paris, considering you’d need to go back to 2006 for their last Ligue 1 win at the Parc des Princes.
Everything since has been doom and gloom for Les Sang et Or as they’ve gone winless on their last seven league visits to PSG (D3, L4), conceding multiple goals on four occasions.
Sergio Rico, Presnel Kimpembe, Juan Bernat, Nordi Mukiele and Nuno Mendes are still unavailable for selection in the PSG camp.
Jimmy Cabot and Wuilker Farinez won’t be at Haise’s disposal, but marquee signing Elye Wahi is in contention for his Lens debut.
Paris Saint-Germain potential starting line-up:
(4-3-3): Gianluigi Donnarumma; Achraf Hakimi, Marquinhos, Milan Skriniar, Lucas Hernandez; Warren Zaire-Emery, Manuel Ugarte, Fabian Ruiz; Ousmane Dembele, Goncalo Ramos, Kylian Mbappe.
Lens potential starting line-up:
(3-4-2-1): Brice Samba; Jonathan Gradit, Kevin Danso, Facundo Medina; Przemyslaw Frankowski, Salis Abdul Samed, Andy Diouf, Deiver Machado; Adrien Thomasson, Florian Sotoca; Elye Wahi.
We Say: Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 Lens
While it’s hard to imagine PSG starting a new season on a three-game winless run, we can smell blood in the water and so can Lens.
The visitors are more than capable of extracting a point from the Parc des Princes. And we back them to accomplish that mission.
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