Preview: Paris Saint-Germain vs. Lens

Preview: Paris Saint-Germain vs. Lens

The champions host the contenders in Saturday evening’s top-of-the-table Ligue 1 showdown, as Paris Saint-Germain welcome Lens to the Parc des Princes.

Les Parisiens hold a six-point lead over Franck Haise’s surprise package in first place, but the walls of their fortress are no longer standing strong.

Only a few days on from getting the better of his former club on the pitch, former Nice and current PSG boss Christophe Galtier has been rocked by a leaked email allegedly showing the Frenchman complaining about the amount of black and Muslim players during his time in charge of Les Aiglons.

Galtier “firmly denies” the accusations against him, but yet another significant off-field distraction is once again threatening to derail PSG’s progress, especially after the Ligue 1 champions pulled themselves out of the rut at the Allianz Riviera.

Goals from Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos either side of the half-time whistle secured PSG a 2-0 triumph over Nice last Saturday, allowing them to maintain their unassailable six-point advantage over Lens with just eight games left to go, but Marseille and Monaco are mathematically not out of the title picture just yet.

Furthermore, the Parc des Princes atmosphere no longer strikes fear into the hearts of PSG’s adversaries, with Galtier’s side losing their last two at home to Lyon and Rennes without scoring a goal – the first time since the 2009-10 campaign that they have suffered back-to-back home defeats while failing to find the back of the net.

PSG lost three on the bounce at home as recently as the 2020-21 campaign – where their streak of supremacy in French football was brought to an end by Galtier’s Lille – and a trailblazing Lens side have similar aspirations in mind.

Pulling the strings against former club Strasbourg, who are mired in relegation danger after a surprise charge for Europe last term, Lens playmaker Adrien Thomasson set up Przemyslaw Frankowski to break the deadlock against Les Coureurs with just 11 minutes gone last weekend.

Argentine defender Facundo Medina added a second before Kevin Gameiro’s 84th-minute consolation gave Strasbourg a glimmer of hope, but it was a fruitless endeavour against Haise’s Lens, who are firmly in contention to cap off their meteoric rise with just a second Ligue 1 crown.

Success over Strasbourg marked Les Sang et Or’s fourth win on the bounce following previous victories over Clermont, Angers and Rennes – having previously only won one in seven during an underwhelming February period – thus keeping them two points clear of Marseille in the runners-up spot.

European football is almost a formality for a side who only returned to the big time in 2020, and Lens travel to the Parc des Princes having only shipped one goal in their last four Ligue 1 contests, as well as losing just two of their 15 Ligue 1 away games this term – albeit while drawing eight of them.

Lens spoiled PSG’s New Year celebrations with a 3-1 triumph at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis earlier this season, and the reigning champions only have one win to their name from five contests with Les Sang et Or – failing to keep a single clean sheet in that time.

Paris Saint-Germain Ligue 1 form:

Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions):

Lens Ligue 1 form:

Lens form (all competitions):

We say: Paris Saint-Germain 2-2 Lens
A goal-happy Lens side travel to the capital knowing that the pressure lies firmly on PSG’s shoulders, and as they have done all season, Les Sang et Or should play without a shred of trepidation, especially with the hosts losing their golden touch at home.

PSG seldom draw in the top flight, but while their ravaged squad will no doubt come under siege on Saturday night, Galtier’s charges can strike back in an entertaining stalemate to maintain their healthy lead at the summit.

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