Preview: Paris Saint-Germain vs. Nice

Preview: Paris Saint-Germain vs. Nice

Runaway leaders Paris Saint-Germain welcome Nice to the Parc des Princes on Wednesday evening for midweek action in the 16th round of Ligue 1 fixtures.

The hosts bounced back from a disheartening loss in Europe with a win at the weekend, whilst their upcoming opponents slipped to a second consecutive home defeat.

Rumours regarding his future and the vacant position at Manchester United have now quietened down slightly for PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino, after the interim appointment of Ralf Rangnick at Old Trafford.

The long-term future of the Red Devils job will likely drag on – at least in the background – for the remainder of the season, but the Argentine was perhaps more able to focus on the job in hand when his side met Saint-Etienne on Sunday.

It now almost appears that it is in PSG’s interests to allow their opponents to score first. Having gone in front at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, Les Parisiens eventually lost 2-1 to Manchester City, whilst in the league on Sunday they came from behind to win for the fifth time this season.

That is some stat considering there have just been 15 games to this point, and it was far from the only interesting stat the 3-1 victory produced – Lionel Messi completed a hat-trick of assists for just the third time in his career and Sergio Ramos finally made his long-awaited debut in dark blue, becoming the fifth oldest Ligue 1 debutant in the 21st century.

Pochettino will have been pleased with the performance of both his new signings – along with Marquinhos who grabbed an unlikely brace – but was surely disappointed to lose Neymar to an ankle injury late on, with the winger seen leaving the stadium on crutches.

Nice also conceded the first goal in their game against Metz, but were unable to produce a PSG-esque comeback, with Fabien Centonze’s 31st-minute goal ultimately proving to be the winner.

That is just a second win of the season for Les Grenats, who started the weekend bottom of the table, and Christophe Galtier will be bitterly disappointed to have now lost back-to-back home games by a 1-0 scoreline.

The previous defeat came at the hands of Montpellier – in a more respectable mid-table position – and, despite a 2-1 win away at struggling Clermont in between those two games, Nice have now dropped behind Rennes to third in the table.

Even in that victory, Les Aiglons had to be rescued – not for the first time this season – by Amine Gouiri, who scored twice in the final quarter of an hour.

Whilst Galtier has clearly done an excellent job in his opening months on the riviera, there is still much work to be done before he is able to challenge for a title again.

Paris Saint-Germain Ligue 1 form:
Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions):
Nice Ligue 1 form:

We say: Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Nice
The hosts will miss Neymar but are potentially fortunate in their timing of meeting Nice, who have hit their first rough patch of form since Galtier took over. As we have learnt, it may be best for PSG to concede first but, either way, we back them to be ahead by the final whistle.

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