Paris Saint-Germain will be out to record their fourth home win on the bounce in all competitions when Reims pay a visit to the Parc des Princes for Sunday evening’s Ligue 1 fixture.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men comfortably beat Brest 2-0 last time out, but the visitors fell to a disappointing 1-0 loss to relegation strugglers Metz.
With speculation over Kylian Mbappe’s future continuing to rumble on in the background, the 23-year-old did his talking on the pitch for PSG during the visit of Brest last Saturday, firing home a sublime opener in the 32nd minute to set his side on the way to a routine win.
Thilo Kehrer’s taste for goals continued with his side’s second on the night – now two in his last two Ligue 1 games for the right-back – as PSG responded to a spate of stalemates in ideal fashion, but Brest certainly threatened an upset in the capital.
However, through a combination of staunch defending and good fortune, the runaway leaders posted yet another win and clean sheet to boost their title bid, and an 11-point chasm separates Pochettino’s men from closest challengers Nice with over half of the season now gone.
As Les Parisiens continue to ride off into the sunset in Ligue 1, Pochettino may already have one eye on his side’s impending Champions League last-16 showdown with Real Madrid, and the difficult fixtures pile up before then with Lille, Nice and Rennes all lying in wait.
The importance of a resounding win this weekend therefore cannot be understated for PSG, who have won 12 of their 13 home games in all competitions this season – scoring at least two goals in all of those victories – and one would expect another goal-laden performance here.
Despite steadying the ship over the autumnal and festive period, Reims still have some work to do to drag themselves away from the dotted line for good, as Oscar Garcia’s side saw their momentum halted during a 1-0 home defeat to strugglers Metz last week.
Ibrahima Niane’s 61st-minute strike after a quick counter-attack settled the contest in Les Grenats’ favour, with Reims substitute Nathanael Mbuku trying but failing to restore parity with a spectacular bicycle kick from a free kick right at the death.
On a brighter note, that 1-0 loss represents only a second defeat from 11 games for Les Rouges et Blancs – who have become renowned for their low-scoring affairs of late – and Garcia’s side sit 14th in the rankings ahead of Sunday’s game, seven points clear of danger.
Rather incredibly, a tally of 22 goals conceded represents the joint-best tally in Ligue 1 outside of the top five – not even Lille and Lyon have defended as well as Reims have this season – and a four-game unbeaten run on the road offers a sliver of hope for the visitors and their youthful setup.
However, PSG ran out comfortable 2-0 winners at the Stade Auguste-Delaune earlier in the season – Les Parisiens’ fourth win and fourth clean sheet in a row versus their upcoming visitors – but Reims did claim a memorable win at the Parc des Princes by the same scoreline as recently as September 2019.
Paris Saint-Germain Ligue 1 form:
Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions):
Reims Ligue 1 form:
Reims form (all competitions):
We say: Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Reims
Reims’ remarkable defensive solidarity will be tested to the extreme against a PSG side expecting to welcome Messi back to action, although the potential loss of Mbappe will increase the pressure on the Argentine’s shoulders to deliver.
Pochettino’s side were not full value for their victory over Brest for the entire 90 minutes, but an up-and-coming Reims XI should not trouble the runaway leaders too much at the fortress that is the Parc des Princes.