Preview: Troyes vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Preview: Troyes vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Amid another week of carnage and controversy on and off the field, Paris Saint-Germain continue their stumble towards the Ligue 1 finish line away to Troyes on Sunday night.

Christophe Galtier’s team suffered another home humbling last weekend, losing 3-1 to Lorient, while their basement-battling opponents were also put to the sword in a 1-0 reverse to Nice.

Had it not been for Troyes goalkeeper Gauthier Gallon and his staggering 11 saves at the Stade de l’Aube – a league high in the 2022-23 French top flight – Troyes’ showdown with Nice last week could have ended in far more humiliating fashion.

As it was, a fine finish from Hicham Boudaoui just 81 seconds into the match was all that could separate the two outfits, leaving Patrick Kisnorbo’s team on the brink of relegation to Ligue 2, which could be confirmed if results go against them this weekend.

Ten points adrift of safety with just five games left to play, ESTAC’s fate will be sealed with defeat if Auxerre prevail in their clash with Clermont, as well as there being a victor in the contest between 17th-placed Nantes and 16th-placed Strasbourg, who lock horns a few hours before Troyes take to the field on Sunday.

The New Year brought new hope for ESTAC, who opened 2023 with a 3-2 win over Strasbourg, but Kisnorbo’s men have since embarked on an atrocious 17-game winless run across all competitions, losing four of their last five in Ligue 1 and failing to keep a single clean sheet in the current calendar year.

Not since August’s victory over already-relegated Angers have Troyes prevailed in front of their own fans, and a 14-game run without victory at home is currently the longest in the big five European leagues, but a PSG team mired in their own turmoil inspire confidence against very few teams right now.

Kylian Mbappe may have scored the easiest and most bizarre goal that he will ever score during the visit of Lorient, whose goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo nonchalantly rolled the ball out for a free kick which had never been awarded, but lady luck was ultimately not on the champions’ side last weekend.

Enzo Le Fee had crashed home the opening goal before Mbappe’s gift, but Galtier’s 10 men – who had Achraf Hakimi dismissed – put on another tepid performance in front of their own fans, as Darlin Yongwa tapped in to restore Lorient’s advantage before Bamba Dieng bundled a third over the line, despite the best efforts of Gianluigi Donnarumma.

As if a third defeat from four home matches was not embarrassing enough for PSG, the unsanctioned Lionel Messi trip to Saudi Arabia, his subsequent suspension and fierce protests from the club’s ultras – some of whom made their way to Neymar’s house – have all contributed to the crisis behind closed doors.

Last year, Mauricio Pochettino wrapped up the Ligue 1 title with four games to spare, but PSG now only hold a five-point lead over Marseille in first place – they are somewhat safe in the knowledge that at least one of Les Olympiens and third-placed Lens will drop points in Saturday’s tantalising podium contest before they return to action.

While their Parc des Princes exploits have left a lot to be desired, PSG can at least proudly boast a four-game victorious run away from home in Ligue 1 before a trip to Troyes, who are winless in 19 games against the capital club and fell to a 4-3 loss to the champions earlier this season, but the time is nigh for ESTAC to keep their survival hopes alive and sink PSG to a new low.

Troyes Ligue 1 form:

Paris Saint-Germain Ligue 1 form:

We say: Troyes 0-1 Paris Saint-Germain
As injuries and off-field chaos threaten to completely derail their title bid, a ravaged PSG side will be far from their free-flowing best at the Stade de l’Aube, but victory should still be theirs.

While results around them going in their favour might see Troyes live to fight another day, Kisnorbo’s confidence-depleted crop could and should have lost by more against Nice had it not been for a determined Gallon, who can still feel hopeful of restricting the faltering champions to just the one goal.

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