Seeking to maintain their 100% start to the 2021-22 Ligue 1 season, Paris Saint-Germain travel to the Stade Francis-Le Ble to take on Brest on Friday evening.
Michel Der Zakarian’s side held Rennes to a 1-1 draw during their most recent encounter, whereas PSG made it two for two with a 4-2 success over Strasbourg.
The departure of Olivier Dall’Oglio was expected to harm Brest on the attacking front, but the resilient nature of Der Zakarian’s side has seen them claim two very respectable draws with European hopefuls Lyon and Rennes in the first two gameweeks.
After holding Les Gones to a 1-1 stalemate in the inaugural matchweek, Brest appeared to be heading for defeat against Rennes as Serhou Guirassy headed in the opener with 84 minutes on the clock, but an inspired substitution from Der Zakarian saw Jeremy Le Douaron use his head to rescue a point in added time.
Having been handed one of the most daunting starts possible in Ligue 1, Les Pirates deserve immense credit for navigating their first two games of the season unbeaten – results which have placed them 11th in the embryonic standings.
Maintaining their unbeaten start to the campaign will be a tall order against PSG, though, especially with last week’s draw with Rennes stretching their winless run on home soil to six matches since a 3-1 success over Dijon on March 3.
One cannot knock Der Zakarian’s men for giving it a good go, though, as Brest’s tally of 13 shots on target from two games is the second-highest in the league behind newly-promoted surprise package Clermont Foot 63, and PSG cannot travel to the Stade Francis-Le Ble expecting to cruise to another victory.
With Neymar and Lionel Messi still watching on from the stands, PSG proved within 180 seconds against Strasbourg that their bountiful attacking options were capable of getting the job done without the South American duo, as Mauro Icardi headed Les Parisiens in front early doors.
Kylian Mbappe – booed by a section of the crowd amid ongoing Real Madrid speculation – then saw his effort take a significant deflection off Ludovic Ajorque into the back of the net, while Julian Draxler and Pablo Sarabia completed the rout despite responses from Ajorque and Kevin Gameiro.
With their main rivals in Lille, Lyon and Monaco already faltering, Pochettino’s new-look PSG – with a quintet of eye-catching arrivals in tow – are firm favourites to reclaim their rightful Ligue 1 crown, although goal difference means that they find themselves below Angers and Clermont at this very early stage.
Autumnal and winter wobbles proved costly in PSG’s title bid last term, but Pochettino’s side have now taken 25 points from the last 27 on offer in Ligue 1 – winning each of their last four – while eight of their last nine fixtures away from home have ended in victory.
Brest welcomed PSG to the Stade Francis-Le Ble during the final gameweek of the 2020-21 season, which ended in a 2-0 win for Pochettino’s men, and Les Pirates’ most recent win over the capital side came all the way back in the 1984-85 season.
Brest Ligue 1 form:
Paris Saint-Germain Ligue 1 form:
Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions):
We say: Brest 1-3 Paris Saint-Germain
Brest have held their own against two giants of the French game so far and are certainly capable of troubling a PSG defence that has conceded three times already this season, but the hosts’ joy may end there.
Pochettino may still be reluctant to call upon his international finalists, but their record against Les Pirates speaks for itself, and we can only envisage another romping success for the title favourites.