Preview: Paris Saint-Germain vs. Lyon

Preview: Paris Saint-Germain vs. Lyon

The customary late surge towards the Ligue 1 title begins now for Paris Saint-Germain, who return from the international break to host Lyon at the Parc des Princes on Sunday evening.

Les Parisiens hold a seven-point lead at the top of the pile despite flattering to deceive throughout 2023, whereas their visitors are smack-bang in the middle of the rankings in 10th spot.

With a 35-game gap between them, Christophe Galtier has now been on the touchline for both of PSG’s most recent Ligue 1 defeats at the Parc des Princes – one as opposing manager and one as the Parisiens’ under-fire head coach.

Following a 1-0 loss to Galtier’s Lille in April 2021, PSG remained unbeaten in domestic action at home for almost two years before Rennes came to town on March 19, as Karl Toko Ekambi and former PSG product Arnaud Kalimuendo ended the champions’ 35-match run without defeat at the Parc des Princes in Ligue 1.

The opportunity to rest and reset during the international break would have been welcomed with open arms by Galtier, who few expect to still be in control of the reins next season, and overseeing a stress-free run to the Ligue 1 title ought to be the Frenchman’s parting gift before an expected parting of the ways.

Les Parisiens were facing a couple of fleeting threats to their crown earlier this year, but Galtier’s side are now comfortably seven points better off than second-placed Marseille and have no other commitments between now and the end of May thanks to a familiar early exit from the Champions League.

PSG’s unbeaten home streak was under threat even before Rennes came up trumps two weekends ago, as they have now conceded at least twice in each of their last three Ligue 1 games at the Parc des Princes and have just one measly clean sheet to show from their last 12 games across all competitions.

Defining the meaning of solid yet unspectacular during the month of March, Laurent Blanc’s mid-table battlers gleaned three points from their three meetings with Lorient, Lille and Nantes, who were in dreamland after Castello Lukeba’s own goal put them ahead within just two minutes of their contest on March 17.

However, captain Alexandre Lacazette led from the front yet again with his 17th goal of the season to rescue a point for Les Gones, whose European hopes are not dead in the water just yet, but a nine-point chasm to make up to Rennes in fifth place is hardly a walk in the park.

Gunning for glory in the Coupe de France may be priority number one for Lyon, who will renew hostilities with Nantes in their semi-final on April 5 for the chance to meet Toulouse or Annecy in the showpiece event, where they would no doubt be considered favourites to lift the trophy aloft.

A spot in the Europa League group stages would be theirs if Blanc’s side can add to their trophy cabinet, but top-flight endeavours take centre stage for now, as Lyon attempt to stretch their unbeaten run in the top flight to five matches since embarrassingly losing to Auxerre 2-1 in February.

Defeat to AJA represents Lyon’s only Ligue 1 loss from their last seven away games, though, and they overcame PSG 1-0 at the Parc des Princes as recently as December 2020, but the champions have since gone unbeaten in four against Les Gones and edged a narrow Groupama Stadium battle in September thanks to a Lionel Messi winner.

Paris Saint-Germain Ligue 1 form:

Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions):

Lyon Ligue 1 form:

Lyon form (all competitions):

We say: Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Lyon
With Lyon seemingly growing in confidence on the goalscoring front and PSG simply unable to shut up shop on home soil, an entertaining affair between two giants of the French game could very well materialise here.

As alarm-raising as PSG’s loss to Rennes was, the champions were working with a ravaged backline – which should not be the case here – and Galtier’s refreshed troops should revert to type with all three points, but not without a couple of scares along the way.

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