Preview: Paris Saint-Germain vs. Nantes 

Preview: Paris Saint-Germain vs. Nantes 

Fresh from a dominant win in Le Classique and plentiful success at FIFA’s The Best awards just down the road, Paris Saint-Germain resume the Ligue 1 title fight at home to Nantes on Saturday night.

Les Parisiens put Marseille to the sword 3-0 last weekend, while Les Canaris continued the defence of their Coupe de France by beating Lens 2-1 in midweek.

The two-man show of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe lit up the Orange Velodrome last weekend – much to the dismay of the home supporters – who witnessed the Parisiens’ epoch-making attackers write new chapters of history in that top-of-the-table encounter.

A brace for Mbappe took him level with Edinson Cavani as PSG’s highest goalscorer of all time on 200 strikes – doing so in a mere 246 games – and the Frenchman turned provider for Messi to score his 700th club career goal in between his two strikes, both of which were set up by the silky Argentine.

From teammates on the pitch to rivals in the concert hall, Messi added to his ever-growing haul of accolades by being crowned FIFA’s The Best Men’s Player for 2022 over Mbappe and Karim Benzema on Monday evening, but individual honours for the two world-beaters will pale into insignificance this weekend.

By putting three past Marseille without reply last week, PSG opened up an eight-point lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table – amassing 60 points from their 25 games this term – as Christophe Galtier’s decision to revert to the three-man backline from earlier in the season paid dividends and then some.

Next on the agenda for PSG is extending their astonishing unbeaten home run in Ligue 1 to 35 games – having survived a few scares to defeat Lille 4-3 a couple of weekends ago – but with the second leg of their Champions League tie with Bayern Munich to come next week, Galtier may find that his players’ minds are starting to wander.

Prior to PSG’s win over Marseille, Les Olympiens had ended their Classique rivals’ hopes of glory in the Coupe de France. In contrast, Nantes served Lens a slice of humble pie in the knockout tournament two weeks on from losing to Les Sang et Or in the top division.

Being forced to play Wednesday’s quarter-final behind closed doors as punishment for their fans’ use of pyrotechnics in last year’s final victory, Nantes were indebted to a pair of Andy Delort penalties after Seko Fofana’s smart opener, keeping their hopes of back-to-back titles alive amid their other domestic and European struggles.

The Europa League is now a distant memory for Antoine Kombouare’s men following a 4-1 aggregate loss to Juventus in the knockout round playoffs, while successive Ligue 1 defeats to Lens and most recently Rennes have left them 13th in the standings – safely seven points clear of the drop zone, though.

A team that prided themselves on defensive solidity at the start of the year have since failed to keep clean sheets in their last five games in all tournaments, and Nantes only have two wins to their name from 13 away games in the 2022-23 Ligue 1 season, although both have come since 2023 rolled around.

One of Galtier’s first acts in charge of PSG was to thrash Nantes 4-0 in the Trophee des Champions last summer before winning 3-0 at the Stade de la Beaujoire back in September, although Les Canaris did stun the champions at the Parc des Princes as recently as March 2021.

Paris Saint-Germain Ligue 1 form:

Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions):

Nantes Ligue 1 form:

Nantes form (all competitions):

We say: Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Nantes
Even with the injury concerns still piling up and their most influential midfielder in Verratti suspended, PSG can take advantage of Nantes’ midweek fatigue to warm up for Bayern in the best possible fashion.

Ex-PSG boss Kombouare has seen his side lose the rearguard reliability that typified their performances earlier in 2023, so their trip to the capital should be a miserable one.

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