Preview: Paris Saint-Germain vs. Rennes

Preview: Paris Saint-Germain vs. Rennes

Seeking to maintain or increase their 10-point lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table, champions Paris Saint-Germain welcome Rennes to the Parc des Princes on Sunday afternoon.

Christophe Galtier’s men left it late to sink Brest 2-1 last time out, while the visitors were thwarted in a goalless stalemate with Auxerre.

Still reeling from their latest premature Champions League exit, PSG were on the verge of dropping more points in the 2022-23 Ligue 1 season away to relegation-threatened Brest last weekend, but their all-time leading goalscorer was there to bail them out of trouble once again.

A thunderous opener from Carlos Soler preceded a Franck Honorat equaliser for Brest, with one long ball over the top doing the damage against PSG, but with 89 minutes gone, Kylian Mbappe beat the offside trap from Lionel Messi’s pass, skipped past Marco Bizot and slotted home into an empty net.

While there is a familiar sense of post-European dread around the Parc des Princes, PSG have at least managed to increase their lead at the top of the Ligue 1 standings into double digits, having seemingly faced the prospect of an actual title race with Marseille and Lens at one stage.

Top-flight glory may be the only silver lining for Galtier in his debut season, as the axe hovers dangerously above the head of the former Lille coach ahead of an expected sacking this summer, but maintaining PSG’s extraordinary Ligue 1 home run is the sole focus for the under-fire coach at present.

In fact, Galtier was the most recent manager to beat PSG at the Parc des Princes in Ligue 1 – prevailing 1-0 with Lille in April 2021 – but since then, the champions have not lost in 35 top-flight home matches, scoring in all of them bar a 0-0 draw with a Galtier-led Nice in December 2021.

Looking the more likely to concede in the first half, Rennes could not consign last week’s trip to Auxerre to history quickly enough, as neither set of supporters got their money’s worth in a drab goalless draw.

Failing to score for the second game running after going down 1-0 to Marseille at the beginning of the month, a podium finish is becoming more and more fanciful for Bruno Genesio’s side, who have also failed to adequately recover from being knocked out of the Europa League by Shakhtar Donetsk.

Amassing just two wins from their last six Ligue 1 contests, Les Rouges et Noir have slipped to fifth place in the standings – four points behind Monaco and a further seven adrift of third-placed Lens – while Lille are only one point worse off and can kick Rennes out of the continental places by the close of play this weekend.

One slight positive from the draw with Auxerre was a third clean sheet in four Ligue 1 contests for Rennes, but only three of their last 15 away games in the top flight have ended in victory – hardly form befitting that of a side dreaming of a return to the Champions League.

Rennes served PSG a slice of humble pie with a 1-0 win over Galtier’s men at Roazhon Park back in January, and the champions can boast just one win from their last four against Rennes, so neither history nor injuries are on their side as they endeavour to keep the walls of the Parc des Princes fortress intact.

Paris Saint-Germain Ligue 1 form:

Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions):

Rennes Ligue 1 form:

Rennes form (all competitions):

We say: Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Rennes
Ruthless attacking play has not been on Rennes’ agenda very often recently, but a youthful PSG backline decimated by injuries cannot expect to keep Genesio’s charges at bay for very long here.

Nevertheless, the champions nearly always find a way to win on home soil, and the deadly Messi-Mbappe combination can expose the visitors’ ongoing frailties on the road, so an ugly victory – but a victory nonetheless – should come the way of the hosts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *