Following yet another setback in their pursuit for further Ligue 1 success, Paris Saint-Germain will look to get off to a better start in February when they visit Montpellier HSC on Wednesday at the Stade de la Mosson.
The incumbent champions were thwarted to a 1-1 tie by Reims at the weekend, while their hosts defeated Auxerre 2-0.
With the suspended pair of Elye Wahi and Wahbi Khazri watching on from the naughty step, ex-Arsenal product Stephy Mavididi picked an ideal time to finally score his first and second goals of the Ligue 1 season during a worthwhile trip to Auxerre.
Having ended a miserable four-game losing run in all tournaments stretching back to December, Romain Pitau’s side occupy 14th place in the table and hold a healthy five-point buffer over the four sides in the relegation zone, but they are far from assured of their place in the top division.
An early Coupe de France exit to Pau has at least allowed La Paillade to focus solely on their Ligue 1 fortunes, but as one of only four teams to have shipped over 40 goals in the division so far – the others being Troyes, Auxerre and Angers – failure to tighten up at the back will spell danger for Pitau’s men.
Putting seven past Pays de Cassel in the Coupe de France would have ostensibly been ideal preparation for the return of Ligue 1, but PSG undoubtedly have a title fight on their hands this season, and they are now at risk of suffering three successive league defeats away from home for the first time since March.
Having both seen red in a 3-0 defeat to Nantes on January 15, Montpellier strikers Wahi and Khazri will serve the second of their two-game suspensions on Wednesday, leaving Valere Germain to spearhead the charge with support from a resurgent Mavididi.
La Paillade have no fresh concerns to report from their win over Auxerre, and midfielder Jordan Ferri should return after missing that contest with a bout of flu, but it remains to be seen if Pedro Mendes can recover from a hamstring issue in time for Wednesday.
Pitau should not disrupt a winning formula either way, meaning that former PSG centre-back Mamadou Sakho will likely have to be content with a place on the bench against his old club.
As for PSG, Verratti will serve his suspension this week after seeing red in the draw with Reims, so Galtier may consider introducing Renato Sanches or Danilo Pereira as part of a midfield reshuffle.
Nordi Mukiele and Presnel Kimpembe remain absent through injury, and the pair have been joined on the sidelines by Neymar, who misses out due to muscular fatigue.
Nuno Mendes is back after a muscle problem of his own though.
|Montpellier HSC (22.0%)||Draw (18.6)||Paris Saint-Germain (59.4%)|
|Montpellier HSC 1-2 Paris Saint-Germain|
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