The man in Albiceleste colours came up trumps to tick off every box on his footballing CV, but international alliances will soon cease for PSG’s World Cup contingent as they return to Camp des Loges with the aim of successfully defending their customary Ligue 1 title.
A 5-0 thumping of Auxerre just before the World Cup break marked PSG’s seventh consecutive win in all competitions to see them maintain their unassailable lead over Lens, with Galtier’s side still unbeaten this season and taking 41 points from 45 on offer in Ligue 1.
The reigning French champions could now extend their unbeaten Ligue 1 streak at the Parc des Princes to a remarkable 30 matches since going down 1-0 to Lille in April 2021, and not many will be placing bets on a relegation-threatened Strasbourg team upsetting the apple cart.
With just one win to boast from all of their Ligue 1 games so far this season – a 3-2 triumph versus Angers, the only team below them in the rankings – Strasbourg are living very dangerously indeed and entered the World Cup break without a win in five competitive matches.
Les Coureurs can take pride in holding Marseille and this season’s surprise package Lorient to draws in that sequence, but they are still two points adrift of the safety of 16th place, and their only winter friendly ended in a 1-0 defeat to Feyenoord on December 13.
After achieving the coveted goal of becoming world champion, PSG talisman Messi will take time off until the New Year, but Mbappe has already returned to training alongside Achraf Hakimi, who made history of his own by reaching the semi-finals with Morocco.
Danilo Pereira sustained broken ribs in Portugal training but has been seen with the ball at his feet on PSG`s practice pitches, while Nuno Mendes is still nursing a thigh injury, and the Achilles problem that ruled Presnel Kimpembe out of the World Cup is taking longer to heal than expected.
Djiku’s suspension will at least give him more time to recover from his World Cup exploits with Ghana, and the visitors’ only other Qatar representative was Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, but the 39-year-old is now playing second fiddle to Matz Sels at club level anyway.
Possible starting lineup:
Data will be available at kick off time or sooner.
Paris Saint-Germain (74.2.8%)
Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Strasbourg
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