Preview: Angers vs. Paris Saint-Germain

French champions Paris Saint-Germain will be bidding to make it three straight wins in Ligue 1 when they travel to bottom-of-the-table Angers on Friday night.

The visitors are currently eight points clear of second-placed Marseille in the race for the title, while Angers are rock bottom on 14 points, 17 points from the safety of 16th position.

Match preview

Angers' Pierrick Capelle appeals to referee Stephanie Frappart on October 30, 2022

Angers have been present in Ligue 1 since 2015, and they finished 14th in France’s top flight last term, some nine points clear of the relegation zone, but Le SCO are currently in a very difficult spot in the division.

Unless something extraordinary happens over the next few weeks, Angers will be playing Ligue 2 football next season, as they are currently bottom of the table on 14 points.

A disappointing campaign has seen Alexandre Dujeux’s side record just three wins from their 31 matches, drawing five and losing the other 23, which has left them 17 points from the safety of 16th position.

There are only seven games left in France’s top flight, so one of the biggest comebacks of all time would have to happen to prevent Angers from being relegated to the second tier for next season.

The Black and Whites will enter this match off the back of a 2-1 defeat to Clermont, which followed a 1-0 victory over Lille, and they will now welcome the best side in the division, who they have lost against in each of the last 13 top-flight meetings between the two sides.

Paris Saint-Germain's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against Lens on April 15, 2023

PSG had a wobble either side of the international break, losing at home to both Rennes and Lyon, but they have responded by winning their last two against Nice and Lens.

Kylian Mbappe, Vitinha and Lionel Messi were on the scoresheet in the 3-1 win over Lens last time out, with the result moving the capital giants onto 72 points from their 31 league matches courtesy of a record of 23 wins, three draws and five defeats.

PSG are eight points clear of second-placed Marseille and therefore in a strong position when it comes to winning the title, and they do not have any distractions for the remainder of the season.

The Champions League is the trophy that the club really wanted to win this term, but they were beaten by Bayern Munich in the last-16 stage of the competition, and it is set to be a fascinating summer transfer window for the Paris giants, with a number of players expected to both arrive and depart.

Christophe Galtier’s side have the second-best away record in Ligue 1 this term, picking up 34 points from 15 matches, and it would be a shock if they failed to overcome Angers on Friday night.

Team News

Neymar in action for Paris Saint-Germsin on October 1, 2022

Angers will be without the services of Nabil Bentaleb on Friday through suspension, while the home side are also missing a number of players due to fitness problems.

Indeed, Pierrick Capelle, Farid El Melali, Amine Salama, Miha Blazic, Ilyas Chetti, Ali Kalla and Ulrick Eneme-Ella will all miss out for the basement side against the reigning champions.

Head coach Dujeux could also be missing Halid Sabanovic and Cedric Hountondji, while Bentaleb’s absence could lead to Jean-Matteo Bahoya being introduced in central midfield.

As for PSG, Timothee Pembele, Renato Sanches, Marco Verratti, Nordi Mukiele, Presnel Kimpembe and Neymar will miss the contest through injury.

Galtier’s squad has been stretched due to the absences, but with no European football at this stage of the campaign, the players have been able to recover in recent days, so it could be the same XI that took to the field for the first whistle against Lens last time out.

A 3-5-2 formation should see Mbappe and Messi operate as the front two, with Vitinha expected to keep his spot in central midfield alongside Fabian Ruiz and Carlos Soler.

Angers possible starting lineup:
Bernardoni; Rao-Lisoa, Valery, Bamba, Ghoulam, Kalumba; Bahoya, Mendy, Hunou; Abdelli, Niane

Paris Saint-Germain possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Marquinhos, Ramos, Danilo; Hakimi, Soler, Ruiz, Vitinha, Mendes; Messi, Mbappe

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