PSG will host bottom-dwellers Angers on Wednesday, Jan. 11, as part of Ligue 1's MD18. Through the first 17 games of the season, Paris Saint-Germain has won one more game (14) than Angers have lost (13). Will that distance grow a notch tomorrow? And most importantly, who will be on the pitch wearing PSG's Rouge et Bleu kit?
It's been an up-and-down return to competitive play for PSG since the end of the World Cup break.
After debuting with a razor-thin victory over Strasbourg (2-1), then getting blasted by Lens (1-3), and finally cruising past Chareauroux (3-1) last Friday, PSG will try to defeat Angers on Wednesday to put together two victories in a row for the first time since November.
For the 18th game of the French season, PSG coach Christophe Galtier will finally have his trio of superstars (Messi, Neymar, and Mbappe) available. Whether they are fit and ready to play, though, is an entirely different question.
Neymar and Lionel Messi will lead PSG against bottom-of-the-table Angers on Wednesday
Starting under the goalposts, though, will be the returning Gigio Donnarumma after not appearing in the cup game last Friday giving way to Keylor Navas.
The defensive line should be quite easy to predict considering Achraf Hakimi is neither fit (he's spent a week off on vacation) nor available (suspended for one game due to yellow-card accumulation). Juan Bernat already returned to action (and scored a goal) at the end of last week and Nordi Mukiele has been extraordinary since mid-December. The two wing-backs will be flanking the experienced and struggling pairing of Marquinhos and Sergio Ramos deployed in the middle of the line.
The midfield poses a nice conundrum to Galtier as he will have an abundance of options. Renato Sanches was training earlier this week so he should be able to get at least a few minutes. Verratti is coming back after missing the cup tie last week and should start on Wednesday. The other two positions in the midfield triangle will be handed to a couple of the Vitinha, Warren Zaire-Emery, and Danilo trio.
With the latest comments about PSG's strategy and plans to give their titis ample playing time, and his top-level performances, Zaire-Emery might get his second start in a row after having become the youngest-ever starter in the history of the club. Danilo should start getting minutes asap for the good of PSG, but he has felt a bit under the water of late so he might make an off-the-pine cameo, opening the door for Vitinha on Wednesday.
The forward line will welcome World Cup champion and PSG no. 30 Lionel Messi back after two months away from Paris. Neymar is still healing his buggy ankle but one would assume he'd be fit enough to start after missing the last two games entirely (suspension and rest, respectively).
Hugo Ekitike, who has found some goalscoring form of late, will be the man leading the PSG attack against the last-place team in Ligue 1.