Paris Saint-Germain resume the Ligue 1 season on Sunday night as they travel to Lyon in a heavyweight clash.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side ended the first half of the campaign in utterly drab fashion before Christmas, being held to a 1-1 draw by a lowly Lorient side. A predictably routine 4-0 win over fourth-tier Vannes kicked off 2022, but this fixture will be PSG’s first real chance to respond.
PSG’s struggles may not be reflected in the league table, but Lyon’s certainly are. Peter Bosz’s side are down in 13th in Ligue 1 after a winless December followed a one-win November, ensuring what is usually a top-of-the-table clash is anything but this time around.
Here’s 90min’s preview of this clash.
When is kick off? Sunday 9 January, 19:45 (GMT)
Where is the match being played? Groupama Stadium, Lyon
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport 2 (UK), beIN Sports (US)
Highlights? Ligue 1 Uber Eats YouTube channel, BT Sport YouTube channel
Referee? Francois Letexier
The hosts’ forward line is set for a reshuffle as Bosz’s options are depleted courtesy of some African Cup of Nations call-ups. Tino Kadewere, Karl Toko-Ekambi and Islam Slimani will all be absent as they represent their respective nations at AFCON.
Elsewhere, Jason Denayer, Sinaly Diomande and Jeff Reine-Adelaide will continue their recoveries from injury while Lucas Paqueta will likely miss out having tested positive for Covid-19 at the end of December.
Pochettino has his own set of AFCON absentees to contend with, as Achraf Hakimi, Idrissa Gueye and Abdou Diallo are all away on international duty.
The Parisians have a number of Covid-19-enforced absences as well. Angel Di Maria, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Layvin Kurzawa, Danilo Periera and Julian Draxler are all in isolation – although there is some fantastic news for the PSG faithful, with the return of a now Covid-19 negative Lionel Messi.
These two giants of French football have locked horns 89 times over the decades with PSG coming out with a favourable record. The Parisian side have won 42 of the sides’ meetings compared to Lyon’s 26 victories – there have been 21 draws.
The club from the capital have won six of their previous seven encounters, losing just once. Pochettino’s men most recently overcame Lyon in a dramatic 2-1 triumph earlier in the 2021/22 campaign – as seen above.
Lyon did beat PSG away from home just over a year ago, securing a 1-0 win at the Parc des Princes in December 2020, with their last win at home coming back in February 2019.
While things were fairly even back in their early-season meeting on matchday six, the gap between the two clubs has grown hugely since. PSG are now 13 points clear at the Ligue 1 summit, and 22 points ahead of Lyon who languish in 13th.
There is undeniable quality capable of causing serious problems for any opposition within Bosz’s ranks – that is a certainty – and Lyon rarely struggle to get themselves up for this fixture. However, even with several global names missing through international duty, injury and Covid-19, Pochettino will still be able to field a star-studded side (namely, Messi) that, in truth, could beat any side on the planet.
So, as is so often the case when predicting PSG’s domestic fixtures, there should only be one winner.
Prediction: Lyon 1-3 PSG