On Saturday, table-topping Paris Saint-Germain visit an RC Lens side vying for European football despite residing in Ligue 2 two years ago.
Mauricio Pochettino’s ensemble of galacticos have dropped points in just three of their first 16 league games to start the campaign. However, following a Champions League defeat to Manchester City and a midweek stalemate with Nice, Les Parisiens are in a mini gully of form for their lofty standards.
Here’s the XI Pochettino may deploy to return to winning ways.
Keylor Navas (GK) – PSG are the only side in France’s top flight that can boast two goalkeepers with more than 600 minutes of football this season. In light of Gianluigi Donnarumma’s run out in midweek, Navas may get the nod this weekend.
Achraf Hakimi (RB) – In a much-lauded transfer window that ushered in a galaxy of stars that didn’t require a fee, signing the 23-year-old flyer for just £54m may prove the best deal.
Marquinhos (CB) – PSG’s captain has topped out at three goals a season for the past trio of campaigns yet netted twice in the space of one game in the club’s last away trip.
Nuno Mendes (LB) – The youngest starter in a vastly experienced celebrity squad is yet to either score or create a goal despite his attacking tendencies.
Idrissa Gueye (CM) – Despite repeatedly being branded as the safety net for a frontline that doesn’t press, only one teammate has scored more Ligue 1 goals for PSG this season than Gueye.
Marco Verratti (CM) – Left in the forgotten shadow of Zlatan Ibrahimovic when the pair signed on the same day in 2012, PSG are transformed when they can get their Little Owl off the treatment table long enough to play a game.
Leandro Paredes (CM) – An injury punctuated start to the campaign has restricted playing time for the Copa America winner, but he may be afforded just his third league start after recovering from a bout of gastroenteritis.
Angel Di Maria (RW) – Upheld as the only forward in the French capital that works off the ball, the injured Neymar applies just as many pressures and tackles as his likely replacement.
Lionel Messi (ST) – The greatest player in the world – again – hasn’t failed to score at least 25 league goals since 2009. With just one to his name this term, Messi would need to average a goal every 82 minutes (assuming he doesn’t miss a second hereafter) for the next six months to maintain that record. Tricky, but not impossible.
Kylian Mbappe (LW) – PSG’s top scorer and leading assist provider has directly contributed to 14 goals in his last eight games for club and country.