Josh Mart previews PSG’s Champions League group stage encounter with Anderlecht at the Parc des Princes, with Les Parisiens looking to maintain a perfect start to the group phase, where they have picked up maximum points thus far.
PSG dominated the game and won easily in the previous round’s encounter in Brussels, where an individual master-class from Zlatan Ibrahimovic who notched 4 goals to put the Belgians to the sword.
Les Parisiens will subconsciously feel as though they have one foot in the knockout stages with 3 wins from 3, however, Laurent Blanc will want his side to avoid complacency and get the required 3 points in this match.
PSG’s league form of late has been fantastic, which has led to them sitting top of the Ligue 1 table, 2 points ahead of 2nd place Lille. Friday’s 4-0 home win over Lorient was impressive; especially as talisman Ibrahimovic was side-lined with a knee problem. Anderlecht’s form has also picked up recently, and they have won their last 2 matches. However, they still sit in a disappointing 5th place in a very tight Pro League table.
Squad Selection and Tactics
Thiago Silva returns to the PSG squad for the first time in around 6 weeks, but Alex and Marquinhos will probably start so that the Captain can be fully fit for their weekend encounter with OGC Nice. Marquinhos has had a great debut season for Les Parisiens, and has showed great maturity for someone so young at a club where there is a lot of pressure.
Laurent Blanc is likely to make some changes to the side that defeated Lorient so convincingly at the weekend. Edinson Cavani is forced out with an injury so Zlatan Ibrahimovic will start up front tomorrow, with the only other possible option in Hervin Ongenda also out of the squad.
Lavezzi could start instead of Menez, on the left of a 4-3-3 formation, with Lucas Moura on the right, both supporting the big Swede.
Currently, I think one man’s place is guaranteed; Marco Verratti has been in spectacular form and has really caught the eye with some delicious assists and his range of passes is fantastic. He is likely to be partnered by Thiago Motta and Blaise Matuidi in central midfield.
The visitors are likely to start off in a 4-3-3 formation, with coach van den Brom likely to alter the team slightly from the previous game against PSG. Talented Ghanaian Acheampong could start in the front 3, alongside Mitrovic and Bruno. American international Kljestan will anchor the midfield, supported by the talented Praet and possibly Milivojevic.
On paper, PSG are stronger all over the pitch, both collectively and individually. Despite criticism early on, coach Laurent Blanc has really excelled in building a team with fantastic players, something which is difficult to do, think back to Jose Mourinho during his time in Madrid.
The battle between the two midfield trio’s will be key, as, if the PSG midfielders can provide ammunition for the front 3, PSG are sure to win once again.
Anderlecht’s front 3 could cause PSG problems, especially if the pacey Acheampong is up against Jallet or Alex.
Anderlecht will be all too aware of PSG’s attacking capabilities, after the previous encounter, so expect a less naïve approach from the Belgians.
Laurent Blanc will know that a victory for his team here will pretty much see them through to the next round bar a disaster in the next 2 matches, so I expect him to field a strong team. Anderlecht are realistically playing for pride, so in theory they have nothing to lose. PSG’s quality will once again shine through, and the hosts are odds on to taste victory again.
Prediction: PSG 4-0 Anderlecht