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Champions League PREVIEW | PSG vs Anderlecht

Josh Mart takes the chance to preview this Champions League encounter between Paris Saint Germain and Anderlecht at the Parc des Princes in Paris. These two sides met in Belgium last time out, with PSG coming away with all three points after a rather flattering 4-0 win.

This result puts Les Parisiens in a fantastic position in the group at the halfway stage as they sit top of the table ahead of Bavarian giants Bayern Munich, and with two very winnable home games to come (including this one), PSG have to be favourites to claim the coveted top spot in the standings which can lead to a more favourable tie in February’s knock-out phase.

Anderlecht on the other hand, sit rock bottom of the table with zero points gained and also no goals scored which means that the best they can realistically hope for is a Europa League spot but even that will be tricky, as Celtic already have the upper hand by beating the Belgians in Brussels.

Psg have been in swashbuckling form in Ligue 1 of late, a 2-2 draw with bitter rivals Marseille being the only slip up in the last 5 matches. Friday nights 3-0 victory over Nice was a perfect way to warm up for Tuesday’s match as Unai Emery was able to make some changes and give some players such as Julian Draxler and Yuri much needed game time as well as getting the all important three points which keeps PSG top of the Ligue 1 standings.

Anderlecht’s form has been better since coach Vanhaezebrouck took over last month with the reigning Belgian champions climbing to 3rd in the Pro League standings. Saturday’s enthralling 3-2 away victory at Eupen was Anderlecht’s second victory in a few days after also beating Zulte Waregem last midweek.

Despite this upturn in form though, Anderlecht are still a whopping 9 points behind Club Brugge who sit top of the table. That sort of points deficit will be difficult to make up, even with so many matches left this campaign.

Team News and Tactics:

PSG head coach Unai Emery can welcome back Neymar to the fold for this European match, as the Brazilian superstar has been serving a suspension in Ligue 1 following a red card against Marseille a few weeks ago. Mbappé however, could be a given a ‘rest’ in this one due to tiredness (or poor form depending on what source you read). Thiago Motta also misses out through injury here.

With this in mind I expect PSG to line up in a 4-3-3 formation with Areola in goals behind a probable back four of Dani Alves, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva and Kurzawa/Yuri. With Thiago Motta missing, Rabiot will deputise in the ‘number 6 role’ and will be supported by Verratti and one of Pastore/Draxler. Neymar is a certainty to start on the left of the front three which will be spearheaded by in form Edinson Cavani. With doubts over whether Mbappé will start, Angel Di Maria could start on the right side of the attack for this one.

Anderlecht have a few injury concerns with Andy Najar missing through injury and serious doubts over the availability of Kara Mbodji and Uros Spajic at the back.

With this in mind I expect Anderlecht to lineup in a sort of 5-4-1 formation which could turn into a 3-4-3 when attacking with Dendoncker, Sa and Deschacht to play as the back three. Obradovic and Appiah could start as wing backs with Onyekuru/Gerkens and Hanni likely to play in the wide positions higher up the pitch. Sven Kums and Trebel are set to start in midfield and will look to provide support to lone striker Teodorczyk.

Key Men:

Edinson Cavani (PSG) – El Matador has been in excellent form for PSG this season, and for 2017 as a whole. Even with potential issues with Neymar earlier in the season, Cavani just seems to keep working hard to do what he does best- score goals. His injury time equaliser against Marseille in Le Classique sums up how good he has been for PSG this campaign. Expect him to notch in this one.

Lukasz Teodorczyk (Anderlecht) – The Polish target man has been a great acquisition for the Belgian’s since his move from Dynamo Kiev. He has great aerial prowess and has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. This will be a hard game for him to shine though, and he will need plenty of support from Onyekuru/Hanni/Gerkens if Anderlecht are to get the best out of him here.

Prediction

Despite both previous meetings between the two sides at the Parc des Princes ending in stalemate, it is almost impossible to predict anything other than a PSG victory here, whether Mbappe plays or not. Anderlecht know that there crucial match is against Celtic but will hope to limit PSG as much as possible here.

Prediction: PSG 3-0 Anderlecht

 

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