Ligue 1 Matchweek 21 preview: Paris Saint-Germain vs. Montpellier HSC (Fri - 21:00h. CET; 20:00h. GMT) - Team news, possible lineups

Paris Saint-Germain will be aiming to cement their position atop the Ligue 1 rankings when they welcome an out-of-sorts Montpellier HSC to the Parc des Princes on Friday evening.

The hosts overcame Angers 1-0 last Saturday to move to the top of the pile, whereas Montpellier's winless run continued with a 3-2 defeat to Monaco.

Match preview

Just days after witnessing his PSG team triumph in the Trophee des Champions for his first ever piece of silverware, Mauricio Pochettino contracted coronavirus and was forced to miss the trip to Angers.

Without the Argentine barking orders from the touchline, PSG were far from their free-flowing best despite lining up from the start with Angel Di Maria, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, and the winner came from an unlikely source in left-back Layvin Kurzawa at the Stade Raymond Kopa.

That narrow triumph was certainly not one to write home about, but it propelled PSG back to the top of the pile after Lyon suffered a shock home defeat to Metz, with Pochettino's men now ahead of second-placed Lille on goal difference after 20 matches.

Despite a relatively shaky season overall, the reigning champions are now unbeaten in their last seven matches across all competitions and can stretch their winning streak to four games this week - which would open up a three-point lead at the top before Lille travel to Rennes on Sunday.

Pochettino's charges boast a league-high 44 goals this term, but alarmingly, Mbappe is yet to find the back of the net in Ligue 1 since the Argentine took over, and PSG will need the Real Madrid-linked Frenchman to find his shooting boots again lest they risk being usurped once more.

In stark contrast, Montpellier are drifting further and further away from the European-chasing pack after their winless run stretched to six matches with a 3-2 defeat to Monaco on home turf.

The much-coveted Andy Delort came up with yet another delightful finish - his ninth goal of the season - but the damage had already been done through Wissam Ben Yedder's brace and another strike from the equally prolific Kevin Volland.

Michel Der Zakarian is one of the few managers to have been blessed with a fully-fit squad recently, but the Paillade manager has been unable to use those resources to his advantage and Montpellier have now slipped to 11th in the table - eight points adrift of the top five.

The visitors are the only team in the top 13 without a win in their last five matches, but they have become renowned for their form away from home with just two defeats on unfamiliar territory all season ahead of Friday's daunting trip to the capital.

Montpellier have lost their last three away matches against PSG by an aggregate scoreline of 14-1, and La Paillade have not won a league game on the champions' patch since the 2009-10 campaign.

Paris Saint-Germain Ligue 1 form: WDWDWW
Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions): DWDWWW

Montpellier HSC Ligue 1 form: LDLLDL

Team News

Kurzawa rifled home at the back post to win the game for PSG last weekend, but he then had to be substituted with a calf problem just before full time.

The left-back has since participated in training and should be good to go for this game, but Mitchel Bakker is on standby if required, while COVID-positive duo Thilo Kehrer and Colin Dagba remain out.

However, Rafinha has recovered from a bout of coronavirus and is available for this one, unlike Pochettino, who continues to self-isolate after testing positive.

Abdou Diallo has displaced Presnel Kimpembe at the back and looks set to keep his spot after another clean sheet, while Mauro Icardi will hope to earn a start up top over Moise Kean.

Montpellier have no injury or coronavirus-related concerns for this game, but midfielder Jordan Ferri is suspended for an accumulation of yellow cards.

Joris Chotard should therefore earn a recall to the first XI, while the fit-again Teji Savanier is also expected to return to the midfield, potentially in place of Florent Mollet.

Paris Saint-Germain possible starting lineup:
Navas; Florenzi, Marquinhos, Diallo, Kurzawa; Verratti, Paredes; Di Maria, Neymar, Mbappe; Icardi

Montpellier HSC possible starting lineup:
Omlin; Sambia, Congre, Mendes, Cozza, Ristic; Chotard, Le Tallec, Savanier; Delort, Laborde

Source: Sports Mole / Ben Knapton 



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