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Neymar, Mbappe Antics And Possible Title Derailment

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian ahead Neymar (L) jokes with Paris Saint-Germain’s French ahead Kylian MBappe previous to the French L1 soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Montpellier Herault SC on the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, on February 1, 2020.
FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

While Neymar has been partying with an injured rib, and Kylian Mbappe has been making no try to cover his displeasure together with his coach, Paris Saint-Germain supporters could possibly be forgiven for having that sinking feeling

.This has been the time of yr when the French membership’s season has tended to implode lately, with three successive eliminations within the first knockout spherical of the Champions League.

They are at present unbeaten in 20 video games in all competitions after Tuesday’s 2-1 success at Nantes, and sit 12 factors clear on the prime of Ligue 1.

However, all the pieces is gearing up in direction of their Champions League last-16 tie towards Borussia Dortmund, with the primary leg in Germany on February 18.

PSG haven’t made it past the final 16 in 4 years, with the character of defeats towards Barcelona in 2017 and Manchester United final season serving to make them one thing of a laughing inventory round Europe.

Injuries to Neymar at this stage in every of the final two years proved essential, so followers of a nervous disposition shall be hoping the rib harm suffered by the Brazilian towards Montpellier final weekend is nothing greater than a short-term drawback.

The harm didn’t forestall the world’s most costly participant from staging a lavish social gathering at a Parisian nightclub for his twenty eighth birthday final Sunday, but it surely did hold him out of the Nantes sport.

With the Dortmund first leg coming into view, he could possibly be rested for this Sunday’s go to of Lyon.

“I hope he can play on Sunday,” mentioned coach Thomas Tuchel. “He was in pain at half-time against Montpellier. He is in exceptional form, but we will decide later. He needs to manage the pain.”

Meanwhile, Mbappe appears sure to play, simply as he did in midweek regardless of an offended response to being substituted towards Montpellier which has introduced again the rumours that the 21-year-old — frequently linked with Real Madrid — might not stick round in Paris an excessive amount of longer.

“He was decisive for us. There was no need for him to show a reaction,” Tuchel mentioned of Mbappe’s midweek efficiency. The France star is PSG’s main scorer this season with 22 targets.

The days when Lyon have been essentially the most feared opponents within the nation are lengthy gone, they usually have taken simply two factors from their final 11 visits to Paris.

Rudi Garcia’s aspect are additionally struggling in sixth place simply now after a soporific 0-0 draw with Amiens in midweek.

With or with out Neymar, PSG will certainly be too robust for them. It is the Dortmund tie that basically issues although, and Tuchel wants his two greatest stars absolutely match and targeted in time for the journey to Germany.

Player to look at: Stephy Mavididi

One of that uncommon breed of English gamers attempting his luck overseas, the 21-year-old, Derby-born ahead Mavididi is at present a daily in a Dijon workforce battling to keep away from relegation.

Mavididi left Arsenal with out enjoying a top-team sport and final yr he joined Juventus — turning into their first English participant since David Platt in 1992 — after being scouted by Giorgio Chiellini’s brother.

After one look for Juve final season, he was allowed to maneuver to France on mortgage and he has already scored thrice for the Burgundy aspect, who host Nantes this weekend.

Paris Saint-Germain’s French ahead Kylian Mbappe (R) speaks with Paris Saint-Germain’s German coach Thomas Tuchel as he leaves the pitch after his substitution throughout the French L1 soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Montpellier Herault SC on the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, on February 1, 2020. Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel admitted Neymar’s newest lavish birthday celebrations have been a “distraction” at a key time within the season after the Brazilian helped the Ligue 1 leaders to a 5-0 win over nine-man Montpellier, Neymar, together with his hair dyed pink, shook off an harm scare and raged with the match officers whereas Pablo Sarabia, Angel Di Maria, Kylian Mbappe and Layvin Kurzawa all scored together with a Daniel Congre personal aim as PSG went 13 factors away from Marseille on the prime of the desk.
FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Key stats

4 – The variety of targets scored by Mbappe in a 5-0 win when PSG hosted Lyon final season.

15 – Marseille are unbeaten in 15 video games in all competitions, together with 12 within the league, as they host backside membership Toulouse, who’ve taken one solitary level over the identical interval.

12 – The variety of league targets scored by Metz captain Habib Diallo this season. The membership that introduced Sadio Mane, Ismaila Sarr and Papiss Cisse to Europe have unearthed one other Senegalese gem.

Fixtures (instances GMT)

Friday

Angers v Lille (1945)

Saturday

Marseille v Toulouse (1630), Amiens v Monaco, Dijon v Nantes, Metz v Bordeaux, Nice v Nimes, Rennes v Brest (all 1900)

Sunday

Montpellier v Saint-Etienne (1400), Strasbourg v Reims (1600), Paris Saint-Germain v Lyon (2000)

AFP

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