PSG title defence threatened by blunders and break-ins


Paris Saint-Germain head to Lyon on Sunday for a pivotal recreation within the Ligue 1 title race with Mauricio Pochettino’s facet having been thrown off track by poor performances and off-field troubles.

PSG have been shocked at house by struggling Nantes final weekend, a 2-1 defeat on the Parc des Princes condemning the reigning champions to back-to-back house league losses for the primary time since November 2012.

They may have gone prime of the desk with a win, however as a substitute they continue to be second with 9 video games remaining, three factors behind leaders Lille and forward of third-placed Lyon on objective distinction.

The Nantes defeat was overshadowed by the information that two PSG gamers, Angel Di Maria and Marquinhos, have been the victims of break-ins through the recreation itself.

Di Maria was substituted after it emerged his house within the upmarket Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine had been burgled whereas his household have been there. In the meantime, the household house of Marquinhos was additionally burgled in one other Paris suburb whereas his father and two sisters have been current.

“What occurred has affected everyone,” admitted Pochettino.

“Everybody took it as if it had occurred to them personally. We do not understand how issues may need gone had these incidents not occurred, however Angel is ok and so is ‘Marqui’.”

Di Maria beforehand admitted that an tried theft on his household’s house throughout his one 12 months at Manchester United, in 2014/15, had left him eager to go away England.

Nonetheless, the 33-year-old has been settled in France and solely final week signed a contract extension to maintain him at PSG till the tip of subsequent season.

“My household and I are very joyful right here and nothing will wipe the grins from our faces,” he wrote on Instagram this week.

PSG’s type is regarding, nonetheless.

They’re by means of to the Champions League quarter-finals however carried out poorly within the second leg of their last-16 tie in opposition to Barcelona. Not helped by accidents or coronavirus infections in his squad, Pochettino has misplaced three of his first 12 Ligue 1 video games.

“Regardless of all the pieces I’m extraordinarily optimistic,” he mentioned this week.

“We’re in place in Ligue 1 and we’re fortunate to nonetheless have our destiny in our personal palms in all competitions.”

His feedback got here earlier than PSG beat Lille 3-0 within the final 16 of the French Cup in midweek with Kylian Mbappe scoring twice to make up for an error in gifting one objective to Nantes.

The following two league video games are essential, with Sunday’s recreation in Lyon adopted by a house conflict with leaders Lille instantly after the worldwide break.

Participant to observe: Lucas Paqueta

Paqueta may have an enormous half to play if Lyon are to get the higher of PSG. The 23-year-old Brazil midfielder was excellent when Rudi Garcia’s workforce gained in Paris in December and his arrival from AC Milan for 20 million euros ($23.9m) firstly of the season has been key to creating Lyon title contenders.

The left-footed playmaker — who was delivered to Milan by Leonardo, now PSG’s sporting director — had scored three targets in 4 league video games earlier than being despatched off within the 1-1 draw at Marseille late final month. He returned from suspension final weekend at Reims and can begin in opposition to the reigning champions on Sunday.

Key stats

9 – Neymar has not featured in any of PSG’s final 9 video games as he recovers health following his newest harm.

5 – Lyon have overwhelmed PSG 5 occasions in Ligue 1 because the begin of 2011/12, greater than every other workforce has managed in opposition to the capital membership below Qatari possession.

3 – Jorge Sampaoli can turn into the primary Marseille coach to win his first three Ligue 1 video games in cost since Elie Baup in 2012 if his facet beat Good.

Fixtures (Kick-offs GMT)

Friday

Saint-Etienne v Monaco (2000)

Saturday

Metz v Rennes (1200), Good v Marseille (1600)

Sunday

Strasbourg v Lens (1200), Brest v Angers, Dijon v Reims, Montpellier v Bordeaux, Nantes v Lorient (all 1400), Lille v Nimes (1605), Lyon v Paris Saint-Germain (2000)

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