Last 16 in sight already for PSG

UEFA Champions League

Paris Saint-Germain host RSC Anderlecht at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday hoping to seal their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League with two group games to spare.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

UEFA Champions League, Group B

Matchday 4

Paris Saint-Germain  -  RSC Anderlecht 

>> Live scoring and statistics from 20:45 CET

Paris come into matchday four in fine shape having sailed through their opening three group matches with three victories, 12 goals scored and none conceded. After a 4-0 victory away to the Belgian champions a fortnight ago, another win here and their place in the knockout phase for the sixth season running will be secure if Celtic fail to beat Bayern Munich in Glasgow.

Even a draw would be enough if Celtic were to lose against the Germans, although it would be a huge surprise if Anderlecht were to repeat their 1-1 stalemate at the Parc des Princes in the group stage four years ago - they have yet to score a goal or pick up a point in this season's competition.

"Anderlecht have a great history and are accustomed to playing at the top level in Europe," warned PSG coach Unai Emery of the Belgians, winners of five European trophies in their time, including the UEFA Cup in 1983.

Adrien Rabiot and Unai Emery at the eve-of-game press conference

"It is important to remember that history and we will need to show them a lot of respect. Our aim will be to put in a complete performance and overcome all difficulties in order to win the game."

Mbappé rested?

Not much has gone wrong for Paris this season as they sit top of Ligue 1 Conforama and their Champions League group while remaining unbeaten after 15 matches in all competitions. One minor source of concern, however, is the form of Kylian Mbappé. The 18-year-old has four goals from his first 10 appearances for the club, including the opener away to Anderlecht a fortnight ago, but his performance levels have dipped in the last couple of matches.

Emery was quick to defend the on-loan AS Monaco forward on Monday but Mbappé could drop out of the line-up here, with Ángel Di María keeping his place while Neymar Jr returns after a domestic suspension.

Emery added: "I prefer to give an overall analysis of his start to the season rather than just look at one match. Overall, his performances have been good. He is in good shape physically and mentally. The criticism is a new experience for him."

Kylian Mbappé scored the opener in Brussels

"When you play a great game, you read the papers and you're the best. It's normal that that can affect your mentality. But when you play a bad match, you hear criticism. It's important to stay balanced and know the right path. To reach a higher level, you need to be consistent and work hard during the good and bad moments. After these 10 games, he's on the right path and he's getting experience at PSG."

Thiago Motta is the only injury absentee for Paris, while Anderlecht are without Ghanaian defender Emmanuel Sowah and Andy Najar, the Honduran right-back. Les Mauves are currently third in the Jupiler Pro League, nine points behind leaders Club Brugge, so coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck is prioritising Sunday's meeting with them.

But he said: "We're playing one of the best teams in Europe at the moment, and we're focused on that. We're not here to get massacred, and we're not here just to do our jobs - if that were the case, I'd prefer to stay at home."

Probable teams

Paris SG: Aréola; Alves, Marquinhos, Silva (c), Kurzawa; Verratti, Rabiot, Draxler; Di María, Cavani, Neymar Jr

Anderlecht: Boeckx; Appiah, Mbodji, Deschacht, Obradovic; Chipciu, Kums, Dendoncker (c), Trebel, Onyekuru; Teodorczyk

>> UEFA Champions League fixtures/results

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