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PSG seek Guingamp revenge

Publish on 17/01/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS

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Top meets bottom in Ligue 1 Conforama as leaders Paris Saint-Germain welcome EA Guingamp to the Parc des Princes on Saturday, the sides' second meeting in the capital in 2019.

Paris Saint-Germain  -  EA Guingamp

Just 10 days on from Guingamp's stunning victory in Paris in the Coupe de la Ligue quarter-finals, Thomas Tuchel's side have the chance to gain revenge as they look to take another step towards winning a seemingly inevitable league title.

PSG are still unbeaten in the league this season, holding a huge lead over second-placed LOSC as well as games in hand on the teams below them. They had not lost a domestic game at all under Tuchel before Guingamp's stunning 2-1 victory on January 9, which came after Neymar Jr had put the home side in front, the visitors netting two of their three penalties on the night to go through to the semi-finals.

Tuchel's team got back on track after that defeat, their first in 45 domestic cup games going back to 2014, with a 3-0 win away at Amiens last weekend. They then jetted off to Qatar on Sunday for a four-night tour, fulfilling sponsors obligations and undertaking some warm-weather training, as well as taking part in a spot of camel racing!

Packed schedule

"I have always thought that it's very important to have a break during a season to recharge the batteries," goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon said in an interview with the club's website. "I hope this tour of Qatar will help us achieve our objectives in the second half of the season."

Paris will now play a minimum of 14 games in the next eight weeks, up to the March international break. That run includes the two legs of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie against Manchester United, but before that the Guingamp game is the first of three home games in nine days.

"We need to prepare for what we have coming up. We started 2019 without any big preparations, because we went straight back into playing games. Now we have a bit of time and we are going to take advantage of it to get some work done," Kylian Mbappé, who got his 18th goal of the season against Amiens, told PSG.fr in Qatar.

After hosting Guingamp, Paris welcome RC Strasbourg Alsace to the capital in the round of 32 of the Coupe de France and then host Stade Rennais FC next weekend.

Guingamp with 'nothing to lose'

Jocelyn Gourvennec's Guingamp side return to Paris with a spring in their step having beaten Rennes 2-1 in a rearranged fixture in midweek, ending a run of four successive Ligue 1 Conforama wins for their Brittany rivals.

Guingamp have now won four of their last five games in all competitions, the exception being last weekend's 1-0 loss at home to AS Saint-Etienne. Nevertheless, they remain bottom of the table, four points from safety.

"In terms of how we defend, we have taken our inspiration from the game in Paris," said Gourvennec, who described the win over Rennes - in which Félix Eboa Eboa and Lucas Deaux both scored headers - as "great for our confidence".

"No doubt after being so frustrated last time, they are going to make it extra difficult for us," warned Deaux of returning to Paris. "But we have nothing to lose - this game is like a bonus for us."

The Bretons on Thursday unveiled their latest signing in the shape of Mehdi Merghem, a 21-year-old midfielder signed from Châteauroux in Domino's Ligue 2. Other new recruits who could feature this weekend are Papy Djilobodji, Didier Ndong and Swedish international full-back Johan Larsson.

Probable teams

PSG: Buffon – Meunier, Kehrer, Thiago Silva (cap.), Bernat – Verratti, Marquinhos – Di Maria, Neymar – Mbappé, Cavani

Guingamp: Caillard – C.Traoré, Kerbrat (cap.), Eboa Eboa, Rebocho – Didot, Phiri, Blas – Ngbakoto, A.Mendy, M.Thuram