Hexagoal Ligue 1 Trophy

No Neymar, no problem, with Icardi & Mbappé shining

Publish on 31/10/2019 at 01:00


PSG head to Dijon on Friday evening without the injured Neymar, but with Mauro Icardi and Kylian Mbappé shining alongside Angel Di Maria, the league leaders should have few worries against the league's basement dwellers.

 Dijon FCO - Paris Saint-Germain 


Neymar Jr. was late to start the 2019/20 Ligue 1 Conforama season following an ankle injury and a will he, won't he? move to Barcelona, but hit the ground running on his return, scoring four goals in five league games.

A hamstring injury picked up in Brazil's friendly 1-1 draw with Nigeria during the recent international break forced Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel to shuffle his deck, but if last Sunday's 4-0 Classique win over Olympique de Marseille is anything to go by, Neymar might struggle to get back into the team.

Raining goals

Icardi and Mbappé both scored twice against OM at the Parc des Princes, while Di Maria laid on two assists. PSG have now won each of their past three games without Neymar, scoring 13 goals in the process, and Tuchel is understandably delighted.

Watch: Highlights of PSG's 4-0 win over Marseille

"Three wins in 10 days is a great return," the coach reflected following victories over OGC Nice, Club Brugge and latterly Marseille. "We prepared well. We talked tactics and then it was just about motivation. Marquinhos and Thiago Silva spoke to the rest of the team before the match."

PSG play Brugge again next Wednesday, with their progress from UEFA Champions League Group A all but assured. Tuchel has the luxury of being able to rotate, with Edinson Cavani among those pushing for start, but he may be tempted to capitalise on Icardi's hot streak.

'More than I could've hoped for'

"I felt really good tonight. I scored two goals in my first Classique - more than I could've hoped for," said the FC Internazionale Milano-owned Argentine, who has scored seven in seven in all competitions for the capital club. "We won this big match in style and that's the most important thing. Angel Di Maria supplied me with two great passes and at the end of the match and we had a good moment with the supporters to celebrate the match together. It was fantastic."

       Verratti (r.) has signed a five-year deal with PSG

There was more good news for PSG this week with Italy midfielder Marco Verratti extending his contract with the club. Now the club's most decorated player having picked up six Ligue 1 Conforama titles, five Coupes de la Ligue and four Coupes de France since his arrival from Pescara Calcio in 2012, Verratti's new deal runs until 2024.

Should he play on Friday, the 26-year-old will not have Idrissa Gueye for company in the PSG midfield, though. The Senegalese enforcer has a hamstring injury, and joins Belgian right-back Thomas Meunier on the sidelines.

Not exactly cutting the mustard...

PSG are likely to have things their own way at the Stade Gaston Gérard. Dijon have never beaten the champions in nine attempts since their first promotion to the top flight in 2011, conceding 31 and scoring just three against Les Rouge et Bleu.

Watch: Highlights of Dijon's 2-0 loss to Brest

Friday's hosts have also lost their last two games 2-0 - to Stade Brestois 29 in the league on Saturday and then Girondins de Bordeaux in the Coupe de la Ligue on Tuesday - and Tuchel's opposite number Stéphane Jobard, who's side are bottom of the league, is far from optimistic.


"We simply don't have a squad deep enough to rotate every three days like PSG can," he said. "We have a tough run of games and I can't afford to use all of my best players in every match, but over the last half hour we embarrassed Bordeaux, we put them on the back foot. I'm very satisfied with some of my players who haven't played a lot."

Venezuela forward Jhonder Cadiz and 18-year-old midfielder Enzo Loiodice were among those to further their cause against Bordeaux, although Jobard is likely to lean on usual first-teamers Julio Tavares and Didier Ndong against PSG. Nayef Aguerd is perhapos the only regular who would start but can't. The Morocco defender has a twisted ankle.


Possible teams

Dijon: Gomis; Alphonse, Coulibaly, Ecuele Manga, Mendyl; Lautoa, Ndong; Baldé, Amalfitano, Chouiar; Tavares

PSG: Navas; Dagba, Diallo, Kimpembe, Bernat; Herrera, Paredes, Draxler; Di Maria, Cavani, Sarabia