Hexagoal Ligue 1 Trophy

Mbappé and Neymar back to get PSG over the line?

Publish on 18/04/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS


Kylian Mbappé and Neymar Jr. are back in contention as Paris Saint-Germain go in search of the point they need to wrap up the Ligue 1 Conforama title at home to AS Monaco on Sunday night.

Paris Saint-Germain - AS Monaco 

PSG have roared towards a sixth French title in seven years this season, but recent form - not helped by a raft of injuries - has seen their growl reduced to a whimper.

Thomas Tuchel's side have needed just a point to get over the line for more than a week now, but first LOSC and then FC Nantes have had other ideas, subjecting the capital club to their first back-to-back defeats since November 2011.

Neymar nearing return

Neymar has been nursing a metatarsal injury since January but returned to first-team training this week; Mbappé started last Sunday's 5-1 loss in Lille before being rested for the 3-2 Nantes reverse, although there was no controversy around the latter decision.

"We played very badly and deserved to lose," explained Tuchel after the Nantes game. "In Lille, we controlled the match, but today we failed to perform for 90 minutes. We can play and we can lose and we'll always defend the players if they have the right mindset and play with hunger, but today that's not possible.

"We had nine injured players recuperating at Camp des Loges and we saw the consequences. I don't know how many of them will be back for Monaco on Sunday. It's a difficult situation. Leaving out Kylian Mbappé was my decision. There is no further explanation."

Long injury list

The Monaco match could come too soon for Neymar, while other likely absentees include club captain Thiago Silva (knee), 17-goal Edinson Cavani (thigh) and an Angel Di Maria (thigh) who has laid on 10 top-flight goals this term.

Visiting Monaco were the last team to take the French title off PSG, the principality side finishing seven points clear in 2017 when Mbappé was still wearing Rouge et Blanc.

This season has been radically different, though, and Leonardo Jardim's side head to the Parc des Princes on Sunday just nine points above the automatic relegation places.

Monaco roulette

Jardim was replaced by Thierry Henry in October, only to be re-appointed in January with the club second from bottom, and although he has steadied the ship, Monaco's own recent wobble - winless in three - is a cause for concern.

"The team showed a great attitude, just as they have done over the last two games," Jardim said following last Saturday's goalless draw with Stade de Reims. "They're playing well and trying to make things happen, but the ball doesn't want to go in. There's always a foot or a save. I think our top-flight survival will be decided on the final day."

Jardim's midfielder Cesc Fabregas has rather more ambitious aims.

Champions League return?

"Next year, our aim is to finish on the podium and to get back into the Champions League," he said. "This year's an exception. We know it's difficult to fight against PSG but we want to be the best team after them, that's our principal objective for next season."

With a clean bill of health, perhaps Jardim can challenge PSG sooner than that, if only to delay this season's title celebrations for one more game.

Possible teams

PSG: Areola; Kehrer, Marquinhos (c), Kimpembe; Dagba, Verratti, Paredes, Kurzawa; Di María, Mbappé, Diaby

Monaco: Subasic; Henrichs, Glik, Jemerson, Ballo-Touré; Silva, Aholou; Martins, Golovin, Lopes; Falcao (c)