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Much-changed PSG face stiff Montpellier test

Publish on 20/02/2019 at 00h00 - S. WILLIS

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PSG will be without seven senior-squad names - including Neymar, Edinson Cavani, Thiago Silva and Leandro Paredes - as they play their rescheduled Week 17 clash with Montpellier at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

 Paris Saint-Germain - Montpellier Hérault SC 

PSG may already boast a 12-point lead atop the Ligue 1 Conforama standings, but they have two matches up their sleeve and will be looking to boost that advantage to 15 points as Montpellier come calling some two months after the Week 17 fixture was postponed.

Headaches

The capital club's busy schedule in France and Europe made it impossible for the match to be played before now, and it is that same plethora of competitive commitments that has helped leave coach Thomas Tuchel in something of bind concerning his team selection.

On top of injuries to Neymar, Edinson Cavani, Thomas Meunier and Juan Bernat, the German tactician has captain Thiago Silva out suspended, while winter signing Leandro Paredes is ineligible as he arrived in Ligue 1 after the match was initially scheduled to be played.

Accumulation

And then there is the question of fatigue, which has prompted Tuchel to rest the likes of Angel Di Maria and Marquinhos, both instrumental in the recent 2-0 win over Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League and the 1-0 league win in Saint-Etienne at the weekend.

"It's not easy because there are only two days between matches at the moment and a lot of travelling. It's very important that the players sleep a lot, that we don't take any risks with them," said Tuchel, who is tipped to go with 4-4-2 formation with Kylian Mbappé partnered by Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting up front. "At the same time, they have to keep training to be ready to play. We need to find the right balance between training and recovery. We can't ask too much of the players, we try and keep the meetings short and the video sessions short as well."

Der Zakarian: 'It's not the Care Bears'

Meanwhile Montpellier boss Michel Der Zakarian, whose side held high-flying LOSC to a 0-0 draw in Week 25, isn't interested in the problems faced by his counterpart. The straight-shooting former defender, whose side can go fourth and make a tilt at the Champions League places with a win, has his eyes firmly on a three-point haul.

"We're not going there to watch them play. We're going there to win the match," he declared flatly. "We will need rigour and precision. We will respect them, but this is a contact sport, with tough physical challenges. It's not the Care Bears, and what's more, PSG aren't exactly a bunch of Care Bears either."

Der Zakarian will have to do without co-top scorer Andy Delort, out with a pubic bone injury, but partner in crime Gaëtan Laborde is set to line up on the right side of attack in a 5-2-3 formation.


Probable teams

Paris Saint-Germain: Areola (c); Dagba, Kehrer, Kimpembe, L. Kurzawa; M. Diaby, Verratti, Nkunku, Draxler; Mbappé, Choupo-Moting

Montpellier Hérault SC: Lecomte; Aguilar, P. Mendes, Hilton (c), Congré, Lasne; Skhiri, D. Le Tallec; Laborde, Skuletic, Mollet