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Strasbourg-PSG preview: Paris set to seal title

Strasbourg-PSG preview: Paris set to seal title

Publish on 05/26 at 02:36 - A. SCOTT


Paris Saint-Germain will be crowned champions on Saturday evening as long as they avoid defeat against RC Strasbourg Alsace at the Stade de la Meinau. The home side are hoping to confirm their top-flight survival.

RC Strasbourg Alsace – Paris Saint-Germain Saturday at 21:00 CET (1900 GMT)


PSG come into the penultimate weekend of the campaign leading second-placed RC Lens by six points with just two games to play. The capital side will therefore clinch a French record 11th top-flight title as long as they avoid defeat on their trip east. However, they will even be champions in defeat should Lens fail to win at home to already-relegated AC Ajaccio.

The Parisians also know that a defeat in Strasbourg and a win for Lens would almost certainly just mean they secure the Hexagoal trophy on the last night of the season in front of their own fans against Clermont Foot 63. After all, Christophe Galtier’s side have a goal difference advantage of 16 and have also scored far more goals than their nearest challengers. However, having been top of the table since the opening weekend of the season, they will want to get the job done at a packed Stade de la Meinau rather than leave it until the final night.

Done enough

Having stumbled through the early months of 2023, PSG have set themselves up for the ninth Ligue 1 title of the Qatar era at the Parc des Princes thanks to their results since early April. They have won six of their last seven games, including a 2-1 victory away to AJ Auxerre last weekend when Kylian Mbappé made the difference with an early brace, leaving him clear atop the scorers charts on 28 league goals for the campaign. Like so often recently, it was not a completely convincing performance from the league leaders, but they still had enough to get the result they needed.

“What I take away from the game is the victory that leaves Lens very little hope of catching us,” said Galtier after the match in Burgundy. “We are six points clear. We will have a difficult match in Strasbourg. I hope we have the good fortune to win it and to be able to celebrate it in our last match with our supporters at the Parc.”

PSG have not always been given an easy ride against Strasbourg in recent seasons, however. They lost 2-1 at the Stade de la Meinau in December 2017, their first visit there on Strasbourg’s return to Ligue 1 after almost a decade away. Paris are undefeated against Racing since then, although they drew 3-3 in this fixture last season, squandering a two-goal lead. Earlier this season it took a stoppage-time Kylian Mbappé penalty for the Parisians to win 2-1 in their first game back after the World Cup.

Strasbourg as good as safe

Strasbourg may be more dangerous now that the pressure is almost completely off them. They could have officially secured safety last weekend had they not been pegged back to draw 1-1 away at relegated ESTAC Troyes after Habib Diarra put them ahead. However, Frédéric Antonetti’s side are now six points clear of fourth-bottom FC Nantes with two games to go. They are also five points above Auxerre in 16th and have a better goal difference than both of those sides.

The only way in which Strasbourg’s six-year stay in the elite could be brought to an end is if they lose their final two matches – they visit FC Lorient on the final day – and both Nantes and Auxerre win both of theirs. Nantes would also then need to wipe out the Alsatians’ considerable goal difference advantage.

In other words, Strasbourg are as nailed on to be safe as PSG are to win the title.

“Our survival is not yet mathematically assured, but we are in a very favourable situation,” said coach Antonetti, who has done well since being appointed in February, overseeing six wins and three draws in 13 matches. Able to relax a little more this weekend, Strasbourg’s Corsican coach is looking forward to welcoming Lionel Messi to the Meinau.

“They are stronger than us. We know that,” he said. “When I analyse Paris, it is a real pleasure to see them play. Messi is football. He is Monsieur football. It is true that he walks a little bit, but even at walking pace he understands football better than anyone.”

Strasbourg will be without Alexander Djiku after the Ghana defender was sent off against Troyes. In addition, Frédéric Guilbert, Maxime Le Marchand and 20-goal top scorer Habib Diallo have all been dealing with fitness issues. Neymar Jr, Presnel Kimpembe, Nuno Mendes and Nordi Mukiele are all still sidelined for PSG. Achraf Hakimi completes a two-match ban.

Possible teams

Strasbourg: Sels; Doukouré, Nyamsi, Le Marchand, Perrin, Guilbert; Diarra, Sissoko, Sanson, Bellegarde; Diallo

Paris SG: Donnarumma; Danilo Pereira, Marquinhos (c), Ramos; Zaïre-Emery, Ruiz, Verratti, Bernat; Messi, Ekitiké, Mbappé

>> Mbappé closes in on top scorer prize

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