A return for Kylian Mbappé, and a challenge in Lens for Strasbourg — here’s our look at Saturday’s matches for Matchday 21.
Fans of Paris Saint-Germain will surely have a had a hearts-in-mouth moment when Kylian Mbappé was forced off injured against Brest in the Coupe de France midweek. The talismanic striker would be a miss against Lille, to be sure, but his presence had the potential to be even more decisive as the capital side are set to resume their Champions League campaign against Spanish side Real Sociedad in the week.
As it turns out, Mbappé is fit enough for Luis Enrique’s squad, but is unlikely to be risked with an eye on Wednesday’s Champions League clash. The same is likely true for Marquinhos, among others, as PSG have built a comfortable eight-point lead over Nice, who will face a daunting task in their derby against Monaco.
This could allow Lille to spring a surprise. Les Dogues have been far stronger at home than on the road this season, but they did draw against the leaders in the reverse fixture, and unlike their hosts, don’t have European football to worry about in the week, as their Conference League campaign won’t resume for another fortnight. A win would see Lille go provisionally third, no mean feat, and also put pressure on the sides around them, giving this match relatively high stakes.
Elsewhere, in Saturday’s early match, two form teams clash as Lens host Strasbourg. Franck Haise’s side will be in Europe League action in the week, and may have one eye on that match, but they shouldn’t underestimate a Strasbourg side who have found their feet in recent months.
Patrick Vieiria’s side will head to the north of France with plenty of confidence, but an injury-hit attack, as long-term absentees Kévin Gameiro and Lebo Mothiba have recently been joined by Ângelo Gabirel and Moïse Sahi Dion. Emanuel Emegha and Dilane Bakwa remain dangerous, though, and Racing’s battling midfield trio will be eager to make things difficult for the hosts, giving this match the potential to thrill.