PSG hope for Kylian Mbappe boost after shock home loss
Paris Saint-Germain will look to shake off a rare home league defeat this weekend when they travel to Bordeaux, where Kylian Mbappe could return from a month out with a thigh injury. Thomas Tuchel’s side, depleted by a raft of injuries, slumped to a 2-0 loss against Reims on Wednesday which ended an unbeaten 22-match run at the Parc des Princes.
Discounting a handful of defeats after winning the league in previous seasons, it was PSG’s first meaningful loss at home since November 2012.
“It was a poor performance. We had a lot of players missing, that’s why we made so many changes,” said Tuchel.
“I have to manage the playing time of the squad. And I think it was possible to play better with the team we had on the pitch.”
PSG remain top of Ligue 1 on goal difference, above surprise second-place side Angers, but defender Marquinhos said they must strive to consistently keep the bar high.
“The challenge for this season will be to maintain a high level each match,” said Marquinhos. “We must inspire ourselves to rise to this challenge.”
Neymar, who produced late match-winning strikes in his first two games this season, cut a peripheral figure midweek with Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Mauro Icardi all missing.
Tuchel spoke of taking a cautious approach with the 20-year-old Mbappe, who has missed the last five matches but is back in training with the squad.
Lyon’s bright start under first-time manager Sylvinho is a distant memory with the club winless in five matches since beginning the campaign with two resounding wins.
The latest setback came at Brest where the hosts twice recovered to earn a 2-2 draw, a result that dropped Lyon into the bottom half of the table.
“We didn’t play well. I’m not satisfied, once again we lost the three points in the final minutes,” said Sylvinho, whose team host fourth-placed Nantes on Saturday.
“We have a lack of confidence and it generates fear. I am a little concerned about the results, but the first step is to restore confidence. To do that, we need to win matches.”
Monaco picked up their first victory this term on Tuesday and will host Brest at the weekend, while Marseille -- held to a 0-0 draw at basement side Dijon -- are at home to Rennes on Sunday.
One to watch: Victor Osimhen
While Nicolas Pepe is slowly adjusting to life in the Premier League at Arsenal, Victor Osimhen has made an electric start in Lille colours after arriving from Belgian club Charleroi.
The 20-year-old Nigerian was limited to a 45-minute appearance in the third-place play-off match at the Africa Cup of Nations but has scored six times in his first seven Ligue 1 games for Lille.
He is the joint top-scorer in the division alongside Moussa Dembele and will attempt to inflict more damage this weekend on Nice, who are reeling from Tuesday’s 3-1 loss at struggling Cote d’Azur rivals Monaco.
44 - PSG’s midweek loss against Reims marked the first time in 44 matches they had failed to score in Ligue 1. It was the longest such run in the history of the French top flight.
6 - Six of Angers’ league-leading 15 goals have been scored by substitutes this season, more than any other club in Europe’s top five divisions.
17 - Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Stefan Bajic, at 17 years and nine months, in midweek became the first goalkeeper born this century to play in Ligue 1.
Fixtures (all times 1800 GMT unless stated)
Lyon v Nantes (1130), Bordeaux v Paris Saint-Germain (1530), Angers v Amiens, Metz v Toulouse, Monaco v Brest, Nice v Lille, Reims v Dijon
Strasbourg v Montpellier (1300), Nimes v Saint-Etienne (1500), Marseille v Rennes (1900)
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- Arsenal were bidding for a fourth successive league win but could find no way through an obdurate Palace who, if anything, might feel they could have emerged with a win.
- Athletic Bilbao knocked out defending champion Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup with a 2-1 win, setting up a final against Barcelona.