Paris Saint-Germain will be keen to keep their good form going when they take on Stade Brestois 29 at Parc des Princes on Saturday.

Defending Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain are yet to experience defeat this season and have looked nigh on unstoppable thus far. They put in a solid performance against Juventus in the UEFA Champions League earlier this week and will now reprise domestic commitments against Brest at home.

With another UEFA Champions League clash against Maccabi Haifa coming up next, Christophe Galtier could choose to rotate his squad this weekend. Brest have the second-worst defence in the French top flight this season and face an uphill battle against the free-scoring PSG.

Brest might not be as bad as the numbers suggest and are effective on the counter. However, the Parc des Princes is not a happy hunting ground for them, and Les Pirates have failed to win at the venue since the 1981/82 campaign. In fact, they have not beaten PSG since David Beckham’s last-ever game in 2013.

With just one win from six games this season, Brest are there for the taking. PSG will go into the game as heavy favourites and should get the better of the away side, even with changes. Whether the Pirates can rise against history and current form and make a case for themselves remains to be seen. The Hard Tackle looks at how both sides could line up for the night and what tactics they might deploy.

Team News & Tactics

Paris Saint-Germain

Christophe Galtier has a fully fit squad to choose from and should make a few changes to the lineup to keep the players’ legs fresh. The PSG manager is unlikely to deviate from his 3-4-3 formation that has brought the French champions much joy this season.

Gianluigi Donnarumma will start in goal behind the back three of birthday boy Danilo Pereira, Marquinhos and Presnel Kimpembe. Juan Bernat and Renato Sanches could replace Nuno Mendes and Vitinha in the starting XI, with Fabian Ruiz also potentially coming in for the ever-present Marco Verratti. Achraf Hakimi is likely to keep his place in the side and could make way for Nordi Mukiele midway through the game on the night.

Kylian Mbappe has been on fire this season but appeared lost after a crunching tackle from Gleison Bremer against Juventus. The PSG talisman played the entire game and could be rested this weekend. This could enable Pablo Sabaria to join Neymar and Lionel Messi upfront.

The game could allow Galtier to take a closer look at some of his summer recruits. PSG have been heavily reliant on Verratti to run the show in the middle of the park, and the game against Brest could help them try out viable alternatives. Either way, the home side should have enough in their tank to secure three points on the night.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Donnarumma; Kimpembe, Marquinhos, Pereira; Bernat, Ruiz, Sanches, Hakimi; Messi; Neymar, Sarabia

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Stade Brestois 29

Brest have won just one game this season in Ligue 1 and come into the clash under the threat of being sucked into the relegation dogfight. It represents a far cry from their 11th-placed finish in the league last season.

Brest cannot afford to make silly mistakes against PSG and will need to be at the top of their game. Michel Der Zakarian could be without the quartet of Noah Fadiga, Steve Mounie, Romain Del Castillo and Jeremy Le Douaron, all of whom are nursing knocks.

The Pirates are likely to turn out in a 4-2-3-1 formation that could close into a 4-5-1 when defending. The aim will be to cut off service to PSG’s attack before they can wreak havoc. Brest will do well to not concede an early goal, handing PSG an early advantage.

Marco Bizot should start in goal behind the back four of Lilian Brassier, Achraf Dari, Brendan Chardonnet and Jean-Kevin Duverne. Hugo Magnetti and Haris Belkebla will form the double pivot and will be in charge of keeping Messi silent, a task easier said than done.

Youcef Belaili and Franck Honorat will start on the wings and will look to support Pierre Lees-Melou in creating opportunities for striker Islam Slimani. While it is unlikely that PSG will take their foot off the gas, Brest could hit them on the counter should Galtier’s men take it easy.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Bizot; Brassier, Dari, Chardonnet, Duverne; Magnetti, Belkebla, Belaili, Lees-Melou, Honorat; Slimani

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Key Stats

  • PSG have won the last nine meetings against Brest in Ligue 1. They have only won more games in a row against Angiers (12) in the current French top flight.
  • Brest have lost to PSG 17 times in Ligue 1, more than any other opposition in the competition. They have won just three of the 31 games against PSG in the top flight.
  • PSG’s current goal difference of +20 is the best any team has had after six Ligue 1 games since Reims managed the same tally in the 1952/53 season.
  • Brest have conceded 16 goals in their first six Ligue 1 games this season. This is their worst defensive record at this stage in top-flight history.
  • PSG are currently on a 24-game unbeaten run at home, the best current run in Ligue 1.
  • Brest have scored three goals from outside the box in Ligue 1 this season, more than any other side in the French top flight.

Player to Watch

Neymar

Time to keep the good times rolling. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)
Time to keep the good times rolling. (Photo by Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images)

The Brazilian has been PSG’s standout player this season but failed to find the back of the net in the last two games. Neymar will be keen to set the record straight and get back to scoring ways this weekend.

Neymar has built up a solid partnership with Messi, and the duo could cause havoc in the Brest backline. Both a creator and a scorer, the Brazilian international could be on for a rich haul against the Pirates.

Prediction

Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 Brest

Despite potentially fielding a weakened side, PSG have enough in their ranks to see off a Brest side that is struggling for consistency. With home support and an irresistible attack to boot, Christsophe Galtier’s men could enjoy a field day against a side that have been porous in defence this season. The Hard Tackle believes PSG will coast home to a comfortable 3-0 win with plenty to spare in the tank.

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