PSG will be keen to sign off for the World Cup with yet another win, this time against Auxerre at the Parc des Princes.

Defending champions PSG will be keen to keep their unbeaten start to the season intact ahead of the World Cup hiatus when they welcome Auxerre to the Parc des Princes on Sunday.

Christophe Galtier’s men have progressed to the Last 16 of the UEFA Champions League and also sit pretty at the top of the Ligue 1 standings. With a five-point lead already available at the top of the table, the aim will be to maintain the status quo and keep the momentum going.

Following Napoli’s loss to Liverpool at Anfield last week, Paris Saint-Germain are the lone club in Europe’s top five leagues to not experience defeat this season. Auxerre will have to pull out all stops to upset the applecart and arrive in the French capital as massive underdogs.

A strong finish to the 2021/22 campaign saw Auxerre secure promotion to the top flight last season. They have done decently of late and are currently 15th going into the weekend’s clashes. On paper, it is as David vs Goliath a tie as any.

PSG do not just have a 28-game unbeaten run at home to protect, but also a 12-year run of avoiding defeat to newly promoted sides. Clearly, the cards are stacked against Christophe Pelissier’s side. The Hard Tackle looks at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ.

Team News & Tactics


The French giants have been impressive going forward but have failed to keep a clean sheet on several occasions. These defensive frailties could come back to haunt PSG should opposition teams seek to have a go.

However, Auxerre are the second lowest scorers in the French top flight and could struggle to break down the home side’s rearguard. PSG will take to the field on the night sans Keylor Navas and Fabian Ruiz, both of whom are nursing knocks.

Lionel Messi was nursing an inflamed Achilles tendon but should be fit for the tie. However, with the World Cup so close, it remains to be seen if the Argentine will be risked for the game. French centre-back Presnel Kimpembe is also back in training and could be in contention to start the game.

Galtier is likely to go with a 3-4-1-2 formation that has brought them success this season. Gianluigi Donnarumma should start in goal behind the back three of Sergio Ramos, Marquinhos and Danilo Pereira. They will be flanked by the full-back duo of Achraf Hakimi and Nuno Mendes.

Italian star Marco Verratti does not have to worry about the upcoming tournament in Qatar and is expected to start alongside Vitinha. The duo have formed a good partnership and will once again lay the foundations for eh side’s dominance on the field.

Messi is unlikely to be risked with Spanish international Carlos Soler donning the number 10 role. He is likely to start behind the dynamic duo of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. Hugo Ekitike could be set to start on the bench and could be brought on in the second half of the game.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Donnarumma; Ramos, Marquinhos, Pereira; Hakimi, Vitinha, Verratti, Mendes; Soler; Neymar, Mbappe


The Ligue 1 minnows face an uphill task on Sunday and will need to channel in their best performance to come away with anything more than a loss. They might have to do so sans Kays Ruiz-Atil as the former PSG man recently picked up a knock.

Auxerre will also be without Theo Pellenard, who ruptured his cruciate ligament and is a long-term absentee. The visitors will also miss Youssouf M’Changama and Brayann Pereira, who are nursing injuries. It is not all bad news as M’Baye Niang will return to contention following his suspension.

Christophe Pelissier is likely to go into the game with a defensive mindset and could play around with the idea of deploying a five-man rearguard. However, he could start with a standard 4-4-2 system that will be keen to stay rigid and cut off passing lanes for the PSG players.

Benoit Costil should start in goal behind the back four of Remy Dugimont, Jubal, Julian Jeanvier and Gideon Mensah. Birama Toure and Hamza Sakhi should start in central midfield, with Lassine Sinayoko and Gauthier Hein providing the width.

M’Baye Niang is likely to be restored to the first XI alongside Gaetan Perrin. Nuno da Costa is likely to settle for a spot on the bench and could be brought on in the second half of the game. Perrin is also capable of playing as a number 10 and could drop deep should Auxerre shift to a 4-5-1.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Costil; Dugimont, Jubal, Jeanvier, Mensah; Sinayoko, Toure, Sakhi, Hein; Perrin, Niang

Key Stats

  • This is the first meeting between both teams in Ligue 1 since December 2011. PSG have not lost at home to a promoted side since 2010, a run that extends for 30 matches.
  • PSG are unbeaten in the last 28 Ligue 1 games at the Parc des Princes. It is the longest unbeaten run of that category across Europe’s top five leagues.
  • Auxerre have scored one goal each in their last seven Ligue 1 games. This is their longest such run since managing to go 11 games with the same scoring prowess in 2011.
  • Conceding two goals on Sunday will see PSG letting in twice or more in three straight home games for the first time since 2007.
  • Avoiding a loss on Sunday will see PSG go through 2022 unbeaten at home. They have achieved this twice before in 2013 and 2017.

Player to Watch

Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe will be keen to hit the ground running for PSG against Auxerre. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The French superstar is expected to spearhead his nation’s World Cup defence in Qatar and will be keen to travel on the back of a goalscoring outing. With 11 goals so far, Mbappe is the joint top scorer in Ligue 1 this season, alongside teammate Neymar.

Bursting with pace and drive, the 23-year-old will be a difficult man to pin down. The ability to drift into channels and then outpace his marker has brought Mbappe so much joy in his career. With Auxerre far from secure at the back, Mbappe could find himself at the end of several goalscoring opportunities on the night.


PSG 3-0 Auxerre

To his credit, Christophe Pelissier has instilled some steel into Auxerre, making them a much more determined outfit. However, PSG are bursting to the seams with proven talent and should have enough in the tank to see off the visitors.

PSG certainly have the initiative going into the tie, and an early goal could get the ball rolling. The Paris-based side are expected to win comfortably by a margin of three goals on the night.

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