PSG vs Lyon Preview: Prediction, Probable Lineups, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats

PSG will be seeking to regain their aura of invincibility when they welcome Lyon to Parc des Princes on Sunday.

Defending champions PSG have seen their aura of invincibility evaporate over the past few months, heading into the Ligue 1 tie against Lyon at Parc des Princes on Sunday.

Christophe Galtier’s men have lost four league games in 2023, a far cry from their unbeaten run going into the World Cup hiatus at the end of last year. Having been stunned by Rennes before the recently concluded international break, Paris Saint-Germain will be keen to avoid consecutive league defeats for the first time this season.

PSG hold a six-point lead over Marseille and also have a game in hand in the race for the Ligue 1 title. With nothing else to play for, Galtier and co. will be keen to avoid any collapse in the final run-up to the 2022/23 season. To say that a season that promised so much has come off the tracks would be fitting.

Lyon, meanwhile, sits in the tenth spot and have won just one of their last five games in Ligue 1. Laurent Blanc’s men are nine points off a European spot with ten games left and could make a late punt to secure continental football should results go their way.

While travelling to the Parc des Princes is never easy, PSG have looked far from formidable at home of late. They have managed just one clean sheet at the venue in their last 12 games across all competitions and appear worse for wear. There is little doubt that the French champions have been rattled and could face trouble against sides willing to take the initiative.

However, Lyon have been far from formidable this season and are quite inconsistent to boot. Whether the Paris crowd are in for another shock remains to be seen. For now, The Hard Tackle looks at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ.

Team News & Tactics

Paris Saint-Germain

Christophe Galtier’s men lost their 35-game unbeaten streak at home in the league last time around against Rennes as they succumbed to a 2-0 defeat. PSG have looked far from their best and show little conviction of the side that threatened to sweep it all in the first half of the campaign.

The boss will be well aware that his job is on the line. And anything less than three points on the night will just accelerate a potential sacking. While he will have to do so without Presnel Kimpembe and Neymar, who are both out injured, several other key players are set to return to the matchday squad.

Achraf Hakimi and Marquinhos are both in contention to return, handing PSG a timely boost at the back. Sergio Ramos is still recovering from a knock. And a late decision is likely to be made regarding his inclusion in the squad.

Carlos Soler and Nordi Mukiele are also likely to miss out as they continue to recover. A 3-5-2 formation appears to be the flavour for the night, with Gianluigi Donnarumma in goal. Danilo Pereira, Marquinhos and Juan Bernat are likely to form the backline, with Achraf Hakimi and Nuno Mendes functioning as wing-backs. Bernat and Mendes could swap roles when needed, adding dynamism to the PSG left flank.

The trio of Marco Verratti, Vitinha and Fabian Ruiz will form the crux of the midfield, providing not just balance but also the drive to secure domination in the middle of the park and set the tone for the game. The players on the field should also give Galtier the freedom to switch to a 4-1-3-2 formation.

Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe are the usual suspects up front, with the former dropping to a number 10 role when needed. The onus will be on the World Cup heroes to step up and take the bull by the horns on the night.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Donnarumma; Marquinhos, Pereira, Bernat; Hakimi, Verratti, Vitinha, Ruiz, Mendes; Messi, Mbappe


With a Coupe de France semi-final against Nantes coming up, Lyon are unlikely to give the trip to Paris their full priority this weekend. Laurent Blanc’s men are comfortably in mid-table and have little chance of achieving more unless several other results elsewhere go in their favour.

Lyon have proven difficult to beat in recent weeks but lack the x-factor to convert draws to wins. They have drawn three and won just one of their previous five Ligue 1 games.

The visitors have a largely fully-fit squad to choose from for the night. Chelsea loanee Malo Gusto is still ruled out. But Anthony Lopes is back in training following a finger injury and should be in contention to make the squad for the game.

Blanc appears likely to set his side up in a flexible 4-3-3 formation. Remy Riou has done a decent job in goal, but Lopes is likely to be brought back into the playing XI to boost his match fitness ahead of the semi-final against Nantes.

Sael Kumbedi, Dejan Lovren, Castello Lukeba and Nicolas Tagliafico will form the back four, with Corentin Tolisso holding the fort in midfield. The former Bayern Munich man will be entrusted with keeping Marco Verratti quiet and will have a monumental task on his hands.

He should be supported by Johann Lepenant and Maxence Caqueret as they seek to isolate the PSG midfield from the attack. While it is far from foolproof, cutting off supply to Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe while man-marking them has proven to be effective at times. Bradley Barcola and Rayan Cherki will start outside on the flanks and aim to support striker Alexandre Lacazette up front.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Lopes; Kumbedi, Lovren, Lukeba, Tagliafico; Lepenant, Tolisso, Caqueret; Barcola, Lacazette, Cherki

Key Stats

  • Only one of the last 15 Ligue 1 games between PSG and Lyon have ended in a draw. The former has won 10 matches while the latter has come out on top four times. PSG have won ten of their last 15 Ligue 1 matches against Lyon (D1 L4), scoring 32 goals in those 15 matches, averaging 2.1 goals per match
  • PSG have lost four times this year, more than they managed in the entirety of the 2021/22 campaign.
  • A loss on Sunday will condemn PSG to consecutive Ligue 1 defeats for the first time this season.
  • Lyon have lost only one of their last nine Ligue 1 matches (W4 D4), that was on 17 February at Auxerre (1-2). However, they have drawn each of their last three games.
  • Alexandre Lacazette averages a goal every 145 minutes in Ligue 1 with Lyon (117 goals in 17017 minutes played). Of the players who have scored more than three goals in Lyon’s top-flight history, only Sonny Anderson (a goal every 123 minutes – 71 in 8764 minutes) and Moussa Dembele (a goal every 141 minutes – 56 in 7911 minutes) have a better ratio.

Player to Watch

Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe is PSG's main man
Kylian Mbappe is PSG’s main man. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Mbappe was one of the stars of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar and will be PSG’s standout player upfront in Neymar’s absence. His electric burst of pace coupled with the ability to get in behind his marker makes him a strong attacker to go up against.

With Kionel Messi likely to drop deeper to craft opportunities, the onus will be on Mbappe to lead the line. A clinical player, he will be keen to address the team’s poor run of form and get them back to the top of their game. It will come as no surprise if he opens the scoring on the night.


Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Lyon

With an eye on the Coupe de France semi-final, Lyon might take their foot off the gas against PSG on Sunday night. Galtier will be in no mood to take any risks and should have his side fired up. The international break will have given the French champions time to regroup. And with home support to boot, a comfortable 2-0 win should be on the cards.

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