Paris Saint-Germain and Nice are set to square off in Monday’s tasty-looking Coupe de France last-16 tie at the Parc des Princes.
Though PSG head into proceedings as clear-cut favourites to reach the competition’s quarter-finals, let’s see why Les Aiglons could stage an upset in Paris.
A host of first-team stars missing for PSG
Mauricio Pochettino will face a sizeable headache when it comes to his squad selection, with several key first-team figures unavailable for various reasons.
Marquee goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is ruled out with a calf injury, meaning Keylor Navas is likely to return between the sticks.
In addition to long-term absentee Juan Bernat, PSG will be without Marquinhos, Abdou Diallo and Achraf Hakimi, who are away on international duty with their countries.
Adding to a growing list of injured defenders, Sergio Ramos has recently picked up another physical setback and is likely to remain on the sidelines.
Moving further up the pitch, Georginio Wijnaldum is dealing with an ankle problem, while Angel Di Maria is currently busy helping Argentina break records in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying group.
Given the abovementioned injury crisis, it is not surprising that PSG have set their sights on Chelsea loan Conor Gallagher.
On the bright side, though, Lionel Messi has returned to the fold in time to meet Nice, per the Daily Mail.
Pochettino cannot count on injury-prone Neymar, so the return of the world’s best player is probably the only comforting news the PSG faithful have received in recent days.
Half of the team missing, right?
PSG win but they are missing something
Les Parisiens have racked up an intimidating 15-game unbeaten run in domestic actions ahead of this clash (W10, D5), last losing to Rennes 2-0 in early October.
However, Paris are still trying to find their identity under Pochettino.
They have scored one goal or less in four of their last eight matches against top-tier rivals, suggesting the Argentine manager has yet to piece things together up top.
Despite boasting arguably the fiercest attacking line-up in European football, Pochettino has built his side’s recent success on an air-tight defence.
PSG have kept a clean sheet in three of their four competitive outings since the calendar year flipped to 2022, which has been the case in four of their last five home games.
But barring a scintillating 4-0 romping of Brest last time out, their attacking showings have failed to live up the billing.
Christophe Galtier is not playing around
Christophe Galtier has turned a mid-table Nice side into genuine top-four contenders in Ligue 1 in less than a year since arriving from Lille.
Even during his time at Les Dogues, the highly-rated manager seemingly had PSG’s number.
He did not only avoid defeat in both seasonal encounters against Paris in Ligue 1 last season (W1, D1), but he also managed to hold Kylian Mbappe and co at bay on each occasion.
Adding to this sentiment, in his first meeting with runaway Ligue 1 leaders as a Nice manager back in December, Galtier eked out a scoreless draw at the Parc des Princes.
Nice are flying high
Since falling to a dismal 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Strasbourg in early December, Nice have strung together six consecutive wins in domestic action.
Five of those six victories saw them score 2+ goals, suggesting Galtier has found the formula to make the most out of his talented, albeit inexperienced side.
What’s more, they have won their last four competitive away fixtures by an aggregate score of 8-1, keeping a clean sheet in each of the last three in a row.
It is fair to admit that Galtier has laid the foundations for another massive upset after lifting the Ligue 1 crown with Lille last season.
Prediction: PSG 1-2 Nice
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