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Jan 23, 2022 at 7.45pm UK
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Verratti (44'), Ramos (62'), Faes (67' og.), Pereira (75')
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Lopy (56')

Preview: Paris Saint-Germain vs. Reims - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Paris Saint-Germain vs. Reims - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Paris Saint-Germain and Reims, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Paris Saint-Germain will be out to record their fourth home win on the bounce in all competitions when Reims pay a visit to the Parc des Princes for Sunday evening's Ligue 1 fixture.

Mauricio Pochettino's men comfortably beat Brest 2-0 last time out, but the visitors fell to a disappointing 1-0 loss to relegation strugglers Metz.

Match preview

With speculation over Kylian Mbappe's future continuing to rumble on in the background, the 23-year-old did his talking on the pitch for PSG during the visit of Brest last Saturday, firing home a sublime opener in the 32nd minute to set his side on the way to a routine win.

Thilo Kehrer's taste for goals continued with his side's second on the night - now two in his last two Ligue 1 games for the right-back - as PSG responded to a spate of stalemates in ideal fashion, but Brest certainly threatened an upset in the capital.

However, through a combination of staunch defending and good fortune, the runaway leaders posted yet another win and clean sheet to boost their title bid, and an 11-point chasm separates Pochettino's men from closest challengers Nice with over half of the season now gone.

As Les Parisiens continue to ride off into the sunset in Ligue 1, Pochettino may already have one eye on his side's impending Champions League last-16 showdown with Real Madrid, and the difficult fixtures pile up before then with Lille, Nice and Rennes all lying in wait.

The importance of a resounding win this weekend therefore cannot be understated for PSG, who have won 12 of their 13 home games in all competitions this season - scoring at least two goals in all of those victories - and one would expect another goal-laden performance here.

Despite steadying the ship over the autumnal and festive period, Reims still have some work to do to drag themselves away from the dotted line for good, as Oscar Garcia's side saw their momentum halted during a 1-0 home defeat to strugglers Metz last week.

Ibrahima Niane's 61st-minute strike after a quick counter-attack settled the contest in Les Grenats' favour, with Reims substitute Nathanael Mbuku trying but failing to restore parity with a spectacular bicycle kick from a free kick right at the death.

On a brighter note, that 1-0 loss represents only a second defeat from 11 games for Les Rouges et Blancs - who have become renowned for their low-scoring affairs of late - and Garcia's side sit 14th in the rankings ahead of Sunday's game, seven points clear of danger.

Rather incredibly, a tally of 22 goals conceded represents the joint-best tally in Ligue 1 outside of the top five - not even Lille and Lyon have defended as well as Reims have this season - and a four-game unbeaten run on the road offers a sliver of hope for the visitors and their youthful setup.

However, PSG ran out comfortable 2-0 winners at the Stade Auguste-Delaune earlier in the season - Les Parisiens' fourth win and fourth clean sheet in a row versus their upcoming visitors - but Reims did claim a memorable win at the Parc des Princes by the same scoreline as recently as September 2019.

Paris Saint-Germain Ligue 1 form:
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W

Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W

Reims Ligue 1 form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • L

Reims form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L

Team News

PSG will expect to finally welcome Lionel Messi back to action following his COVID-19 recovery, but Mbappe is now a fresh doubt due to a groin issue, with a decision over his involvement set to be made on Saturday.

Abdou Diallo, Achraf Hakimi and Idrissa Gueye remain away on Africa Cup of Nations duty, while Juan Bernat is still struggling with the after-effects of COVID-19, and Neymar and Georginio Wijnaldum remain out injured.

Danilo Pereira and Leandro Paredes ought to compete for one midfield spot with Wijnaldum now unavailable, and Keylor Navas should be fit to return to the matchday squad with Sergio Rico having left to join Mallorca on loan.

As for Reims, Moreto Cassama will soon return from AFCON duty following Guinea-Bissau's elimination, but Ghislain Konan, Moussa Doumbia and El Bilal Toure are still competing at the tournament.

Injuries to Valon Berisha, Marshall Munetsi, Azor Matusiwa and Arber Zeneli have also left the visitors rather short in the middle of the park, which Garcia has negated with the signing of Jens Cajuste from FC Midtjylland.

Newcastle United-linked Hugo Ekitike will make a timely return from suspension to lead the line, and Garcia may be tempted to draft in Mbuku or Alexis Flips for 18-year-old Martin Adeline.

Paris Saint-Germain possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Kehrer, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Mendes; Herrera, Pereira, Verratti; Di Maria, Icardi, Messi

Reims possible starting lineup:
Rajkovic; Gravillon, Abdelhamid, Faes; Foket, Cajuste, Lopy, Locko; Kebbal, Mbuku; Ekitike

We say: Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Reims

Reims' remarkable defensive solidarity will be tested to the extreme against a PSG side expecting to welcome Messi back to action, although the potential loss of Mbappe will increase the pressure on the Argentine's shoulders to deliver.

Pochettino's side were not full value for their victory over Brest for the entire 90 minutes, but an up-and-coming Reims XI should not trouble the runaway leaders too much at the fortress that is the Parc des Princes.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

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