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

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

High-flying Paris Saint-Germain will be looking to claim their eighth Ligue 1 victory from as many matches when they host Montpellier HSC on Saturday night.

The visitors, meanwhile, will be aiming to secure their first league victory at the Parc des Princes since they won 3-1 back in May 2010.

Match preview

Paris Saint-Germain maintained their 100% start in Ligue 1, but only just, when they scored a dramatic winner in stoppage time – for the second successive league game – away against Metz to secure a 2-1 victory on Wednesday night.

Summer signing Achraf Hakimi opened the scoring in the fifth minute, before Boubakar Kouyate's bullet header from a corner brought Metz level shortly before the break.

However, the hosts – who saw their captain Dylan Bronn and head coach Frederic Antonetti sent off in stoppage time – were unable to hold on for a point, as Hakimi cut inside from the right and rifled in his second of the night and a dramatic 95th minute winner, sparking wild celebrations which caused tempers to flare between both sides as the full time whistle blew.

Mauricio Pochettino's men became just the fourth French top-flight outfit in history to win their opening seven league games. Following Marseille's goalless draw with Angers, Les Parisiens have now extended their lead at the Ligue 1 summit to seven points, though Marseille do have a game in hand.

PSG, who have already scored 20 league goals so far this season, have an impressive record against this weekend's opponents Montpellier, winning six and drawing one of their last eight meetings against them, as well as scoring at least twice on each occasion.

As the Parisian outfit are desperate to reclaim their Ligue 1 crown from Lille this campaign, Pochettino will be keen for his side to build on their strong start with another three points on home soil.

After losing their opening game of the new Ligue 1 season at home against Marseille, Montpellier have since accumulated nine points from a possible 15 available.

Their most recent result on Wednesday evening saw them play out an entertaining 3-3 draw against Bordeaux, who snatched a point when substitute Samuel Kalu scored in the 85th minute.

An earlier brace from Valere Germain as well as a strike from Florent Mollet were not enough for the hosts to come away with all three points, though Olivier Dall'Oglio's men have climbed into the top 10 and are now just three points behind the Champions League places.

Montpellier, who have yet to win away from home this season, face a difficult challenge on Saturday against an in-form PSG side. La Paillade have lost by at least a four-goal margin in each of their last four league visits to the Parc de Princes, including a 4-0 defeat last season.

Dall'Oglio's side have scored in every game so far this campaign, netting at least twice on five occasions, and with PSG having conceded in each of their last three matches across all competitions, the visitors can be confident of causing problems in the final third.

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

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

Montpellier HSC Ligue 1 form:
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • D

Team News

PSG forward Lionel Messi has been ruled out of this weekend's game as he continues to recover from bone bruising around the knee, which also kept him out of the victory against Metz.

Sergio Ramos (calf), Marco Verratti (knee), Juan Bernat (ACL) and Ismael Gharbi (thigh) all remain on the treatment table, while Layvin Kurzawa (calf) and Colin Dagba (ankle) are doubtful and will be assessed ahead of kickoff.

Pochettino may decide to make one or two changes to freshen up his starting lineup, due to their busy fixture schedule, with the likes of Abdou Diallo and Ander Herrera hoping to return to the first XI ahead of Nuno Mendes and Rafinha.

Mauro Icardi is set to start once again up front, joining Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in a powerful three-man attack; all three forwards scored in the 4-0 home victory again Montpellier last season.

As for the visitors, they will still be without former PSG and Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho, who continues to recover from a hamstring injury.

Montpellier trio Ambroise Oyongo, Thibault Tamas and Pedro Mendes also remain unavailable for selection, as they are all suffering with ACL injuries.

Dall'Oglio will, however, be able to welcome back centre-back Matheus Thuler as he has served his one-match suspension; the 22-year-old Brazilian is set to return to the starting lineup, which will likely see Nicolas Cozza return to his favoured left-back position at the expense of Mihailo Ristic.

Either Arnaud Souquet or Junior Sambia is set to start at right-back, while midfielder Teji Tedy Savanier could stay in the number 10 role in behind central striker Germain.

Paris Saint-Germain possible starting lineup:
Navas; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Diallo; Danilo, Herrera, Wijnaldum; Neymar, Icardi, Mbappe

Montpellier HSC possible starting lineup:
Omlin; Sambia, Esteve, Thuler, Ristic; Ferri, Chotard; Mollet, Savanier, Mavididi, Germain

We say: Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 Montpellier HSC

PSG have had plenty of joy against Montpellier in recent years, and when you also take into account their exceptional start to the new campaign, everything points towards another comfortable victory for the hosts.

The visitors have struggled to keep the ball out of the net against Les Parisiens and we feel that another heavy defeat could be on the cards this weekend.

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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