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Aug 7, 2021 at 8pm UK
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Preview: Troyes vs. Paris Saint-Germain - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Troyes take on Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday as the 2021-22 Ligue 1 campaign begins, with the visitors looking to reclaim their domestic crown after finishing second behind Lille last season.

Troyes, meanwhile, won Ligue 2 to return to France's top flight for the first time since being relegated in 2018.

Match preview

Indeed, Troyes have regularly fluctuated between France's top two divisions in recent years, suffering three relegations from Ligue 1 since finishing 19th in the 2012-2013 season.

Laurent Batlles was handed his first role as a manager when being appointed as Troyes head coach in 2019, and he ultimately delivered on his promise by winning Ligue 2 in only his second season in charge of the club.

The 45-year-old, who played for seven different French clubs before retiring in 2012, will be fully aware of the size of the task in front of him this campaign, though.

After all, since their relegation from Ligue 1 in 2007, Troyes have not spent more than one season at a time in the top division, essentially becoming one of France's most recognisable yo-yo clubs.

However, with several Ligue 1 clubs opting not to spend this summer due to the financial uncertainty caused by COVID-19 and the issues surrounding France's television deals, Batlles will be hoping that the 10 players signed by the club so far for around £13m in total can make a huge difference to his side's prospects of survival.

Of course, these figures pale in comparison to the lavish amounts PSG have spent since their Qatari takeover a decade ago, but nothing will be expected of Troyes on Saturday in terms of the result in any case.

For PSG, of course, that will certainly not be the case, with Mauricio Pochettino expected to hit the ground running after a disappointing start to his time in Paris.

The former Tottenham Hotspur manager replaced Thomas Tuchel in January earlier this year, but ultimately fell short in Ligue 1 and the Champions League despite beating Monaco 2-0 to retain the Coupe de France.

After losing out to Lille on the last day of the season, last weekend's 1-0 defeat to the French champions in Trophee des Champions would not have gone down well among the PSG hierarchy.

However, Pochettino has bigger fish to fry than what is essentially a glorified friendly match, starting with the visit to Troyes in their Ligue 1 opener on Saturday.

£54m signing Achraf Hakimi made his full competitive debut against Lille and impressed in flashes, but it remains to be seen which of PSG's other impressive summer signings will join the right-back in making their full competitive debuts on Saturday, in what will be expected to be a comfortable victory.

With the likes of Georginio Wijnaldum, Sergio Ramos and Euro 2020 player of the tournament Gianluigi Donnarumma now on board, Pochettino cannot deny that he is armoured with ample quality to challenge on all fronts this season.

Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions):
  • L

Team News

Troyes have no known injury issues heading into Saturday's serious test against PSG, meaning Batlles can pick what he considers to be his strongest XI.

Yoann Touzghar, who plundered 16 goals in 36 league appearances last season, will almost certainly lead the line as the 34-year-old looks to test himself at the top level for the first time since playing for Lens in 2015.

PSG, meanwhile, will likely integrate Wijnaldum from the start after the former Liverpool midfielder came off the bench during the defeat to Lille.

Eric Junior Dino Ebimbe will almost certainly make way for the Dutch maestro, but fellow youngster Arnaud Kalimuendo could start again after impressing on loan at Lens last season.

With the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Angel Di Maria all likely to be eased into minutes after busy summer tournaments with their respective nations, Julian Draxler and Mauro Icardi should receive another start in attack.

Juan Bernat, Rafinha and Colin Dagba are all ruled out through injury, while Marco Verratti, Leandro Paredes, Marquinhos, Pablo Sarabia and Donnarumma are all doubtful for similar reasons to the aforementioned attacking trio.

Troyes possible starting lineup:
Gallon; Raveloson, Giraudon, Salmier; Ripart, Kouame, Tardieu, Metinho, Larouci; Chambost, Touzghar

Paris Saint-Germain possible starting lineup:
Navas; Hakimi, Kehrer, Kimpembe, Diallo; Herrera, Danilo, Wijnaldum; Draxler, Icardi, Kalimuendo

We say: Troyes 0-3 Paris Saint-Germain

Troyes have won only one of their six pre-season friendlies and could be set for a long, difficult season ahead, so we expect a comfortable victory for PSG.

Despite the visitors almost certainly being without several first-team players who are returning to training late after competing in Euro 2020 and Copa America during the summer, they still have more than enough quality to put a relegation-threatened side to the sword.

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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