French Champions PSG will have to beat Monaco without their best player on Sunday, but that's not Zlatan Ibrahmovic.
Paris Saint-Germain were dealth a huge blow this week as they are without their best player for Sunday night’s game against Monaco, no not Zlatan Ibrahimovic, central defender Marquinhos. The loss of Ibrahimovic is big, but the front three of Lucas, Javier Pastore and Edinson Cavani coped fine against Barcelona, it is the loss of Marquinhos that will have the biggest impact.
The midfield from the Barca game will continue, all three of Blaise Matuidi, Thiago Motta and Marco Verratti were superb and they will give as much support to the attack and defence as physically possible.
It will be veteran Zoumana Camara that takes the place of Marquinhos, playing beside former Chelsea defender David Luiz – who was superb on Wednesday – and the full-backs of Maxwell and Gregory van der Wiel will continue on the flanks.
Laurent Blanc will be looking for the same intensity that they showed mid-week, it would take a huge amount of pressure of the players and coach if they showed they can play the same way in Ligue 1 and put in a performance against Monaco.
Winning nine points from a possible 15 is not good enough for the champions, this could be a huge turning point and they need a win going into the international break.
For Monaco, the news that former Manchester United and Spurs forward Dimitar Berbatov has been ruled out of the Monaco lineup should be a bigger loss than it actually is, the striker hasn’t scored for the Monegasque side for over 300 minutes and his performances have been far from inspirational.
However, with Marquinhos out and Camara set to start, it could be a blessing in disguise. The way to punish this PSG defence is with pace, so picking three from Anthony Martial, Lucas Ocampos, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco and Nabil Dirar would give Monaco the best chance to get at this Parisian back-line.
On paper PSG win the battles all over the pitch. Their midfield is stronger and even if Monaco did have Berbatov, PSG have more power in that front trio despite the injuries to Ibrahimovic and Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Last season this was the battle between the two big sides in France, now it’s between the champions and a side looking for a place in the top six. It is very hard to see Monaco going to Paris and coming away with a win.
Leandro Jardim’s hope will be that the Barcelona game took a lot out of the Parisians and they can do to them what they did to Barca. However, that would take Monaco’s best performance of the season. ASM just don’t have the weapons to seriously trouble this PSG side.
The attack has looked stale and tiresome and it is time for the likes of Ocampos and Ferreira Carrasco to step up and fulfil some of that potential they have shown for the past 18 months.
They also need a performance from Portuguese midfielder Joao Moutinho, you have to feel that he is the key if Monaco are to stand any chance of victory.
PSG should have enough for the win, but if they take their foot off the gas, there is a small chance for Monaco to take advantage.
Paris Saint-Germain vs AS Monaco kicks off at 8pm UK time and is on BT Sport.