PSG-Monaco preview: a key clash in the title race? – LFP

Kick off: Friday, 21:00
Just three points separate the two sides heading into the fixture. No team has played against PSG more than Monaco, but it will be the first time that Luis Enrique and Adi Hütter have met as managers of the two sides. The latter will be hoping to add to Monaco’s 48 victories against Les Parisiens, and the Austrian is excited for the encounter. “It is like the feeling of a Champions League game,” he said on Wednesday.
Peculiar preparation
This season, Monaco are not playing in the Champions League, unlike their opponents. It is due to PSG’s match against Newcastle United on Tuesday that their tie against Monaco has been scheduled for Friday night.
The scheduling has contributed to an abnormal preparation period for both sides, but especially Monaco. Hütter oversaw a training session ahead of the trip to Paris that consisted of just nine players. Players such as Guillermo Maripán and Folarin Balogun in particular have had to make long journeys to return to Europe for the fixture, and some have gone directly to Paris, where they will meet up with the rest of the squad. 
The Principality club sent one of their medical staff to the French capital in advance to ascertain the fitness levels of the returning players. Maripán’s turnaround is particularly short as he returns from Chile, however, Hütter is optimistic that he’ll be able to play. 
“It isn’t the first time that he has made a long journey. He does it often. He knows what he has to do in this short period to be in the best shape […] I think he’ll be ready,” said Hütter.
Absent Bleus
PSG have had a mix of luck. Manuel Ugarte was suspended for Uruguay’s second game meaning he returned earlier than planned, however, captain Marquinhos suffered a hamstring injury that will almost certainly rule him out of the tie. 
Another player missing will be Warren Zaïre-Emery. The PSG academy product has been an ever-present in Les Parisiens’ midfield, and that form allowed him to become the youngest player to represent France since 1914 during the recent international break. 
Zaïre-Emery started and scored in the record 14-0 victory over Gibraltar, however, he injured himself in the process of netting his first goal for Les Bleus and he won’t feature again in 2023. 
Youssouf Fofana, who scored in both of France’s games over the international break returns to Monaco with his reputation enhanced, but he will also be absent after picking up a booking against Le Havre. 
Electric Mbappé-Singo battle awaits
“[It is] horrible that Youssouf is suspended for this game. He is from Paris and it is one of the biggest games. It is heartbreaking [sic] for him to miss this match,” said Hütter.
Hütter said that the fixture promises to be “dangerous” given that PSG (29 goals) and Monaco (25 goals) are currently the top-scorers in the league. However, there is no question of him setting out to merely contain Les Parisiens, and he has called on his team to be “brave”. 


Kylian Mbappé has scored 13 of PSG’s Ligue 1 goals this season, and he netted a hat-trick in the international break to take himself to 300 career goals at the age of just 24. He will provide the lion’s share of the threat and it is Wilfried Singo, who has the capacity to match Mbappé for pace, who is tasked with keeping the France captain quiet. 
“It is a big challenge for Wilf. It is his biggest challenge to play against Mbappé, one of the best players on the planet,” said his manager ahead of the game. Between them, Monaco and PSG have scored 54 Ligue 1 Uber Eats goals this season; this match won’t be a drab affair, and come the end of the season, it could prove pivotal. 
Possible teams
PSG: Donnarumma; Hernandez, Skriniar, Danilo, Hakimi; Vitinha, Ugarte; Mbappé, Kolo Muani, Kang-in, Dembélé
Monaco: Köhn; Magassa, Maripán, Singo; Jakobs, Zakaria, Camara, Vanderson; Golovin, Balogun, Minamino
>> Warren Zaïre-Emery out until 2024
>> How do Monaco and PSG stack up?
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