Paris Saint-Germain will endeavour to return to type in Ligue 1 when they face off against basement side Angers at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday evening.
The champions progressed in the Coupe de France courtesy of a 3-1 success over Chateauroux at the weekend, while Les Scoistes put their name in the hat for the next round after seeing off Strasbourg on penalties.
Without the glue that is Lionel Messi holding the team together, PSG – who also had to cope without the suspended Neymar – saw their powers wane at the home of closest challengers Lens, who made the Ligue 1 title race just that little bit more interesting on New Year’s Day.
A 3-1 success for Franck Haise’s charges ended PSG’s unbeaten start to the Ligue 1 season after 17 games, but they were handed a golden chance to bounce back against Championnat National side Chateauroux in the Coupe de France third round and did so via their own 3-1 scoreline, with Juan Bernat, Carlos Soler and Hugo Ekitike netting.
Celebrations would have been kept to a minimum on Friday evening as PSG aim to maintain or increase their four-point lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table, and despite their miserable journey to the Stade Bollaert-Delelis, the champions’ remarkable Parc des Princes record remains intact.
Indeed, Christophe Galtier’s side have taken 22 points from a possible 24 in front of their own fans this term and are on a six-game domestic winning streak at the Parc des Princes, racking up 11 goals in their previous three encounters in the capital.
Not since a 1-0 loss to Galtier’s Lille in April 2021 have PSG come away from their headquarters with nothing to show for their efforts in Ligue 1 – going unbeaten in 30 such games since – and any prayers from those travelling to support the division’s worst performers may therefore go unanswered.
Showcasing his heading ability in his own box and the opposition’s box, Angers striker Abdallah Sima went from hero to zero against Lorient on New Year’s Day, rising highest to strike the game’s opening goal before turning into his own net, and Enzo Le Fee completed the Merlus turnaround with a thumping strike late on.
Amid their never-ending struggles to drag themselves away from relegation danger, Angers did at least manage to join PSG in the draw for the fourth round of the Coupe de France, as Strasbourg duo Gerzino Nyamsi and Jean-Ricner Bellegarde both fluffed their lines from the penalty spot after a 0-0 draw.
However, attention quickly turns back to the fight for survival in Ligue 1, with defeat to Lorient leaving Abdel Bouhazama’s side in 20th place with a mere eight points to their name from 17 matches – seven adrift of the safety of 16th place at the time of writing.
Taking just four points from their eight away games so far in the 2022-23 Ligue 1 season and losing each of their last four, Angers also travel to the Parc des Princes having failed to take a single point versus a top-half team this year – only Auxerre have also suffered an identical fate.
Furthermore, each of PSG’s last 14 games against Angers in any competition has ended in victory for the French champions – including a 12-game winning streak in the top division – during which time the hapless Scoistes have only found the back of the net on six occasions.