Lille vs Paris Saint-Germain predictions: Five-star PSG tough to oppose
Lille entertain Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday night with the hosts looking to avoid the fate of the reigning French champions' first two Ligue 1 opponents this season.
PSG produced two five-star shows against Clermont and Montpellier to signal their intentions for the new campaign and boss Christophe Galtier will demand something similar at the home of his former employers this weekend.
Last season, the Frenchman utilised his inside knowledge of Les Dogues to lead Nice to a 4-0 victory on his first return to the Stade Pierre Mauroy.
But there was plenty of change at the club this summer with Paulo Fonseca succeeding Jocelyn Gourvennec on the bench and more than 20 player transfers.
The Portuguese tactician initially appears to have breathed new life into a squad that finished a lowly 10th last term — overseeing an opening-weekend 4-1 thrashing of Auxerre followed by a hard-earned point at always-tough Nantes.
Lille will once more be without Timothy Weah and Edon Zhegrova through injury, while Isaac Lihadji is uncertain to feature again amid ongoing transfer speculation.
Fonseca gave left-back Ismaily a debut off the bench at Nantes last weekend and he responded by scoring his new team's equaliser at the Stade de la Beaujoire.
The Brazilian replaced Tiago Djalo, who was thought to be suspended this weekend after picking up a yellow card — but his ban has been overturned.
That will enable Fonseca to name an unchanged side if he so desires with new signing Alan Virginius available for selection too after he joined from Sochaux.
Galtier is unlikely to tinker with a winning formula, which would mean Renato Sanches waiting for another chance off the bench and Vitinha, who has managed to pick up a yellow card in all three of his appearances for PSG, keeping his place alongside Marco Verrati in midfield.
Sergio Ramos, who made just eight starts for the club in an injury-hit first season in France, will continue alongside Marquinhos and Presnel Kimpembe in a back three with Ashraf Hakimi and Nuno Mendes on the flanks.
Lille's high press has served them well in the opening two games of the campaign with only PSG (28) forcing more high turnovers of possession — 40m or less from their opponent's goal — than Les Dogues (23) across the first two matchdays.
Neymar has six goal involvements through those two matches — registering three goals and three assists — which is nearly a third of the way to his league total of 19 from 2021-22.
Kylian Mbappe finished 2021-22 with 28 goals and 17 assists last season — the most goal involvements of any player operating in Europe's top five leagues.
After a satisfactory start to the campaign for Lille, this is a major step up in class for them with PSG capable of blowing any side in Ligue 1 away if they are in the mood.
Galtier's side have not faced a team with as much intent to press as high as themselves so far and it could lead to some hairy moments at the back if Lille get their triggers right.
The hosts should emulate Montpellier, who were beaten 5-2 by the champions last week, and get on the scoresheet at some stage.
But PSG's frightening front three could have another field day and ensure the champions record a comfortable victory to maintain their perfect start.