Winless this season along with Stade Brestois 29 and AS Saint-Etienne, Metz are currently bottom of the pile with the joint-worst defensive record in the league of 13 goals conceded. Frederic Antonetti could soon be facing the sack if results do not pick up, but six goals scored averages out at one per game so far which will give them hope if they can tighten up defensively. Six wins from six and although it was not totally convincing against Lyon, Pochettino’s changes and his players just about got the job done. On paper, Metz should be more straightforward, even with Messi missing, so expect rotation from the Argentine with several squad members in need of minutes before the UEFA Champions League returns.
Paris Saint-Germain will endeavour to end the 2021-22 Ligue 1 season with a flourish when they welcome Metz to the Parc des Princes on Saturday night. The champions can move onto 86 points with a victory, while Les Grenats are already condemned to a bottom-three finish but can still avoid automatic relegation. A customary Ligue 1 title has been placed in the trophy cabinet, but PSG’s 2021-22 season will perhaps be best remembered for the unsavoury moments. Fan discontent, Kylian Mbappe’s expected exit and the Champions League capitulation have all served to ruin a strong domestic campaign.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side may have been guilty of taking their foot off the gas after sealing the top-flight crown, but there was not a shred of complacency on show during their trip to Montpellier HSC, as Lionel Messi struck a brace alongside goals from Angel Di Maria and Mbappe in a 4-0 rout. PSG are guaranteed to finish at least 12 points clear of the chasing pack at the top of the table, with Monaco and Marseille involved in a heated battle to be crowned the best of the rest, and all eyes will already be on an anticipated summer of change both on and off the pitch. Avoiding a third straight game without a win at home is non-negotiable for PSG, who have been held by Lens and Troyes in their last two at the Parc des Princes, but they will certainly expect to end the campaign as the only Ligue 1 side to remain unbeaten on their own turf.
Across PSG’s recent eight-game unbeaten streak, a whopping 26 goals have flown into the opposition’s net, but the absence of Mbappe’s prolific powers will be well and truly felt next season if the World Cup winner cannot resist the pull of Real Madrid. With all three sides placing 18th or below still in with a shot at salvaging their top-flight status, Metz – who were seemingly going down with a whimper only a couple of months ago – have chosen the perfect time to hit a rich vein of form. Didier Lamkel Ze headed home the only goal of the game as Les Grenats claimed a 1-0 win over Angers in their final home game of the season – making it two wins and a draw from their last three for Frederic Antonetti’s side, who are still unbeaten this month.
Currently sitting 18th in the table – which would see them enter the relegation/promotion playoff with either Auxerre or Sochaux – Metz are level on points with Saint-Etienne and three better off than basement side Bordeaux, who have a significantly worse goal difference. Of course, a multiple-goal thumping against PSG will do their goal difference no favours, but Bordeaux are unlikely to produce any shocks away to Brest, while Saint-Etienne face a far from simple task at the home of Coupe de France champions Nantes on the final day. Les Grenats’ fate is still in their own hands, and results elsewhere going their way would see the trip to PSG pale into insignificance, but they travel to the capital on a seven-game winless run away from home and a 12-game losing run against the champions since 2006.
PSG duo Mauro Icardi and Julian Draxler are due to return to team training this week as they step up their recoveries from injury problems, but Pochettino will see no reason to take any unnecessary risks right now. Abdou Diallo should force his way into contention, but Leandro Paredes will take a little longer to recover from groin surgery, and Pochettino can be expected to hand starts to Keylor Navas and Di Maria ahead of their anticipated summer exits. Youngsters such as Edouard Michut, Xavi Simons and Djeidi Gassama should also earn more minutes in the final game of the season, with Simons potentially warranting a start amid concerns over his future. Neymar and Presnel Kimpembe are also both back from suspensions.
However, Idrissa Gueye was absent against Montpellier for “personal reasons” before it emerged that the midfielder refused to wear the matchday shirts in support of the LGBTQ+ movement, but Pochettino will expect to welcome him back to the squad here. While PSG have a pair of players returning from the naughty step, Metz will be without key attacker Nicolas de Preville owing to yellow card accumulation, forcing Antonetti into an unwanted change up top. Ibrahima Niane has fallen out of favour at the club, so Louis Mafouta could be given the nod to start alongside Lamkel Ze – who has two goals in his last two – in the final third. Fabien Centonze, Habib Maiga and Ibrahim Amadou will all miss the final game of the season for Metz, who will see Pape Sarr make his farewell appearance for the club before he completes his permanent switch to Tottenham Hotspur.
Paris Saint-Germain possible starting lineup:
Navas; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Mendes; Simons, Verratti; Di Maria, Messi, Neymar; Mbappe
Metz possible starting lineup:
Caillard; Niakate, Bronn, Kouyate; Mikelbrencis, Sarr, Traore, Cande; Boulaya; Mafouta, Lamkel Ze