PARIS — Contemplating their monetary may today, it’s troublesome to really feel sorry for Paris Saint-Germain about something.
Nevertheless, spare the Ligue 1 leaders a thought this January and February as they deal with seven of their first 9 matches of 2018 away from their non secular residence of Parc des Princes.
Solely Dijon and Montpellier will go to the French capital to face Unai Emery and his males, who face journeys to Lyon, Nantes, Lille and — most daunting of all — Madrid to face Actual within the Champions League.
Listed here are 5 of PSG’s most difficult fixtures developing within the subsequent six weeks…
Rennes away (Coupe de France) on Sunday, Jan. 7
PSG can normally financial institution on a comparatively easy Coupe de France fixture, usually in opposition to weaker and never even absolutely skilled opposition, to ease them into the brand new 12 months.
Nevertheless, after then-Ligue 1 facet Bastia final season, it is going to be fellow Championnat outfit Rennes away this marketing campaign.
On paper, particularly having not too long ago gained Four-1 away at Roazhon Park within the French prime flight, Sabri Lamouchi’s males ought to pose little — if any — downside.
Nevertheless, with a lot of the French giants’ squad consisting of South Individuals — who’ve needed to journey an extended solution to regroup with their teammates — and Edinson Cavani and Javier Pastore not even again in Paris but, this might be extra difficult than the league assembly from only a few weeks in the past.
Nantes away (Ligue 1) on Sunday, Jan. 14
Exterior of their very own defence, solely Montpellier’s again line is tighter in Ligue 1 and PSG’s rear guard apart, Nantes are the subsequent meanest on the again.
That didn’t cease Les Parisiens from sticking 4 previous them again in November however that was at residence, and Emery’s males additionally bought a bit fortunate that day.
Travelling to Stade de la Beaujoire off the again of home cup clashes away at Rennes and Amiens can be draining so early within the 12 months, and if the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Cavani and Neymar usually are not at their greatest for this one, three seemingly easy factors might flip into one or worse.
Lyon away (Ligue 1) on Sunday, Jan. 21
Second solely to Actual, this can be PSG’s most testing fixture in these subsequent few weeks.
It won’t be the largest match from the capital membership’s perspective however it is going to be huge for Les Gones, who will need to present their rivals up with their dazzling array of largely homegrown abilities, similar to Nabil Fekir and Houssem Aouar.
OL are presently stage on factors with second-placed Monaco and if they’ll overtake Les Monegasques between at times, this might be the second when PSG kill off any lingering hopes for a title race.
Lille away (Ligue 1) on Saturday, Feb. Three (TBC)
PSG beat Lille Three-1 in Ligue 1 simply final month, so why is that this a troublesome recreation?
Emery and his gamers did certainly beat a Marcelo Bielsa-less LOSC facet then, however Les Dogues have since changed the cult coach with the extra constant Christophe Galtier, who had been free since leaving Saint-Etienne (who’ve been in free fall since he left).
New boss syndrome may have in all probability worn off by the point PSG go to Stade Pierre-Mauroy in early February, however that ought to have given sufficient time for Galtier to become familiar along with his new squad and make just a few January personnel modifications.
With the Frenchman now on the helm, anticipate Lille to begin climbing the desk to make up for the time misplaced below the charismatic, however flawed Bielsa.
Actual away (Champions League) on Wednesday, Feb. 14
The massive one.
There may be little left to say about Actual vs. PSG that has not already been mentioned.
Put merely, from a Parisien perspective, the season can be on the road at Santiago Bernabeu this Valentine’s Day after which once more at Parc des Princes within the return leg on March 6.
Get lead to Madrid and PSG can be assured of caring for enterprise within the second.
Fail to do this, although, and the robust begin to 2018 might have struck a deadly blow for the rest of the marketing campaign and a defining setback to Emery’s tenure.
Additionally take into consideration that assuming PSG beat Rennes within the Coupe de France and Amiens within the Coupe de la Ligue throughout this era, two further matches — each probably away — can be added to an already busy calendar earlier than Actual.
Final season, PSG had performed 10 video games throughout all home competitions earlier than they thumped Barcelona Four-Zero within the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Valentine’s Day, and everyone knows what occurred subsequent…
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French nationwide staff for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.