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Aug 11, 2019 at 8pm UK at Parc des Princes (Paris)
Attendance: 47,151
PSGParis Saint-Germain
Cavani (24' pen.), Mbappe (56'), di Maria (69')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Preview: Paris Saint-Germain vs. Nimes - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Paris Saint-Germain and Nimes, including team news and predicted lineups.

Paris Saint-Germain will be looking to start their 2019-20 Ligue 1 campaign in a positive fashion when they welcome Nimes to the French capital on Sunday night.

The Paris giants landed their eighth Ligue 1 title last season, while Nimes enjoyed an impressive return to the top flight as they claimed ninth despite only been promoted back to the top tier in 2018.

Paris Saint-Germain

Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring against Dijon on May 18, 2019© Reuters

In truth, it is difficult to look past PSG when it comes to Ligue 1. Thomas Tuchel's side ultimately finished 16 points clear at the top of the table last season - scoring 105 times in their 38 matches.

There is not a team that comes close to matching their talent in France's top flight, meaning that it would be a huge surprise if a third straight title did not arrive come the end of the 2019-20 campaign. The Champions League, though, is the trophy that the club really want to win.

Many fancied the French giants to challenge for last season's European Cup but Tuchel's side were incredibly dumped out of the competition by Manchester United in the round of 16. A new season brings new opportunities, however, and the owners will be expecting the team to make a strong play for the crown this term.

PSG have already claimed some silverware this season, having beaten Rennes 2-1 last weekend to win the Trophee des Champions. Rennes actually took the lead in Shenzhen before goals from Kylian Mbappe and Angel di Maria saw the Paris giants win the trophy for a seventh year in a row.

Neymar was not involved against Rennes, though, and it remains to be seen whether the Brazil international takes part this weekend. The attacker hardly played in the latter stages of last season due to a foot injury before picking up an ankle problem which ruled him out of the Copa America.

The former Santos youngster is seemingly determined to secure a return to Spain before the end of this summer's transfer window, with Barcelona and Real Madrid both in the hunt. It will be very interesting to see whether he is selected this weekend and what type of reaction the supporters give him if that is the case.

PSG have lost just twice in their last 95 league games on home soil, which is an indication of the size of the task facing Nimes this weekend. The corresponding match last term ended in a 3-0 home success and it would be a huge shock if Tuchel's side did not start with a win.

It is clear that all is not well in the camp once again, though, and it is worth remembering that PSG, who have signed the likes of Abdou Diallo, Idrissa Gueye, Pablo Sarabia and Ander Herrera this summer, suffered a 3-1 defeat at Reims in their final league game of the 2018-19 campaign.

Recent form: LWDLWW


Paris Saint Germain's Maxim Choupo-Moting in action with Nimes's Renaud Ripart in Ligue 1 on February 23, 2019© Reuters

Not too much will be expected from Nimes this weekend, meaning that it will be almost a free hit for the club on Sunday night. Les Crocodiles lost both Ligue 1 games between the two teams last season but the 2018-19 campaign will go down as a huge success.

Indeed, last May, Nimes secured promotion back to Ligue 1 for the first time since the 1992-93 campaign. Many tipped them to struggle but that was not the case as 53 points brought them a ninth-place finish. A record of 15 wins, eight draws and 15 defeats left them just three points off the top seven.

As a result of their successful season, a number of key players have moved on this summer. The likes of Teji Savanier, Denis Bouanga, Sada Thioub, Umut Bozok and Rachid Alioui have departed.

New signings have arrived, however, in the shape of Sidy Sarr, Haris Duljevic, Vlatko Stojanovski, Romain Philippoteaux, Pablo Martinez and Zinedine Ferhat, which is an indication of the turnaround at the club.

It will certainly be interesting to see how Bernard Blaquart's side perform during the new season, which sees them travel to PSG and Monaco in two of their first three matches, in addition to facing home games against Nice and Brest ahead of the September international break.

Nimes had the eighth-best home record in Ligue 1 last season as they gathered 32 points from their 19 matches. The team were also solid on their travels, meanwhile, avoiding defeat in nine of their 19 away fixtures.

Travelling to the champions on the opening weekend of the campaign is not quite what the Nimes supporters would have had in mind as they looked for a positive start. It remains to be seen what type of PSG turn up, though, which could end up helping the visitors on Sunday night.

Recent form: DLDWDL

Team News

Neymar in action for PSG on December 2, 2018© Reuters

PSG will be without the services of Spanish midfielder Herrera after the summer arrival from Manchester United picked up a calf problem in the win over Rennes.

Tuchel otherwise has a strong squad available, though, and much of the pre-match talk will centre around the potential inclusion of Neymar.

The Brazil international is likely to be involved in some capacity. However, it would not be a surprise to see Di Maria join Edinson Cavani and Mbappe in the final third from the start.

Gueye and Sarabia should make their Ligue 1 debuts for the club, while Marco Verratti and Thiago Silva will continue in central midfield and central defence respectively.

As for Nimes, a number of new signings could make their competitive debuts this weekend, with Philippoteaux and Ferhat in line to start in the final third, and Martinez in central defence.

Long-serving forward Renaud Ripart should be named in an attacking position, with academy product Gaetan Paquiez also due to make the starting XI.

Paris Saint-Germain possible starting lineup:
Areola; Kehrer, Silva, Marquinhos, Bernat; Sarabia, Gueye, Verratti; Di Maria, Cavani, Mbappe

Nimes possible starting lineup:
Bernardoni; Alakouch, Landre, Martinez, Miguel; Bobichon, Paquiez, Valls; Ferhat, Ripart, Philippoteaux

Head To Head

As mentioned, PSG won both Ligue 1 games between the two teams last season - recording a 4-2 victory in the away clash before triumphing 3-0 on home soil.

Last season's games proved to be the first time that the pair had locked horns since PSG won 3-0 in the Coupe de France back in January 2007.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 Nimes

It is difficult to back anything other than a comfortable home win on Sunday night. The Neymar saga will not be helping PSG as they enter the new season. The French champions, though, should have far too much.

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Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani goes down injury during a Ligue 1 clash with Bordeaux on February 9, 2019
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Monday's key events

· There are no Brits in the women's 100m hurdles final, but Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, fresh from breaking the Olympic record in the semis, will hope to pip world record holder Kendra Harrison to gold (3.50am)
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· The women's skiff 49er FX (6.33am) and men's skiff 49er (7.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races

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· The Gadirova twins Jessica and Jennifer will both take part in the women's floor final as they look to add to their team bronze (9.57am)

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· The women's hockey quarter-finals begin, with Team GB last up against Spain (1pm)

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