Image for Greg Lea Greg Lea - November 7, 2022

PSG vs Auxerre: Back a Big Win for Ligue 1 Champions

  • Paris Saint-Germain are five points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table 

  • Auxerre are struggling to pull clear of the relegation zone so far this term

  • PSG will look to make a fast start in their final game before World Cup 2022

PSG vs Auxerre Odds

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Asian Handicap - First HalfOdds

PSG -1.5

+135

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Auxerre +1.5

-210

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PSG vs Auxerre Pick

Back PSG -1.5 in the Asian handicap first half market (+135) - this is essentially the equivalent of tipping the home team to have at least a two-goal lead at the interval.

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PSG vs Auxerre Prediction

Ligue 1 Leaders PSG Look to End First Part of Season on High

Only three teams are still unbeaten in Europe’s top five leagues (Ligue 1, Serie A, the Premier League, La Liga and the Bundesliga) as the World Cup 2022 break looms: Real Madrid, Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain. 

Whereas few anticipated Napoli doing so well in the first portion of 2022/23, Madrid’s strong start was predictable. Even less surprising is undefeated PSG’s position at the summit of the standings in France. By far the wealthiest club in the country, the club from the capital were the overwhelming favorites to win the title with the best online sportsbooks before a ball had been kicked. Twelve wins and two draws later, nothing has changed.

PSG cannot necessarily take the Ligue 1 crown for granted. They did not finish on top of the pile in either 2016/17 or 2020/21, as Monaco and Lille respectively stole their thunder (the latter were managed by Christophe Galtier, now PSG’s boss). But barring some sort of dramatic structural or financial change, it is becoming increasingly hard to see anyone other than the Parisians winning the title.

Lens have done a good job of sticking reasonably close to PSG so far, with five points separating the two teams ahead of matchday 15. That margin is likely to be trimmed to two points by the time PSG take to the field against Auxerre, since Lens host Clermont Foot on Saturday.

Galtier has had a good start to his Parc des Princes tenure. PSG advanced to the knockout phase of the Champions League with a minimum of fuss, and they are certainly playing better than last season under Mauricio Pochettino. This is a club where off-field noise is guaranteed, but Galtier has done a decent job of keeping the focus on the soccer. For now.

Auxerre Could Be Involved in a Relegation Battle This Term

This year’s relegation battle in Ligue 1 could be one of the most dramatic of recent times. Since 2016/17, two teams have been automatically demoted to the second tier and a third has competed in the relegation play-offs against the third-place finisher in Ligue 2.

This season, though, four teams will go down automatically. That is because, from the 2023/24 campaign onwards, Ligue 1 will feature 18 teams rather than 20. A fifth of the sides currently in the top tier of French soccer will not be there in 12 months’ time.

Auxerre are among the clubs that are vulnerable. Currently 15th in the table, they are just two points and two places above the drop zone. Only one of their last 10 outings has produced a victory.

There have already been six managerial changes in Ligue 1 since the start of the campaign, including Auxerre’s decision to ditch Jean-Marc Furlan in favor of Christophe Pelissier. 

The ex-Lorient head coach has been tasked with steering the club into mid-table, but that will be easier said than done, at least in the short term. A trip to PSG is certainly not the type of assignment that Pelissier would have wanted on the eve of the World Cup.

PSG Will Look to Make a Fast Start at the Parc Des Princes

The opening game of the first-ever winter World Cup takes place just seven days after this game. We have already seen several players cruelly ruled out of the tournament through injury (including France duo N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba), and no potential participant will want to take any risks with his fitness this weekend. Galtier already felt some of his PSG players were trying to protect themselves last time out.

“Automatically, [the World Cup] is in the heads of the players, when they’re hearing that such and such a player is injured and is ruled out of the World Cup,” he said after a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Lorient.

“There will always be a piece of news that will make them doubt. For some, there was a certain restraint, we were sometimes a bit fearful in the duels.”

For that reason among others, we will probably see PSG look to make a quick start to this match in a bid to wrap up the win as quickly as possible. Being two or three goals up at the interval would allow the French champions to take their foot off the gas in the second half. The last thing PSG’s stars would want is for this match to still be on a knife edge in the closing stages.

Auxerre have the second-worst away record in the division and they will not be expecting to get anything from Sunday’s trip to the capital. Back PSG -1.5 in the first-half Asian handicap.

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How to Watch PSG vs Auxerre

Teams: PSG vs Auxerre

Location: Parc des Princes, Paris, France

Time: Sunday 13 November 2022, 7 AM EDT

How to Watch: beIN Sports

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AUTHOR

Greg Lea

592 Articles

Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]

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