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Paris Saint-Germain have had a poor start to 2023 with two defeats in three games
Reims are in decent form as they prepare to shock the reigning Ligue 1 champions
Paris Saint-Germain must get back on track ahead of Champions League resumption
The odds for Paris Saint-Germain vs Reims are taken from the Caesars sportsbook, which is offering new customers up to $1250.
The Ligue 1 champions may have to dig deep to emerge victorious over Reims, but we think they will eventually get over the line.
Back a draw at half-time and Paris Saint-Germain to win at full-time. (+330)
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All eyes were on Paris Saint-Germain’s star-studded front three after the events of World Cup 2022. Lionel Messi, the newest member of the attacking triumvirate, inspired Argentina to glory in Qatar last month, getting his hands on the famous trophy for the first time in his illustrious career.
Kylian Mbappe had already won a World Cup in 2018, and he almost single-handedly dragged France to another success. Mbappe turned in a sensational showing in the final, scoring a hat-trick and converting his spot-kick in the shoot-out. But even that was not enough, as Mbappe and France suffered penalty heartache.
The World Cup was even more disappointing for Neymar. Brazil were the pre-tournament favorites in what would be the 30-year-old’s final tournament in his peak years. But Croatia got the better of the Selecao in the quarter-finals, leaving Neymar distraught.
Because the World Cup was in the middle of the season rather than the end of it, participating players had very little time to recover - both mentally and physically - before the domestic action resumed. And while it is not entirely down to the experiences of Messi, Mbappe and Neymar, PSG have not had a good start to 2023.
Christophe Galtier’s side have lost two of their first three top-flight encounters this term. They remain in the first place and are still overwhelming favorites to win the Ligue 1 title with the best online sportsbooks, but their lead at the summit of the standings has been cut to three points. In fact, by the time this match kicks off Lens may have moved level with PSG.
Galtier has come in for some criticism but it remains doubtful whether anyone can be truly successful (which means more than just domestic prizes) at a club that has prioritized individual talent over the collective balance for so long now. With the Champions League set to restart next month, PSG must get back on track as quickly as possible.
A glance at the Ligue 1 table might appear to suggest that Reims will struggle to contain Paris Saint-Germain this weekend.
That may well turn out to be true - for all their shortcomings the French champions have an abundance of quality within their ranks. But although Reims are in the bottom half of the table, they are a tough nut to crack.
Indeed, Reims have gone 11 games unbeaten in Ligue 1. They have not tasted defeat since the middle of September. In fact, they have only lost four games all season - the same number as fourth-placed Monaco - and just two since mid-August. The reverse fixture between Reims and PSG ended 0-0 at the Stade Auguste-Delaune.
William Still, who replaced Oscar Garcia as the club’s manager in the middle of October, has made Reims difficult to beat. This is only the Belgian’s second role as a head coach but the 30-year-old has shown plenty of potential in his first few months in the job.
The aim now will be to start turning draws into wins. The scores have finished level in 10 of Reims’ 19 matches this term, by far the highest figure in the division. And while optimists will point to their record of only four defeats, pessimists will point out they have only won five games.
Needless to say, though, a draw would be an excellent result for Still’s charges at the Parc des Princes.
As mentioned above, this is a bad time for PSG to lose form. There is a credible argument that, because of their sheer dominance of the division, it is inevitable that the club from the capital will on occasion take their eye off the ball throughout the season.
Doing so now, however, risks destabilizing PSG ahead of the Champions League knockout phase. After finishing second in their group to Benfica, Galtier’s men were handed a tricky tie against Bayern Munich in the round of 16. They will want to head into the first leg in February on the back of a winning streak, not amid patchy form.
Yet Reims have the potential to make life difficult for PSG on Sunday. They have the sixth-best defensive record in the division and have kept a clean sheet in six of their last 11 Ligue 1 outings.
Recording a shut-out at the Parc des Prince will be extremely difficult, but Reims could have some success in keeping things tight for at least 45 minutes. They are a difficult side to break down and PSG may need to remain patient if they are to pick up all three points.
With a price of over +300 available, backing a draw at half-time and a PSG win at full-time represents fantastic value.
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Teams: Paris Saint-Germain vs Reims
Location: Parc des Princes, Paris, France
Time: Sunday 29 January 2023, 2.45 pm EST
How to watch: beIN SPORTS
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]More info on Greg Lea
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