French champions PSG begin Ligue 1 defence with Lille liaison
Dominant French champions PSG will start the defence of their Ligue 1 crown with a trip to Lille, as Laurent Blanc aims to continue his side’s domestic dominance this season.
The Parisians secured back-to-back league titles last term after another supreme campaign, and come into their opening 2015/16 clash following an impressive pre-season under their belts.
PSG are 4/1 with Coral to triumph on their travels with both teams getting on the scoresheet, as they face the 2011 champions, who are 4/1 to cause a major upset at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
It’s fair to say the home side do not enjoy this fixture against the men form the capital, though, having emerged victorious only five times in the last 38 meetings, with PSG celebrating 25 occasions.
Blanc believes his men are ready for the new season, despite what he described as a ‘chaotic’ summer of preparations, having played a friendly in Austria before heading to Canada and America, where they won the International Champions Cup.
“We had a chaotic preparation,” stated Blanc. “The players arrived at different times. So it was not the best collective preparation. But we dealt with it, the staff dealt with it.
“We try to catch up [lost time] by doubling the training sessions. Sometimes we worked with four working groups. It’s not always easy.”
Despite the chaos, the French capital club managed to overcome the likes of Manchester United, Fiorentina and Benfica, so they do arrive in fine form, with boss Blanc unfazed by being labelled massive favourites.
“We are used to the opponents tell that we are the favourites. If they really think that we are favourites it’s their problem,” he continued.
“For our part we will try to play our game, to do what we can do the best, what we can do well, what they did well during preparation. We can still improve. We have players who can make the difference at any time. And when these players are in the form it is good for Paris Saint Germain.”
Star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will play no part against Lille, having suffered knee ligament damage recently, but the full extent of the injury is yet to be revealed.
In his absence, Edinson Cavani is likely to feature up front, flanked by Ezequiel Lavezzi and Brazilian wideman Lucas Moura, with new signing Angel Di Maria possibly set to play a part after his recent move from Manchester United.
Should he be involved, Argentina attacker Di Maria is 13/5 to net anytime on his potential debut.
Cavani netted a double in a 6-1 thrashing of Lille last term on home soil and the Uruguayan marksman is 5/1 to bag a brace or more again this time out.
Lille have lost several key players this summer and could struggle to mount a challenge for European positions during the campaign, though Gadji Tallo will be a threat at 8/1 to open proceedings, having sealed a loan spell form Roma.
The hosts’ last win over their opponents came in April 2012, eight matches ago, when Lille had a young Eden Hazard in their ranks, but PSG will seek a dominant start to what could be another successful season domestically and potentially in Europe too.
Betting tip: Cavani to score two or more @ 5/1.