The PSG team to line up against Lens on Thursday to kick-start their Ligue 1 season will be almost unrecognisable from the Champions League final. 

Thomas Tuchel’s French champions have been decimated by coronavirus and are without seven first-team stars who have had to quarantine. 

A look at their prospective line-up could be a sign of things to come for Premier League teams if, like PSG, they suffer from a group of players contracting the virus.  

Neymar and Angel Di Maria will not be playing for PSG in the first two games of the season

Neymar and Angel Di Maria will not be playing for PSG in the first two games of the season

Neymar and Angel Di Maria will not be playing for PSG in the first two games of the season

Kylian Mbappe has also tested positive for coronavirus and is having to quarantine

Kylian Mbappe has also tested positive for coronavirus and is having to quarantine

Kylian Mbappe has also tested positive for coronavirus and is having to quarantine 

Kylian Mbappe is the latest big name to have been struck down, picking up the illness on international duty with France.  

Sporting director Leonardo is furious that the French Federation took so long to inform the club and the 21-year-old is going to miss Thursday’s game against Lens and Sunday’s big clash with Marseille along with six others. 

The FFR statement read: ‘His Covid-19 test carried out by UEFA on Monday morning revealed a positive result, he was separated from the squad after receiving the results at the end of training and returned home in the evening,’ the France Football Federation confirmed.

‘Mbappe was tested before joining up with the squad. The result was negative, like that of a test taken on Wednesday at UEFA’s request for the Sweden game.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is likely to be asked to lead the line against Lens and Marseille

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is likely to be asked to lead the line against Lens and Marseille

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is likely to be asked to lead the line against Lens and Marseille

Leonardo responded: ‘I find it completely unacceptable that we learn from the press that one of our players is positive.

‘It is a lack of respect to never communicate with the club. We did not speak with anyone. We only spoke with Mbappe. We were the ones who had to put the pressure on. It is unacceptable.’ 

All those who test positive must be isolated for the mandatory 14 days. The season has already started for every other side in the top flight but PSG were afforded an extra break after losing to Bayern Munich on August 23. 

Leonardo might well rage on but it is Tuchel under pressure to cope.  

Positionally it is also a nightmare for the manager as it is mainly in the attacking end of the pitch where his squad has been affected. 

This is the strength of line-up PSG could have put out against Lens were it not for coronavirus

This is the strength of line-up PSG could have put out against Lens were it not for coronavirus

This is the strength of line-up PSG could have put out against Lens were it not for coronavirus 

Keylor Navas (left), Marquinhos (centre) and Mauro Icardi also reportedly tested positive

Keylor Navas (left), Marquinhos (centre) and Mauro Icardi also reportedly tested positive

Keylor Navas (left), Marquinhos (centre) and Mauro Icardi also reportedly tested positive 

Neymar, his world record £198million forward and other marquee player, is also out with Covid-19. 

According to L’Equipe, the Brazilian tested positive after going on an end-of-season holiday to Ibiza. 

They also reported on September 2 that Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes were the other two names to have returned a positive test. 

And things went from bad to worse for PSG just two days later when Mauro Icardi, Keylor Navas and Marquinhos were also reported to have contracted coronavirus. 

So seven frontline stars will be missing for the first two games of their Ligue 1 campaign, not that there will be too much sympathy coming from newly-promoted Lens. 

How a depleted PSG side could line-up for their Ligue 1 opener on Thursday

How a depleted PSG side could line-up for their Ligue 1 opener on Thursday

How a depleted PSG side could line-up for their Ligue 1 opener on Thursday 

French defender Thilo Kehrer is likely to start at the back instead of Marquinhos on Thursday

French defender Thilo Kehrer is likely to start at the back instead of Marquinhos on Thursday

French defender Thilo Kehrer is likely to start at the back instead of Marquinhos on Thursday

Thomas Tuchel has to pick from a depleted squad with seven stars having tested positive

Thomas Tuchel has to pick from a depleted squad with seven stars having tested positive

Thomas Tuchel has to pick from a depleted squad with seven stars having tested positive 

Lens put up a good fight in their opener but went down 2-1 to Nice and even without their top stars, PSG can still put out a strong side. 

Sergio Rico, fresh in from Sevilla, will take his place in goal with Thilo Kehrer likely to come in for Marquinhos. 

The midfield should be solid with Marco Verratti, Idrissa Gueye and Ander Herrera likely to get the nod from Tuchel. 

The new look front three could comprise of Julian Draxler, Pablo Sarabia and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. There is still quality there but Marseille will fancy their chances on Sunday night. 

Gueye and Draxler have both recently been linked with moves away from the French capital with the club hoping to raise £54m to balance the books.

But now it seems any departure will be delayed while Tuchel papers over the cracks. 

Rules are different across Europe but Premier League clubs will no doubt fear a raft of players on the same side being unable to play. 

Their rules are that if 14 players are fit and available, including players from their Under 21 squad, then games must go ahead as planned. 

Players will continue to be tested twice a week but the Premier League is desperate for the season to finish on time with only three weeks after the season until the start of Euro 2021 and Copa America. 

A repeat of this year’s suspension of play would be an unmitigated disaster.  

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here