Several artists will be missing on the Camp Nou lawn. Ansu Fati, Coutinho, Araujo and Sergi Roberto on the Barcelona side but above all Neymar and Angel Di Maria for PSG.
So inevitably, the Parisian attack will have to turn to its virtuoso Kylian Mbappé. The world champion has been criticized a lot in recent weeks, mainly because of his lack of sharpness and his sterile charms.
He also knows that his statistics are not good in the C1 playoff games: only one goal in two seasons. But the Frenchman is doing much better since his double in Montpellier at the end of January.
“I expect from him what I always expect from great players”, comments Mauricio Pochettino. “I’ve been very happy with him since my arrival. Di Maria and Neymar’s absences are important, but all the players will play their part to win the game.”
As against Nice this weekend, he will probably be supported by Moïse Kean and Mauro Icardi while the midfield will be orchestrated by Marco Verratti. The Italian is expected to be lined up in an unusual number 10 role.
For once, Verratti will be able to play very high in Mauricio Pochettino’s 4-2-3-1, with Paredes and Gueye behind his back. The opportunity for him to express his offensive talents as a distributor, often hampered by his defensive obligations.
It remains just to be seen if Verratti will be 100%, he who missed the last game and who has long been uncertain because of his luck. “We have a strategy, a game plan, and, depending on the forms, we will make the necessary decisions”, slips the coach of PSG.