Paris Saint-Germain welcome OGC Nice to Parc des Princes on Saturday with Christophe Galtier's current club leading Ligue 1 by two points. The French tactician's former outfit are 13th and struggling under successor Lucien Favre with recent rumors even suggesting that PSG predecessor Mauricio Pochettino was approached by Les Aiglons to potentially replace the Swiss boss. As it is, Favre remains in place and will be targeting a turnaround in form between now and the FIFA World Cup while Les Parisiens have won seven of their eight matches so far to lead the way.
"Nice have had a bit of a rough start to the season," admitted Galtier in Thursday's pre-game press conference. "We have worked with about five regulars for 10 days and quickly need to slip back into our rhythm. This is the first in a long run of matches. There are 13 games left before the World Cup break. We are preparing for it and careful on a physical level. Nice is a club where I was very happy. I am convinced that they have a team with a coach who can take them far."
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How to watch & odds
- Date: Saturday, Oct. 1 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
- Location: Parc des Princes -- Paris, France
- TV: beIN Sports | Live stream: FuboTV
- Odds: PSG -667; Draw +650; Nice +1600 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
PSG: First, a bit of injury news with Presnel Kimpembe continues to receive treatment in Qatar after traveling to the ASPETAR facility and Marco Verratti still recovering from bruising to his left calf against Olympique Lyonnais. Kylian Mbappe did work indoors upon his return from international duty with France but should be fit enough to feature this weekend.
Neymar enjoyed a fruitful international period and scored against Tunisia after two assists against Ghana while Lionel Messi scored four times across Argentina's pair of 3-0 wins against Honduras and Jamaica. Galtier is happy with the Brazilian's form and the relationship between Neymar, Mbappe and Messi despite the French superstar recently admitting in public that he plays two different roles between club and country.
"Neymar seems happy to me," said the PSG head coach. "As soon as I arrived, I saw a player invested and determined with big aims for club and country. When you have such objectives, you make sure that you are in the condition to be successful. Since I arrived and with each passing day, I have simply been experiencing things that are a part of everyday locker room life.
"Nothing surprises me, and nothing challenges me -- the players want to win together and are in competition. They are great champions with competitive minds and egos. We have a very nice locker room and there is discrepancy between what you hear, perceive and some statements. The reality is not that -- this locker room is good together.
"Kylian's analysis is accurate -- he is not in the same setup with us as the one he occupies with France. We discussed this during preseason, with the president and with Luis Campos regarding our attack. We were all convinced that we needed a fourth player with a different profile, but we could not get that fourth player. It is a shame but that is how it is. Kylian plays alongside a focal point like this at international level. The technical relationship between Neymar, Lionel and Kylian is different to that."
Galtier also admitted that he was disappointed with the failure to add another central defender to the PSG ranks this summer with Kimpembe's injury placing particular emphasis on Sergio Ramos and Marquinhos: "We were disappointed that we did not add a central defender. Presnel's absence is moving things about, and we are entering into a very intense period. We would have liked to have had this player and a different type of striker, but it is rare to be satisfied with any transfer window. We know that Luis and the president did their best."
Despite club statement, many sources guarantee that Mauricio Pochettino was approached by OGC Nice in the last few days and he decided to turn down the proposal. ⚠️ #OGCNice— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) September 24, 2022
Pochettino has no intention to accept and he's waiting for different opportunities in the future. pic.twitter.com/AcWRXwxfKP
Nice: With just one win from their last five outings, the pressure is on for Favre who saw Pochettino linked with his post at Allianz Riviera only for the Argentine to opt against the potential move. The Swiss claims to be unperturbed by the speculation that INEOS might move him on and a winnable run of games after their trip to the capital could ease things: "I have lived very well these last few days," said Favre. "The rumors are the rumors -- I know that, so there is no problem. We had a meeting with the directors, where the sporting director spoke, which was good."
On top of that, former sporting director Julien Fournier has also spoken about Galtier's tense time at the club before leaving for PSG: "The relationship I had with Christophe was chaotic from the beginning," said the now Parma man. "If I explain the reasons why Christophe and I argued, he would not be able to enter any dressing room in France or in Europe. These are things much more serious than football, and topics on which me, Christophe, and the president (Jean-Pierre Rivere) were very far apart on." Fournier is believed to be referring to Galtier's handling of Nice players during Ramadan among other things.
Pick: PSG are looking strong while Nice are in disarray so this should be a straightforward home win. I will go for a 3-1 score, but I could also quite easily see a 2-0 or even a 3-0 result in the hosts' favor. What happens next for Nice will determine Favre's fate with his time seemingly borrowed with the club at least considering the available managerial market.