Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) will play their final game before the World Cup break on Sunday against newly promoted Auxerre.
Paris Saint-Germain beat FC Lorient 2-1 last weekend to maintain a five-point lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table. It wasn't a very straightforward win for Christopher Galtier's men. After Neymar opened the scoring for PSG as early as the ninth minute, Lorient equalized through Terem Moffi eight minutes into the second half.
Danilo Pereira's strike in the 81st minute of the game sealed the deal for the Parisians. Galtier wasn't too impressed with the performances of several of his players and claimed that they are perhaps being too cautious ahead of the World Cup. The PSG coach lauded Neymar and said (via Ligue 1):
"Others played within themselves. It's automatic when you hear about other players getting injured before the World Cup. There's always news that sows doubt. For some I saw a bit of restraint, a bit of fear in challenges, but we got away with it with a set piece. It's ok."
With the 2022 FIFA World Cup just a little over a week away, PSG are likely to rotate and keep some of their key players safe. Without further ado, let's take a look at how PSG could line up against Auxerre on Sunday.
PSG Goalkeeper - Gianluigi Donnarumma
Gianluigi Donnarumma hasn't been very consistent between the sticks for Paris Saint-Germain so far this season. But he is their first-choice goalkeeper and he isn't going to Qatar. Donnarumma is very likely to guard the nets once again.
Centre-back - Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos hasn't been at his best in recent weeks and the same can be said of the entire Paris Saint-Germain backline. However, he turned in a much improved performance last weekend but should have taken a couple of chances that came his way and got his name on the scoresheet.
Centre-back - Marquinhos
Marquinhos has looked a bit shaky at the back on occasion against Lorient. But the Paris Saint-Germain captain did well to thwart the danger posed by Lorient goalscorer Moffi in the first half.
Centre-back - Nordi Mukiele
Danilo Pereira is likely to be rested here and PSG's 25-year-old dynamic defender Nordi Mukiele is set to return to the starting XI against Auxerre.
Right wing-back - Achraf Hakimi
Achraf Hakimi continues to be an enterprising presence down the right side for Paris Saint-Germain. But he has to be more consistent with the quality of his final product and perhaps improve the defensive side of his game as well.
Central midfielder - Renato Sanches
Vitinha did not have a great outing against Lorient and could be one of the players Galtier claims to have played within themselves. He is likely to be rested here with Renato Sanches returning to the lineup.
Central midfielder - Marco Verratti
Well, Italy aren't going to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. As such, Marco Verratti, PSG's main man in midfield, is expected to be named in the starting lineup. He will once again be tasked with helping Paris Saint-Germain dominate possession and driving them forward with his ball progression abilities.
Left wing-back - Juan Bernat
Nuno Mendes has been a lively presence for Paris Saint-Germain on the left wing. He is unlikely to be risked here ahead of his first World Cup. Juan Bernat will reprise his role as the left wing-back against Auxerre.
Right winger - Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi was left out of the matchday squad against Lorient due to an inflammation in his Achilles tendon. He has since returned to training and is likely to get a few minutes under his belt before leaving for the World Cup.
Messi has been in great form but Galtier will be cautious about relying on him extensively and he is likely to be hooked in the second half.
Centre-forward - Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe has been in sublime form of late and is expected to lead the line for PSG against Auxerre. His pace and ability to beat defenders will be key to breaking down their tricky opponents early on Sunday.
Left winger - Neymar
Neymar equalled Mbappe's tally of 11 Ligue 1 goals in the game against Lorient. Galtier believes the Brazilian is playing his best ever football and is unlikely to leave him out of the starting lineup.