The Numbers Game: PSG front three poised to end Monaco's impressive away run

By Sports Desk August 27, 2022

Paris Saint-Germain will be out to continue their lightning start to the Ligue 1 season against one of the few teams to depose them as Ligue 1 champions in the QSI era when Monaco visit the Parc des Princes.

New coach Christophe Galtier has seen his team claim three wins from three league games, their latest victory coming at the expense of a Lille side he guided to the title in 2020-21.

PSG thrashed Les Dogues 7-1 and already hold a two-point lead at the top of the table.

Monaco, who edged out PSG in 2016-17, look unlikely to challenge them this season, having taken four points from three games.

It would be harsh to overly criticise that points return but the consistency of PSG's star-studded squad has made early slip-ups something potential title rivals cannot afford.

And, after losing 4-1 at home to Lens last time out, Monaco have the appearance of a team who could be emphatically put to the sword by one of their former heroes.

PSG FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS

The superstar front three of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi did not gel in the spectacular fashion many anticipated following the latter's shock move from Barcelona last year.

This season, the fearsome triumvirate look to have established a devastating rapport.

PSG have scored 17 goals across their three league wins, the second-highest total at this stage in Ligue 1 history behind Rennes and their 18 scored in 1950-51 (also W3).

With the Mbappe-inspired hammering of Lille following five-goal efforts against both Montpellier and Clermont, PSG have scored at least five in each of their past four Ligue 1 matches in a run stretching back to last season.

They are only the second team to achieve that feat. The other team to do so was Reims between August and September 1952.

Messi has three goals to his name already while Neymar has found the net five times. It is Mbappe, however, who is the best bet for a hat-trick against his former club.

THREE THE MAGIC NUMBER FOR MBAPPE

With his treble against Lille, which saw him score eight seconds into the game at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, equalling a Ligue 1 record, Mbappe netted his third hat-trick of 2022.

That tally of three-goal showings is more than any other player in Europe's top five leagues, the France international also hitting hat-tricks against Clermont in April and Metz in May.

He has 23 league goals to his name in this calendar year, comfortably outperforming his expected goals (xG) of 16.9, highlighting his supreme reliability.

Though Monaco will be concerned by the threat posed by PSG's cavalcade of goalscoring talent, they will be heartened by the fact the Parisians have conceded three goals this term, and they have a potential means through which to exploit the hosts' defensive vulnerabilities.

CAIO THE CREATIVE OUTLET

Caio Henrique made only one first team appearance for Atletico Madrid, but he has blossomed into a hugely important player for Monaco since joining in 2020.

Last season, the full-back produced eight assists in the league and has already managed to set up a goal this term.

PSG had previously been linked with the Brazilian, and they will be wary of his threat when Monaco get the ball to him on the left.

Six of Caio Henrique's assists since the start of last season have come from a cross. Jonathan Clauss (7) is the sole player to deliver more in that manner.

GALTIER'S MONACO MISERY

If Monaco are searching for encouragement from the numbers, they should look towards Galtier's record against the Principality club.

The former Saint-Etienne and Nice boss has won just 21 per cent of his games against Monaco as a coach (4/19).

Only against Marseille (16 per cent – 4/25) and PSG (17 per cent – 4/24) does he have a worse record among teams he has faced more than five times in the top flight.

Monaco are also unbeaten in their last six away games in Ligue 1 and have won three of their last four league matches against PSG.

But, with PSG having avoided defeat in their past 23 home Ligue 1 games since losing 1-0 to Lille in April 2021, the odds are stacked against Monaco extending their impressive run of form on their travels.

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