PSG had an opportunity to go top in Ligue 1 this weekend, but instead, they went to Montpellier and lost 3-0. Now, they have a similar chance to top their Champions League group with a win. After two draws with Arsenal, PSG will win Group A with a victory against Ludogorets (due to a head-to-head advantage in away goals against Arsenal). Ludogorets actually went up in the reverse fixture 1-0, before losing 3-1. While the Bulgarian side’s Champions League campaign is over, if they can match Basel’s result against Arsenal, they will finish third and move into the Europa League. They’re sitting in first in Bulgaria by six points and have lost only once in 10 matches, with 8 wins in all competitions during that run. That solitary loss was to Arsenal, when they went up 2-0, only to lose 2-3 to an 87th minute miracle from Mesut Ozil. With that context, PSG can hardly afford the lapse they had at Montpellier and must take their chances. Despite Edinson Cavani making a career out of missing frustratingly clear goal scoring opportunities, he is the Champions League’s second highest scorer this year, with five goals. A bit more careful finishing against Ludogorets and PSG should finish top.
PSG are gearing up to win a fifth Ligue 1 title that feels almost like a foregone conclusion, even with Zlatan’s departure. Again, the measure of their season will be how well they do in Europe. To that end, they’ve brought in former Sevilla manager Unai Emery who won three Europa League titles during his tenure. They’ve also added to the squad, adding Jese Rodriquez from Real Madrid, Hatem Ben Arfa, and defensive midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak, among others. While none of them are superstars, it does appear that their aim is to create a more cohesive squad, instead of following Madrid’s Galacticos model.
The Bulgarian champions make it to the group stage for the second time in three years after getting past Czech side Plzen in their play-off. Their squad is a mix of Brazilians looking to move up the ranks in Europe and journeymen from leagues across Eastern Europe. The Flying Eagles will be led by the Bulgarian league’s top scorer, Claudiu Keșerü, who nabbed 15 last year. Their inclusion should make for entertaining TV viewing as Arsenal and PSG visit the 8,808 capacity Ludogorets Arena.
Despite being overshadowed by Zlatan for most of his PSG career, Cavani has never scored fewer than 25 goals in a season for the club.
After a disappointing season at Manchester United, Di María scored 15 goals for PSG last season.