The preview : Reims-Paris
As the Parisians prepare to travel to Reims for Matchday 12 of Ligue 1 on Saturday 11 November at 5pm, we bring you a closer look at the capital club's next match. With history, standings, dynamics and players to watch, we take a look at the match that awaits our Red and Blues against the Stadistes.
An update on the table
With the 3-0 win over Montpellier HSC at the Parc des Princes last time around, Paris Saint-Germain remain on a run of four consecutive league victories following wins over Rennes (1-3), Strasbourg (3-0) and Brest (2-3). Paris now have a total of 24 points from 11 league games, one point behind leaders OGC Nice.
As for Stade de Reims, they have made a very good start to the season, with a total of 20 points from 11 games and, most importantly, 4th place in Ligue 1. With confidence flowing in recent weeks, SDR have just won two league games in a row without conceding a single goal, against Lorient (1-0) and Nantes (0-1).
a look back at the last encounter
The two sides met on Matchday 20 of the 2022-2023 season at the Parc des Princes on 29 January. The Parisians were tentative in the first half against a Reims side with a well-defined game plan. Achraf Hakimi and Léo Messi were behind the most dangerous move for the capital club, while Junya Ito and Folarin Balogun failed to find the target for the visiting team. It was in the second half that the game really got going, with Neymar Jr getting on the end of a ball in the box and dribbling past Yehvann Diouf before slotting home with his left foot to give Paris the lead (1-0, 51').
But just before the hour mark, the game took a different turn when Marco Verratti was sent off for an aggressive tackle on Ito. Yet the threat continued to come from the Parisians, with Sergio Ramos and then Messi going close to doubling the lead. A lack of composure was to prove costly for the Rouge et Bleu, however, as Balogun pounced on a through ball to equalise in the dying moments of stoppage time (1-1, 90'+6). Paris Saint-Germain and Stade de Reims ended the game level, after a generally even contest.
Will Still and his team mainly play in a 5-3-2 system. In goal, Yehvann Diouf has established himself as a key member of the Reims side. The France U-21 international has conceded just 12 goals in 11 Ligue 1 matches this season, the 4th lowest total of all goalkeepers who have played all matches. In central defence, three regulars stand out from the rest, starting with captain Yunis Abdelhamid. Achraf Hakimi's team-mate in the Moroccan national team is the only outfield player to have played in all 11 league matches so far for Stade de Reims, proof of his importance to the team's defence.
Alongside him, Joseph Okumu is also a regular starter. The Kenyan international is also the Reims player who has made the most clearances this season (43). Lastly, Emmanuel Agbadou is the usual third starter in the the Rouge et Blanc rearguard. With 15 interceptions to his name, the Côte d'Ivoire international is the Reims player who has intercepted the most balls since the start of the season. On the right side of defence, Belgian international Thomas Foket is a steady presence and should once again start against the Parisians.
On the other side, his compatriot Thibault De Smet is competing with young Englishman Josh Wilson-Esbrand for a place on the left. In midfield, new Moroccan international Amir Richardson is one of the revelations of the Reims side. With 2 goals and 1 assist in 8 appearances, he is already becoming a key figure in his team's midfield. To support him, SDR will have to do without Valentin Atangana and potentially Marshall Munetsi, both of whom were injured recently.
As for Azor Matusiwa, the Dutchman should start the game. A key player in the system put in place by the Reims staff this season, he is the midfielder who has recovered the most balls for his team (67). Moreover, he is the player with the highest rate of successful tackles in the team since the start of the season (78.9%), thanks to his 15 successful tackles out of 19 attempts. In a more attacking role, Teddy Teuma should be the final link in the midfield. The Maltese international has been Stade de Reims' most decisive player this season, with no fewer than 4 goals and 2 assists.
On the attacking front, the leading role falls to Junya Ito. The Japanese international (2 goals and 2 assists this season) has been the driving force behind many of the Stadiens' attacks, as evidenced by his 38 actions leading to a shot this season (the highest total in the Reims squad). To support him, Mohamed Daramy is in competition with Amine Salama. The former is the second most successful dribbler for Reims so far this season (17), and will undoubtedly be a player to keep an eye on in the Paris defence should he start the game.
Marquinhos - yunis abdelhamid : The battle of the match
They will each be trying to protect their goal and guide their team-mates to victory. On Saturday, Marquinhos and Yunis Abdelhamid will be engaged in another long-distance duel. The two captains, who have been used to meeting in the league for several seasons now, will have an important role to play in what promises to be a closely-fought encounter. A true leader in the dressing room, Marquinhos occupies an important place in the Parisian defence. In fact, when the Brazilian international has been on the pitch this season, his defence has conceded just 4 league goals, averaging 2.33 points per game.
As for his Reims counterpart, Yunis Abdelhamid is also of fundamental importance to his team. Now in his seventh season with Stade de Reims, Abdelhamid has already made 35 clearances and 10 interceptions so far this season, to which he can add 11 successful tackles. A defensive rock, the iconic SDR defender has made 73 recoveries in 11 games, the highest total of any member of the Rouge et Blanc squad. The Parisian attack therefore knows that it will have to be at its best if it is to find a way through on Saturday at the Stade Auguste Delaune.