Newly-promoted Ajaccio host league-leading Paris Saint-Germain in the French top flight on Friday night.
In their first Ligue 1 season since 2014, Ajaccio have begun to show signs of life, climbing off the foot of the table with seven points from their last four matches – including a shock victory against Olympique de Marseille.
PSG navigated their way past OM in Le Classique last weekend, restoring their three-point lead above surprise package Lorient at the table’s summit.
Here’s everything you need to know about Ajaccio’s attempts to cause another upset.
Ajaccio: 0 Wins
PSG: 2 Wins
The long-serving Olivier Pantaloni is expected to be without both veteran forwards Romain Hamouma (knee) and Yoann Touzaghar (ankle). Centre-back Fernand Mayembo has been out since August while Qazim Laci isn’t a doubt with a hamstring injury.
Ajaccio Starting 11 (4-4-2): Leroy; Youssouf, Avinel, Gonzalez, Kone; Spadanuda, Marchetti, Coutadeur, Nouri; El Idrissy, Moussiti-Oko.
Bench: Sollacaro, Vidal, Alphonse, Mangani, Cimignani, Barreto, Chabrolle, Belaili, Botue.
Neymar scored the only goal in Le Classique last weekend but is set to miss out on Friday due to ongoing legal ramifications regarding his move to Barcelona from Santos in 2013.
Sergio Ramos is sidelined by suspension while both Nuno Mendes and Danilo Pereira are struggling with hamstring injuries. Presnel Kimpembe, however, returned to team training on Wednesday.
PSG Starting 11 (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Hakimi, Mukiele, Marquinhos, Bernat; Ruiz, Verratti, Vitinha; Sarabia, Messi, Mbappe.
Bench: Navas, Rico, Sanches, Soler, Kimpembe, Bitshiabu, Zaire-Emery, Gharbi, Ekitike
Ajaccio’s lowly standing of 18th isn’t entirely indicative of their season thus far. No side in Ligue 1 has conceded fewer shots than the Corsican outfit, who rank an impressive third for non-penalty expected goals (xG) conceded.
However, their thoroughly underwhelming status as the division’s lowest scorers is in line with their underlying numbers. PSG, Ligue 1’s most prolific side, should have enough to fly back from Napoleon Bonaparte’s birthplace with all three points, but it may not be as straightforward as the league table suggests.
Prediction: Ajaccio 0-2 PSG