It almost seems choreographed. Just as Paris Saint-Germain enter the run of games that usually defines the success of their season, a key player suffers an injury. Normally it’s Neymar. But he’s already out. For early February 2023? Hobble forward Monsieur Kylian Mbappé.
The France international injured his left leg mid-way through the first-half of Wednesday night’s Ligue 1 clash at Montpellier.
The 24-year-old will be out for around three weeks, PSG confirmed on Thursday afternoon.
During his absence, PSG host Toulouse on 4 February in Ligue 1 and they play in the Coupe de France at Marseille on 8 February.
There is also the trip to Mbappé’s former club Monaco on 11 February as well as the first leg in the last-16 of the Champions League against Bayern Munich on 14 February.
Neymar missed the voyage to Montpellier with what PSG medics called muscular fatigue. But there are also concerns about the injuries the 30-year-old Brazilian brought back with him from the World Cup in Qatar.
And PSG seem thin for experienced back-ups. The Morocco international Hakim Ziyech was targeted. But the loan deal with the Chelsea forward fell through on the final day of the January transfer window.
“For various reasons, we could not make it work,” said PSG boss Christophe Galtier. “I believe that the responsibility does not lie with our club. That’s how it is, that’s life, we look ahead.”
What PSG also have to consider is a veritable scrap for the Ligue 1 title.
The 3-1 victory at Montpellier was their first success since beating Angers 2-0 at the Parc des Princes on 11 January.
And though Mbappé and defender Sergio Ramos suffered injuries, there was a ray of light with the first goal of academy product Warren Zaire-Emery.
The stoppage time strike to seal the victory made him at 16 years and 330 days the youngest player to score a goal for the first team.
The win gave PSG 51 points from their 21 games. Marseille trail the pacesetters by five points after their 2-0 win at Nantes.
Marseille boss Igor Tudor refused to entertain talk of a title challenge despite the team’s impressive form which has harvested 28 from a possible 30 points.