With over a month remaining until the conclusion of UEFA Champions League group play, Paris Saint-Germain are already on the brink of booking a spot in the final 16.
The Red and Blue, behind the supremacy of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, tallied nine emphatic points their first time through Group C and are now just a victory over struggling Belgian side Anderlecht away from clinching a place in the next round.
On the surface, defeating Anderlecht seems like a simple task. PSG handed John van den Brom's side a hammering 5-0 defeat two weeks ago in Brussels, and at the Parc des Princes in Paris, things should be even easier.
However, with Ibrahimovic, who tied a Champions League record with four goals in that match, and €63 million man Edinson Cavani, who has 11 goals in 15 appearances this season, both sidelined due to injury, things may get slightly more interesting.
Anderlecht will certainly be hoping that's the case. The Purple and White have zero points—and zero goals—through three matches, so a result in France is vital if they have any hope of shocking Europe and miraculously getting out of Group C.
Where: Parc des Princes, Paris, France
When: Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 2:45 p.m. ET (in Paris, 8:45 p.m. CET)
Watch: Sky Sports 4—Red Button (There is no live broadcast in the States, where you will likely have to watch via live stream)
Live Stream: Fox Soccer 2 Go
Match Forecast (via Bloomberg Sports)
PSG: 79.2 percent
Anderlecht: 4.5 percent
Draw: 16.3 percent
Top Storyline: Who Will Fill the Attacking Void Left by Ibrahimovic and Cavani?
In PSG's three Champions League matches this season, Ibra has scored an absurd six goals, while Cavani has found the back of the net twice. Together, they represent eight of PSG's 12 goals.
In Ligue 1 play, they have accounted for 14 (nine for Cavani, five for Ibra) of the team's 24, giving the duo 61.1 percent of PSG's overall goals on the season.
Replacing that production will be integral, and it will be interesting to see who can rise to the occasion for the French side.
Lucas Moura seems like an appropriate candidate. The 21-year-old Brazilian hasn't done much in three Champions League appearances (only one start), but he has two goals, three assists and 2.3 shots per contest in Ligue 1 play, per WhoScored.com.
With blazing speed and enticing dribbling ability, this seems like a good opportunity for Lucas to impress a worldwide audience.
Thiago Motta, who has had a hand in five goals (two goals, three assists) in Champions League play, and veteran Ezequiel Lavezzi will also likely get more chances on the attack.
No Ibra, no Cavani, no problem.
PSG are undefeated in Ligue 1 and Champions League play for a reason. Even without their top two stars up front, Laurent Blanc's squad has plenty of talent and depth all over the pitch.
The French side may not give the Paris crowd a five-goal show like it did in Brussels, but Anderlecht is in terrible form right now. Look for the home side to easily earn three points and qualify for the Round of 16.
PSG 3, Anderlecht 0
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