Sunday Ligue 1 tip preview: Goals at a premium as Rennes look to keep PSG stars quiet

Tipstrr football expert Paul Bathurst looks ahead to Sunday's Ligue 1 action, when a depleted Rennes side will look to stifle PSG's big guns, who are yet to fire since returning from World Cup duty.

Christophe Galtier's PSG side face a tough away trip on Sunday, when they visit fourth-placed Rennes, who themselves face serious personnel issues.

On Wednesday Rennes suffered late heartbreak away to Clermont Foot in a game which saw the Brittany-based side finish with just nine men on the field.

Therefore, this weekend, in their toughest game of the season yet, Rennes will be without the suspended Benjamin Bourigeaud, who has three goals and five assists this campaign. He also takes the majority of their set pieces, so he will be a major loss to his side offensively.

Young defender Warmed Omari is the other player who received his marching orders and will be missing from the home team's lineup on Sunday night.

Alongside these suspensions, Martin Terrier is also unavailable through injury, having recently torn his ACL in a game against OGC Nice - he is Rennes' top scorer this season with nine Ligue 1 goals, whilst also providing four assists, so his absence will be significant.

PSG, on the other hand, are in good shape after extending their lead at the top to six points with a 2-0 victory at home to Angers in the week. An early goal from young forward Hugo Etitike set the tone, before Lionel Messi made things safe 20 minutes from time. 

Marco Verratti is still side-lined with injury and will miss this weekend's game, but that aside Galtier has no other major injury concerns.

Rennes have scored 35 times this season from 31xG which shows that their offensive players have overperformed in terms of finishing. Those statistics appear more clearly defined at their home stadium, Roazhon Park, where they have scored 23 times from just 16xG.

Martin Terrier, as previously mentioned, has 12 goals in all competitions, but they have been scored from just 7xG worth of chances. Rennes have a big problem on their hands with the loss of their best forward for the season, and it is little wonder that Liverpool FC had registered an interest in signing the Frenchman.

Only second-placed Lens can match the defensive record of Paris St Germain, with both sides having conceded just 13 goals in the league. In terms of xG, however, the Parisians have the best defensive record, where they marginally pip Sunday's opponent, Rennes.

With Rennes missing such key players, it's hard to make a case for Bruno Genesio's side disrupting the PSG title charge. It is likely that the home side will look to adopt a conservative approach, with the focus being on stopping their star-studded opponents from creating chances, as this is not a game in which they can realistically look to go toe-to-toe.

PSG themselves are clearly not performing at full capacity, having created just 1.14xG in their midweek game at home to bottom side Angers, but this can possibly be attributed to a World Cup hangover, as they have been below par in all three games since the restart.

Whilst punters love to bet on plenty of goals when Mbappe, Messi and Neymar are involved, the Under markets may hold the value in this clash. The market is currently set at a O/U 3.0 line, which provides a nice safety blanket of a push if there are three goals.

With the huge gaps offensively for Rennes, aligned to the fact that they have overperformed in that area, a PSG win-to-nil is a tasty alternative option that is available at around the 2/1 mark.

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