PSG predicted lineup vs Montpellier – Ligue 1

Paris Saint-Germain continue their quest to reclaim their Ligue 1 crown as they host Montpellier on Saturday night.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side have required goals deep into injury time to snatch all three points in their last two matches, so the Argentine will be hoping for a less stressful time of it at the weekend.

However, PSG will be without superstar new signing Lionel Messi, who has been ruled out with a knee injury and is facing a race against time to be fit to face Man City in the Champions League in midweek.

With that in mind, here’s the side Pochettino should pick for the visit of Montpellier…

Marquinhos

Marquinhos will captain the side / Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

Gianluigi Donnarumma (GK) – PSG’s bizarre goalkeeper rotation will continue here, with Donnarumma coming back in after sitting out the midweek win at Metz.

Achraf Hakimi (RB) – With the Parisians fairly short in the full-back department at present, expect Hakimi to start. Bagged both goals in midweek.

Marquinhos (CB) – The club captain, he is certain to lead the side on Saturday night.

Presnel Kimpembe (CB) – Summer signing Sergio Ramos is still out injured, so Kimpembe’s stay of execution is likely to continue alongside Marquinhos.

Abdou Diallo (LB) – PSG’s injury problems at full-back will likely mean Diallo – a centre-back by trade – will be shunted out wide, although young Nuno Mendes did play in midweek.

Gini Wijnaldum

Wijnaldum must do better in midfield / Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

Danilo Pereira (DM) – The former Porto man is most likely to anchor the midfield in Marco Verratti’s absence. Seems to be preferred to Leandro Paredes.

Ander Herrera (CM) – Will hope to continue his fine goalscoring season thus far with more penetrating runs from deep. Unexpectedly important player to this star-studded PSG side.

Georginio Wijnaldum (CM) – Something of an underwhelming start to life in Paris for the former Liverpool star. He’ll hope that changes, starting on Saturday.

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-METZ-PSG

Neymar was excellent in midweek / SEBASTIEN BOZON/Getty Images

Kylian Mbappe (RW) – Mbappe wasn’t at his flying best against Metz but will doubtless start here – especially with Messi out injured.

Mauro Icardi (ST) – The main beneficiary of Messi’s absence, Icardi will continue up front despite struggling against Metz. Did get that late winner last weekend against Lyon, though.

Neymar (LW) – The Brazilian was the difference in midweek, dazzling throughout and providing a wonderful late assist for Hakimi. A shoo-in to start.

USSF files response to USWNT’s equal pay lawsuit appeal

The United States Soccer Federation filed a response to the appeal in the equal pay lawsuit from players on the US women’s national team on Wednesday, stressing that the decision to dismiss the original claims stands correct.

In May 2020, US District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner dismissed the players’ equal pay complaints, citing that the total compensation spelled out in their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), including guaranteed salaries and benefits, was higher than men’s compensation during the class period in question.

The documents proved that the percentage of money the USWNT players received based on revenue generated came out to 27 per cent compared to the men’s 24 per cent.

“The WNT deliberately negotiated for a CBA that prioritized guaranteed salaries and substantial benefits over higher contingent bonuses,” the filing read. “Plaintiffs cannot now, with the benefit of hindsight, pursue ‘equal pay’ claims based on a different pay structure they explicitly rejected.

“The district court agreed. This is not a factual dispute. It is not a battle of the experts. It is a fundamental disagreement about what equal pay means under the law.”

A statement on behalf of the players in response, read: “USSF’s argument is a tired and frustrating anachronism that women should settle for less than they are worth. In arguing that the women were ‘paid more’ than the men, USSF completely ignores that the women’s team had to be much more successful than the men’s team to make about the same as the men.

“USSF’s false lip service regarding support for equal pay has been publicly dismantled by the Men’s team, the EEOC, and a host of former EEOC officials, along with many others, including USSF’s own employees, who have complained of the sexist culture that persists at the organization. It is a fact that if the women players were paid at the same rates as the men that they would have made three times as much as the men because they outperformed the men.

“It is also a fact that USSF — not FIFA — decides what to pay the men’s and women’s teams for the World Cup, and USSF made that decision before FIFA even announced its bonus structure. The reality is that USSF determines its own budget and its own rate of pay and cannot blame FIFA for its own ongoing and past discrimination.”

The lawsuit was originally filed in March 2019, focusing on equal pay and working conditions. The women then filed an appeal last July to the US Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit, urging Judge Klausner to revisit rates of pay and bonuses.

“The court did not account for performance — specifically, that the women had to be the best in the world to make about the same amount per game as the much less successful men,” the women’s appeal stated.

Currently the USSF is negotiating separate CBAs with both unions as the men’s contract expired in 2018 and the women’s deadline is coming up at the end of this year.

Ricardo Pepi says ‘time will come’ for move to Europe

FC Dallas forward Ricardo Pepi has fuelled rumors surrounding a transfer to Europe by responding “that time will come” when asked about his future and a move abroad.

The player’s comments come after 90min revealed several European sides are interested in the player. A source close to the forward revealed teams in the Bundesliga, Serie A and English Premier League have closely monitored Pepi, who is now nearing an agreement over a switc.

Pepi spoke candidly to Luis Miguel Echegaray, host of CBS Sports’ Que Golazo! Podcast and revealed that should the opportunity present itself, he would be ready.

“Whenever that decision comes, thinking about the future and Europe, that time will come. But right now I am focused on the moment and FC Dallas and the next few games,” Pepi said.

“I feel like I am really prepared for the moment and I’m ready for whatever comes … and I am going to take it all.”

Despite sitting in 11th place on the Western Conference table, Pepi has excelled this season, scoring 12 goals and providing three assists in 24 matches so far.

“There are players like Robert [Lewandowski] and Erling Haaland I compare my game to,” he added. “I like to watch their movements and do some video on them and like to prepare myself for them, so Lewandowski is one of the best strikers in the world and I like to compare myself to him. A lot.”

Internationally, USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter recently praised Pepi for his phenomenal debut against Honduras during the September World Cup qualifiers. In a short period of time, the forward has become a household name in the United States and gained international recognition for his abilities on the pitch.

Should a move materialise, Pepi would remain with Dallas for the remainder of the MLS campaign.

Barcelona lose appeal over Ronald Koeman & Frenkie de Jong red cards

Barcelona have lost their appeal over the red cards shown to midfielder Frenkie de Jong and manager Ronald Koeman in Thursday’s 0-0 draw with Cadiz.

De Jong was dismissed for two yellow cards shortly after the hour mark, the second of which has divided opinion. Koeman was left visibly frustrated by the dismissal, and his temper boiled over late on as he was shown a red card of his own for protesting against the referee.

Barcelona appealed both decisions, believing both were unjust, but according to TV3, their pleas have fallen on deaf ears and De Jong and Koeman have seen their suspensions upheld.

De Jong has been given a one-game ban, which rules him out of Sunday’s visit of Levante, while Koeman has a two-game suspension to deal with and will miss the following trip to Atletico Madrid… assuming he’s actually still in charge at that point.

Sources have confirmed to 90min that Barcelona are already working on walking away from Koeman, who is not expected to have a job beyond the Levante game and is highly unlikely to still be associated with the club once October’s international break comes to a close.

While Koeman will obviously still be involved in managing the team during his suspension, we may well have seen him in the Camp Nou dugout for the final time.

The search is on for a potential replacement for Koeman. Xavi remains a popular choice but he is hesitant to commit just yet, while those in charge have also looked at Andrea Pirlo, Antonio Conte, Phillip Cocu and Roberto Martinez.

Leicester’s Brendan Rodgers remains on the radar, while recent links have also named Reims’ Oscar Garcia as a potential option.

The Barcelona chiefs want somebody capable of coming in and making an immediate change, rather than somebody to simply steady the ship, but tensions are riding high at Camp Nou and there is a feeling that the decision-makers may not wait to strip Koeman of his job.

South Americans to be given quarantine exemptions for upcoming international break

The South American stars in the Premier League are expected to be granted exemptions from quarantine rules for the upcoming international break in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the chaos seen earlier this month.

English sides attempted to go against FIFA rules and block their South Americans from leaving for international duty as the likes of Brazil and Argentina are on the UK government’s red list for COVID-19 threat and would be required to isolate upon their return – as was the case with Aston Villa’s Argentinian duo Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia.

To make matters worse, those players who did not accept their call-ups were threatened with five-day bans from FIFA which were only lifted the day before the Premier League got back underway.

It was all a bit messy, so in anticipation of October’s international break, The Times state that plans have been made for Premier League stars to avoid the need to quarantine.

Clubs of players hoping to travel to South America have been told that they must share the cost of a private jet for their internationals, which will cost around £120,000 each way, while the players must also remain in a strict bubble while overseas.

It means the Brazilians who missed out on international duty last time round will have the chance to link up with their country once again. Tite’s latest squad includes Liverpool duo Alisson and Fabinho, Manchester City’s Ederson and Gabriel Jesus, Chelsea’s Thiago Silva, Manchester United’s Fred and Leeds’ Raphinha.

A final decision on quarantine exemptions is yet to be made, but the UK government have made it clear to FIFA that they are prepared to consider such a ruling as a show of good faith following their decision to rescind the proposed bans.

As well as the Brazilians, relaxed rules would also benefit Argentina, Paraguay, Chile and Mexico, all of whom have high-profile representatives in the Premier League.