Paris Saint-Germain are hoping to enter the semifinal of the Coupe de France as they take on SCO Angers on Wednesday.
Paris Saint-Germain have found themselves at the centre of all the drama surrounding the European Super League this week, after having reportedly rejected the opportunity to join the breakaway competition, along with FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
They will be looking to move on as they play hosts to SCO Angers, in the quarterfinal of the Coupe de France. It appears Les Parisien are the only team left in Europe, who have a legitimate chance of winning the treble this season especially after an excellent weekend that saw them close the gap to LOSC Lille at the top to just one point.
Incidentally, Lille were the team to face PSG in the previous round to Coupe de France, stumbling to a 3-0 at the hands of the French champions, who have also beaten in SM Caen and Stade Brest in the competition this season.
Angers, on the other hand, have had a relatively easier schedule, although a win over Stade Rennais in the third round was certainly impressive. They have since beaten Club Franciscain of Martinique, which is a part of the French overseas territory located near West Indies, as well as fourth-tier French mainland outfit CS Sedan.
Le SCO are currently holding a mid-table status, as far as the Ligue 1 is concerned, although they are not in the best of forms, having failed to win in any of their last five league matches – making the proposition of beating PSG much more difficult, in this cup tie.
Here, at the Hard Tackle, we are taking a closer look at these two sides ahead of their enticing match-up in the Coupe de France this midweek.
Tactics & Team News
PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino is expected to ring in the changes, particularly after the return of Alessandro Florenzi and Marco Veratti from injury while Neymar, Idrissa Gueye and Leandro Paredes will all return from their suspension on the weekend.
It should greatly boost PSG’s strength in depth, giving Pochettino the privilege of rotating the squad ahead of tough games against Metz and Manchester City.
The start of a new week!⚽️🏋️♂️ pic.twitter.com/8f8jcnHuFd
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) April 19, 2021
Kylian Mbappe, for one, could be given a breather, having played far too many games in a short span of time. Neymar’s return to the squad means the Frenchman can afford to start on the bench, while elsewhere in the attacking unit, Pochettino may also recall the likes of Julian Draxler, Angel Di Maria and Mauro Icardi, who could spearhead the PSG frontline.
In midfield, Gueye and Paredes might slot right back into the double-pivot, with Veratti an option from the bench once again as PSG look to slowly reintegrate the Italian back to the first team. These two will play a key role in helping PSG dominate possession as well as disrupting the flow of the opposition in the middle of the park.
Defensively, though, Pochettino’s options are limited due to the absence of Marquinhos, Keylor Navas and Juan Bernat. As such, Thilo Kehrer may continue at centre-back, ahead of Danilo, while both Colin Dagba and Lavyin Kurzawa could come back into the side, hoping to provide the width going forward.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Rico; Dagba, Kehrer, Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Paredes, Gueye; Di Maria, Neymar, Draxler; Icardi
SCO Angers’ long-serving head coach Stephane Moulin is devoid of options due to injury or Covid-19, with his long list of absentees including star players like Sofiane Boufal, Angelo Fulgini, Lassana Coulibaly and Vincent Monceau among many others.
One potential positive, though, will be the availability of main striker Stephane Bahoken, who will undoubtedly spearhead the attack for the Black and Whites this midweek. The 28-year-old should be partnered by Lois Diony as Angers look to revert to a 4-4-2 formation with two banks of four offering protection for goalkeeper Ludovic Butelle in goal.
The 4-4-2 does indeed offer more shape and compactness, especially in the second line of press with Ibrahim Amadou and Thomas Mangani likely to operate closely alongside each other.
Even the wide midfielders in Sada Thioub and Mohamed-Ali Cho could play a vital role in minimising the passing option for PSG’s defensive ball carriers and could potentially join forces with the likes of Diony and Bahoken in the first line of press.
Defensively, Abdoulaye Bamba and Pierrick Capelle could continue to deputise for the injured premier fullback duo of Monceau and Souleyman Doumbia while the central defensive pairing will comprise of Romain Thomas and Ismael Traore.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Butelle; Bamba, Traore, Thomas, Capelle; Thioub, Amadou, Mangani, Ali Cho; Bahoken, Diony
- Paris Saint-Germain have not conceded a single goal in their Coupe de France campaign so far, securing three back to back clean sheets in wins over Caen, Brest and Lille.
- SCO Angers have secured just one win in the league since the start of February, but four in all competitions, with the three additional victories coming in Coupe de France.
- Angers have already faced PSG twice this season – losing 6-1 away from home back in October before a narrow victory at home in January.
- Angers have one of the least effective attacking units in Ligue 1 this season, with only the bottom three clubs in Nimes, Nantes and Dijon scoring fewer goals.
- PSG, in contrast, have the best attack in the division, with their tally of 74 goals only bettered by Bayern Munich in Europe’s top five leagues this season.
Player to Watch
Among all the talented attacking players on show for PSG this midweek, it is Sergio Rico who will be under the microscope as the recent absence of Keylor Navas has ushered in a cloud of uncertainty in the camp, especially ahead of a crucial Champions League semi-final tie against Manchester City.
To make matters worse for the hosts, Rico performed rather poorly in the last game against Saint-Etienne. It should raise questions as to whether or not the Spaniard is good enough to replace Navas, should the ex-Real Madrid ‘keeper miss the next midweek game against Manchester City.
Rico, therefore, needs to perform well and remain sharp in a game up against the Angers attack. He simply cannot afford to make a defensive error as Les Parisien eye a potential treble this season.
Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 SCO Angers
This should be a relatively easy game for an in-form PSG side who have been strengthened by the return of a host of players this midweek. They are also up against an opposition who have largely struggled in recent weeks and do not have a functioning attacking department, although the depleted PSG defence still needs to be careful.