Paris Saint-Germain will kickstart their Coupe de France campaign on Sunday when they take on Feignies Aulnoye FC in the third round.

The defending champions of Coupe de France will gear up for their first encounter in the competition this season, as they lock horns with Feignies Aulnoye on Sunday, in the third round.

The match will be hosted at the Hainaut Stadium in Valenciennes, as Feignies’ Complexe Sportif Didier Eloy only has a capacity of 1,500 people. They are, after all, plying their trade in Championnat National 3, which serves as the fifth division of the French footballing hierarchy.

Feignies Aulnoye have already exceeded all expectations to arrive at this stage of the competition. They beat ES Bully-les-Mines in the first round before securing a shocking win on penalties against AC Amiens in the previous round.

They now have the opportunity to lock horns with one of the best clubs in world football, in the form of Paris Saint-Germain. The Ligue 1 giants are the defending champions of Coupe de France, having beaten AS Monaco in the final last season. But unlike their opponents, this will be PSG’s first game in the competition this season.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men have shown imperious form in the domestic competition so far, conjuring a staggering 13 point lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table. They will be hoping to kickstart their Coupe de France campaign on a positive note as well, up against the tournament’s surprise package this weekend.

Team News & Tactics

Feignies Aulnoye

A majority of Feignies Aulnoye players will be facing the toughest challenge of their footballing careers as they take on PSG on Sunday. And given the gulf in difference between the two sides, coach Jean Antunes certainly won’t have any option but to sit back and contain the pressure from their opponents.

Due to the isolated nature of the club, when compared to the broader spectrum of mainstream French football, Feignies Aulnoye’s potential absentees or injury issues heading into this game remain unknown.

But the hosts certainly have some exciting players on their cards, including Yanis Bensaber. The young winger stems from the LOSC Lille academy and has featured in both the cup matches so far. He will play a key role in the Feignies attack, alongside the likes of Allassane Ouattara and Malick Sambou.

Another key player is the experienced defender Gary Marigard. The 33-year-old is one of the few players in the team who have professional experience. Heading into this game, the defender suggested that his team will do everything they can to secure an upset this weekend, stating, “If there is a 1% chance against PSG, we will play it thoroughly”.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Le Meur; Courtin, Diedhiou, Calderara, Marigard; Lachaab, Parmentier, Obino; Ouattara, Bensaber, Sambou

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Paris Saint-Germain

With PSG set to play a crucial league game against Lorient in midweek, Mauricio Pochettino might opt to make a few changes from the side that faced Monaco. There is optimism surrounding the return of Sergio Ramos, but Nuno Mendes, Neymar and Julian Draxler should all remain on the sidelines.

A second-string side PSG should see Keylor Navas starting in goal, ahead of Gianluigi Donnarumma. Colin Dagba and Thilo Kehrer are expected to return to the side as well, at the expense of Achraf Hakimi and Juan Bernat respectively. But Pochettino may want to continue with Marquinhos, as the team does require a bit of leadership and experience at the back.

In midfield, Pochettino is unlikely to risk Marco Verratti, thus paving the way for Danilo Pereira to operate in the holding midfield slot. Young midfielder Junior Dina Ebimbe is another starter in the middle of the park, with the 21-year-old hoping to offer the creative output alongside Gini Wijnaldum.

Moving forward, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe should both receive a breather ahead of the Lorient game. In their absence, Mauro Icardi could spearhead the PSG frontline with additional support from Rafinha and Angel Di Maria.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Navas; Dagba, Marquinhos, Kehrer,Diallo; Ebimbe, Danilo, Wijnaldum; Rafinha, Icardi, Di Maria 

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Key Stats

  • This is the first competitive meeting between Paris Saint-Germain and Feignies Aulnoye.
  • Feignies Aulnoye midfielder Mathieu Robail is one of the few players who have experience playing in Ligue 1. He had a brief spell at LOSC Lille, featuring in ten top-flight matches.
  • Paris Saint-Germain are gunning for their 15th French Cup win after bagging their 14th title last season.
  • Gary Marigard is the only national team player for Feignies Aulnoye. The defender has made 33 appearances for the French Guiana national team.
  • PSG are unbeaten in their last five competitive matches, but they have been held to a draw in two of those matches.

Player to Watch

Junior Dina Ebimbe

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Junior Dina Ebimbe is currently among the most talented young players in the PSG squad. A native of Stains, the midfielder has received a few opportunities in the first-team this season, but he has been largely unable to make a difference.

Hence, this game could prove to be an important one for the youngster, as he looks to earn a more prominent role in the first team. At the same time, another underwhelming display could see him being shipped elsewhere on a loan deal in the upcoming January transfer window.

Tactically, Ebimbe’s ability to get forward with the ball, coupled with his creativity, could be vital as PSG look to break the shackles of the opposition defence this weekend.

Prediction

Feignies Aulnoye 0-6 Paris Saint-Germain

Given the gulf in quality between the two sides, it is hard to predict anything other than the complete annihilation of Feignies Aulnoye. The fifth division team is quite fortunate to play at this level, but they simply don’t have the quality to compete with the mighty PSG side that will look to kickstart their Coupe de France campaign in the best way possible.

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