Paris Saint-Germain will be hoping for a positive start to 2022 when they face Vannes in the Round of 32 of Coupe de France on Monday.

Paris Saint-Germain will kick-start their action for 2022 on Monday when they lock horns with Vannes in the Round of 32 of Coupe de France. It will be their first match of the new year, after ending 2021 with a 1-1 draw with Lorient in Ligue 1.

Regardless of the result, though, PSG still hold an essentially unassailable 13-point lead at the top of the table. But their excellent form in the league may not apply in the cup as they travel to Stade de la Rabine on Monday. The visitors are coming into this round on the back of a 3-0 victory over SC Feignies Aulnoye.

However, Mauricio Pochettino are expecting a tougher match-up against a Vannes side that currently ply their trade in Championnat National 2 – Group A, which is considered as the fourth division of French football.

The hosts have had an excellent run in the Coupe de France so far, beating the likes of St-Philbert and Ergue-Gaberic in the first and second round before flooring ES Wasquehal in the previous round. In PSG, though, they are set to face arguably the toughest opponent in the club’s history – a match-up that offers more excitement than a challenge for the fourth-division side.

And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of their fourth-round match-up in the Coupe de France on Monday.

Team News & Tactics

Vannes

Vannes manager Pierre Talmont will be well aware of the gulf in difference between the two sides. However, his team will still try their everything to at least snatch a draw and take the game to penalties.

With that in mind, Vannes may operate with a deep defensive line, with Gregory Lescot, in particular, set to play a vital role. The 32-year-old centre-back is by far the most experienced defender in the team and is also a French Guiana international. His leadership could prove to be critical as the hosts look to keep the mighty PSG attack at bay.

Another key player for Vannes is goalkeeper Clement Petrel. With Garissone Innocent going back to PSG and Junior Noubi currently on international duty with Gabon, the onus will be on the 24-year-old to offer the solidity in between the sticks.

While in attack, Vannes will rely on the services of the club’s top goal-scorer in Sebastien Persico. He should form the Vannes attacking line alongside wide attackers Diedry Kouassi and Jordan Henry, who may also drift in defensively to help out Quintin.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Petrel; Le Nedic, Levenant, Lescot, Quintin; Yobe, Mama, Daury; Kouassi, Persico, Henry

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Paris Saint-Germain

Lionel Messi’s positive COVID-19 test is the biggest story coming out of the PSG camp heading into this game. The Argentine looks set to join Neymar and Julian Draxler in the club’s list of absentees. Sergio Ramos, too, is out of contention after picking up a red against Lorient in the last game.

In the last cup game, Mauricio Pochettino opted to start with a mixture of young and experienced players. He may do the same on Monday, with Xavi Simons, Edouard Michut, Ismael Gharbi and Sekou Yansane all set to be included in the matchday squad.

Simons is a favourite to start, most likely alongside Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi in the PSG frontline as they look to break the shackles of the Vannes backline.

As for the midfield personnel, Pochettino might want to persist with Marco Verratti due to his creativity that could be useful in breaking down the opposition. The Italian is likely to be partnered by Leandro Paredes and the young Dina Ebimbe, thus forming the midfield trifecta for the away side.

Meanwhile, in defence, Ramos’s absence should pave the way for Thilo Kehrer to form the central defensive partnership alongside Presnel Kimpembe, with Pochettino likely to provide Marquinhos with a breather. Colin Dagba and Abdou Diallo are likely to occupy the fullback roles as the Ligue 1 giants look to keep Achraf Hakimi and Nuno Mendes healthy for the upcoming game against Olympique Lyon.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Dagba, Kehrer, Kimpembe, Diallo; Verratti, Paredes, Ebimbe; Simons, Icardi, Mbappe

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Key Stats

  • This is the first official meeting between Paris Saint-Germain and Vannes.
  • Vannes have scored eight goals in three Coupe de France games so far, conceding only one goal in the process.
  • PSG have the best attack in Ligue 1 with 39 goals while only Marseille have a better defensive record than Les Parisiens this season.
  • PSG’s academy player Garissone Innocent was part of the Vannes setup during the first half of the campaign before returning to Paris at the end of December, owing to bad performances.
  • Only two Vannes players have played internationally, whereas 18 of the 36 first-team members at PSG represent their national teams.

Player to Watch

Xavi Simons

Xavi Simons made a solid impression in PSG’s last cup game against Feignies Aulnoye. The youngster showcased his talent by beating defenders easily and creating a few chances in the final third. His combination play with the fellow attackers looked promising as well, leading many fans to demand more regular minutes for the attacker.

On Monday, Simons is set to receive another opportunity against Vannes. One would imagine this could be a very important game for the youngster as he looks to make his PSG breakthrough, especially at a time when the likes of Lionel Messi, Julian Draxler and Neymar are all sidelined.

It essentially means another impressive performance in the cup could potentially help the former La Masia graduate to earn a potential place in the starting eleven when PSG lock horns with Olympique Lyon in Ligue 1 later this month.

Prediction

Vannes 0-3 Paris Saint-Germain

Paris Saint-Germain are the undisputed favourites in this David vs Goliath encounter in Coupe de France this Monday. The Ligue 1 giants have to deal with a few notable absentees, but the overall quality in their team should be enough to overpower their opponents, with Xavi Simons, in particular, likely to make an impression.

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