PSG took things too lightly last round away at Evian (finished 0-0). The referee also played a major role in the final result as his eyes were closed whenever Evian’s players made tactical fouls in midfield.
In these conditions, and deprived of star striker Ibrahimovic, PSG couldn’t get more than a draw. The good news is that Ibrahimovic may play against St Etienne according to reports from the training ground. Fullback Van der Wiel will most likely make a return as well. On the other hand midfielder Cabaye will miss out through suspension.
PSG are deadly both in the center where Verratti’s long balls can destabilize any defense in Ligue1 and also on the sides where they will be able to exploit St Etienne’s major weakness.
St Etienne’s left flank is a liability as winger Tabanou was recently converted to the fullback position and has clear adjustment problems. On the right side there’s a newly arrived player, Theophile Catherine, who also needs time to get accustomed.
St Etienne had a hard time against Turkish side Karabukspor in Europa League and only managed to qualify after penalties. Fatigue surely accumulated and this may add iron in their boots. Furthermore central defender Perrin suffered an injury and is highly doubtful for this game.
Regardless if Ibrahimovic will play or not PSG will dominate this encounter and the pressure will be constant. The speed and creativity of Lucas (or Lavezzi) and Pastore on the flanks will give huge headaches to St Etienne’s fullbacks. There should be many decisive balls for striker Cavani (or Ibrahimovic) in order for PSG to get a comfortable victory. PSG -1. at 1.91
UPDATE: Lavezzi is out injured for PSG but Ibrahimovic is back in the squad. St Etienne will have to do without central defender Perrin.
PSG: Sirigu, Douchez – Aurier, David Luiz, Digne, Z.Camara, Marquinhos, Maxwell, van der Wiel – Chantôme, Matuidi, Lucas, Pastore, Thiago Motta, Verratti – Bahebeck, Cavani, Ibrahimovic, Ongenda
St Etienne: Ruffier, J.Moulin – Bayal, Brison, F.Pogba, Tabanou, Théophile-Catherine – Cohade, Lemoine, Clément, Corgnet, Diomandé – Erding, Hamouma, Gradel, Monnet-Paquet, Bamba, van Wolfswinkel