Mauricio Pochettino will take charge of Paris Saint-Germain for the first time as they travel to Saint-Etienne on Wednesday at 8pm (UK time).
The Argentine replaced Thomas Tuchel as PSG manager last week, with the Parisians opting to part ways with Thomas Tuchel just hours after beating beating Strasbourg 4-0. The defending Ligue 1 champions currently sit third in the table, just a point behind joint-leaders Lille and Lyon as Pochettino chases his first-ever major trophy as a manager.
Saint-Etienne, meanwhile, are struggling at the other end of the table in 14th place, just six points clear of the relegation zone.
Where to watch Saint-Etienne vs PSG on TV:
- UK: BT Sport 1
- US: beIN Sports
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Scoreline prediction: Saint Etienne 1-3 PSG
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Saint-Etienne vs PSG build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Despite sitting a point off the Ligue 1 summit and topping a Champions League group containing Manchester United and RB Leipzig, Tuchel was sacked just before Christmas, as the German’s relationship with PSG’s Qatari owners was reportedly fracturing. Now, Pochettino’s task will be to maintain PSG’s stranglehold over French football, while also trying to take the club as far as possible in the Champions League following their runner-up effort last season.
That begins with a trip to Saint-Etienne, who are looking nervously over their shoulders at the relegation zone thanks to a seven-game losing streak between late October and mid-November. That said, Claude Puel has managed to make his side harder to beat in recent weeks, going unbeaten in six, although they have drawn five times during that run, including 2-2 with Monaco last time out.
- Saint-Etienne (vs Monaco): Moulin; Debuchy, Sow, Kolodziejczak, Trauco; Camara*, Neyou*; Monnet-Paquet, Gourna-Douath, Aouchiche; Bouanga.
- PSG (vs Strasbourg): Navas; Kehrer, Marquinhos, Bakker; Pembele, Rafinha*, Herrera, Verratti, Dagba; Di Maria, Mbappe.
Gabriel Silva, Yvann Macon and Wahbi Khazri all remain sidelined for the hosts, who will also be without suspended duo Yvan Neyou and Mahdi Camara. Charles Abi is doubtful, but Puel is boosted by the return of centre-back Harold Moukoudi from suspension.
Pochettino has an extremely long list of absentees to contend with ahead of his first match in charge of PSG. Neymar, Mauro Icardi, Juan Bernat, Alessandro Florenzi, Presnel Kimpembe, Layvin Kurzawa, Danilo Pereira and Leandro Paredes are all injured, while Rafinha is also out. Abdou Diallo and Pablo Sarabia are expected to be back from injuries of their own, however.
Players to watch:
- Saint-Etienne: Even among struggling clubs, Ligue 1 is often a hotbed for young, emerging talent, and Saint-Etienne have one of those on their hands now in the form of Adil Aouchiche. The 18-year-old only arrived from PSG at the start of this season but has already established himself as Saint-Etienne’s chief creator with three assists, registering one in each of his last two outings, while also chipping in with two goals. Only Romain Hamouma and Denis Bouanga (both three) have scored more for Saint-Etienne this season. Aouchiche was a nominee for the 2020 Golden Boy award and possesses immense talent. He’ll be determined to show his former employers what they’re missing out on here.
- PSG: Arguably the biggest shock of PSG’s season so far, at least on the pitch, has been the form of Moise Kean. Signed on loan from Everton in the summer, the Italy international was largely expected to be back-up for the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. Well, with the latter spending an extended period on the sidelines, Kean has seen a little more action than he would have thought and has certainly made the most of it. In 757 Ligue 1 minutes so far, Kean has netted seven goals including four in his last six appearances, while also adding a further two goals and one assist in the Champions League. So happy are PSG with Kean that they’re now reportedly ready to pay £31m to secure his services on a permanent basis and with the January window now open, the talented 20-year-old will be keen to keep finding the net to sweeten any potential deal.
Ligue 1 2020/21 recent form:
- Saint-Etienne: DDWDD
- PSG: WDWLW