After a long holiday break, Paris Saint-Germain are finally back in action as they host SC Bastia on Saturday in the Coupe de France. The first half of the season didn’t exactly live up to expectations so Unai Emery and his squad will be looking to get off to a fast start.
Managing just two wins since October 15, Bastia shouldn’t provide too many issues for PSG. However, neither side will be quick to forget their eventful encounter in Corsica where Paris barely escaped with a 0-1 victory.
Les Rouges et Bleu will know that they have to be on their toes for this clash. Bastia frustrated Paris defensively during that match and will be looking for a repeat performance on Saturday. Hopefully, the home support will push the reigning French champions to dominate their opponents from the opening whistle.
Paris Saint-Germain will be missing a host of first-team players for the match, including Jean-Kevin Augustin, Javier Pastore, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Giovani Lo Celso, Jesé Rodriguez and Serge Aurier, who is participating in the Africa Cup of Nations. On the plus side, the return of Adrien Rabiot, Thomas Meunier and Edinson Cavani from injury and the addition of new signing Julian Draxler will be a boost for Emery.
Starting XI Prediction
4-3-3: Trapp; Meunier, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Kurzawa; Verratti, Motta, Rabiot; Lucas, Cavani, Draxler
After numerous calls from supporters for Kevin Trapp to replace Alphonse Areola towards the end of 2016, the German looks set to return to the pitch having reclaimed his spot in the final match of the first half of the season.
In attack, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Draxler handed his debut as Emery will want to get him up to speed as soon as possible. The manager handed him 45 minutes in Wednesday’s friendly and while he didn’t have any head-spinning moments, he added some good fluidity that had been missing from PSG’s build-up play from the left.
PSG 2-0 Bastia
Goals from Cavani and Lucas should seal the victory against a resolute Bastia side.