Match Preview: Pressure on PSG to Win Coupe de la Ligue

Paris Saint-Germain return to action after a lengthy international break to face AS Monaco in the Coupe de la Ligue final on Saturday to defend their title. It’s another opportunity to add a domestic trophy to the cabinet for PSG but the result could potentially carry much more meaning.

After their historic collapse in the UEFA Champions League at the hands of FC Barcelona in early March, PSG have been desperately trying to salvage their season. Monaco, who currently lead Ligue 1 by three points over Les Parisiens, can single-handedly deal the club their worst season since the Qatar Sports Investments takeover in 2011 by winning the league and league cup. There’s also the possibility Monaco and PSG will face off in the Coupe de France at the end of the season. A clean sweep for Les Monegasques would almost certainly cost Unai Emery his job.

The capital club has been far from stellar in their previous two encounters with Leonardo Jardim’s team this season. PSG suffered a 3-1 loss earlier in the season at the Stade Louis II and a 1-1 draw in January at home. Meanwhile, Monaco have been brilliant nearly all season. They’re the last French team left in the Champions League and their +61 goal differential in Ligue 1 is a testament to their attacking prowess.

We have played Monaco twice this season and didn’t show what we are capable of. We have another chance on Saturday. We want to get a better result and play better football.–Unai Emery,

Eighteen-year-old phenom Kylian Mbappé will likely cause all sorts of trouble for a PSG defense that will be missing Marquinhos. As will Radamel Falcao and Bernardo Silva, who scored Monaco’s stoppage time goal to salvage a point in that most recent draw. Jardim will have a nearly full-strength team heading into the Parc Olympique Lyonnais for the final with only Fabinho missing out due to suspension. Given the squad depth of the league leaders, the Brazilian’s absence shouldn’t give Emery a false sense of security. Tiemoué Bakayoko, who is coveted by many top teams in Europe, will make life difficult for PSG in the middle of the park.

Other than Marquinhos, Emery will be without the services of Grzegorz Krychowiak but given his overall lack of playing time all season that shouldn’t be too much of a blow. There are no excuses left for Emery. This is the time of year when PSG start to lift trophies and not doing so is unacceptable given their financial resources. Failing in Europe the way they did hurt bad enough. Not winning the league and at least one league cup would be a disaster.

We’re used to playing the big matches. We have experienced players. This season, we are yet to beat Monaco, and we’ll have a chance to do something about that on Saturday.–Kevin Trapp,

Starting XI Prediction

(4-3-3) Trapp; Maxwell, Silva, Kimpembe, Aurier; Matuidi, Pastore, Verratti; Draxler, Cavani, Di Maria

If Presnel Kimpembe can put in another performance like he did in the first leg against Barcelona, the defense should hold up against a potent Monaco attack. If not, things could get ugly very fast.

Score Prediction

Monaco 3-2 PSG

I’ve been terrible at score predictions this season so I’m going with a Monaco win in hopes that I’m wrong once again.

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Tags Angel Di Maria AS Monaco Coupe de la Ligue Edinson Cavani Grzegorz Krychowiak Javier Pastore Julian Draxler Kevin Trapp Marco Verratti Maxwell Presnel Kimpembe Serge Aurier Thiago Silva Unai Emery
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