Paris Saint-Germain’s lackluster season comes to an end on Saturday as they take on Angers SCO in the Coupe de France final at the Stade de France. The two-time defending champions of the 100-year-old tournament can close out their disappointing campaign with some silverware and send Maxwell–who is playing his last match for the club–off into the sunset with a trophy celebration.
It’s been a difficult week or so for PSG. First came the realization that they wouldn’t win Ligue 1 for the first time since the 2012-13 season, finishing second to AS Monaco. Then, investigators raided club headquarters as well as the homes of Angel Di Maria and Javier Pastore in a tax fraud probe. As if that wasn’t bad enough, PSG unveiled their new home kit for the 2017-18 season and the design wasn’t received well by supporters to say the least. In fact, some believe the shirt design is further proof that the club is losing its identity. There’s also been more speculation of Marco Verratti leaving for FC Barcelona this summer and a new sporting director potentially arriving to take over for Olivier Letang.
With all this drama and uncertainty swirling around the club, Unai Emery has remained focused on the French cup final, which very well could be his last as manager of PSG. Despite flashes of brilliance this season–the four-goal win over Barcelona for example–the former Sevilla FC manager hasn’t achieved the results needed to secure his job. With a new sporting director coming in, a managerial change could be the club’s first move this summer.
I have seen throughout the week that the players are fully focused. They all wish to end the season with a trophy. We’re going to respect Angers, who have had a good season and deserve their place in the final.–Unai Emery, PSG.fr
PSG swept Angers this season in league play winning 2-0 both times and I expect they’ll have no issues winning their 11th Coupe de France and surpass Olympique de Marseille for the most in the competition’s history. Missing from Emery’s squad will be several first-team players. Christopher Nkunku and Jean-Kevin Augustin are on international duty with the French Under-20 team while Thomas Meunier and Layvin Kurzawa are out injured. Rounding out the players not suiting up for the final include Hatem Ben Arfa and Grzegorz Krychowiak.
Starting XI Prediction
(4-3-3) Trapp; Aurier, Silva, Marquinhos, Maxwell; Matuidi, Verratti, Rabiot; Draxler, Cavani, Di Maria
Angers 0-2 PSG
Here’s how I see this one playing out. Edinson Cavani will score in the second half after several wasted opportunities. He’ll just miss Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s record of 50 goals in all competitions but that’s only because he lets Maxwell take a late penalty to score in his final game. If you remember, Ibrahimovic scored a brace in his final match so its only fitting his closest friend gets on the score sheet before lifting his 15th trophy since arriving in Paris in 2012.