Thomas Tuchel will have to rotate his squad somewhat in order to accommodate the missing players, which include Edinson Cavani, Idrissa Gueye, Ander Herrera, Julian Draxler, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, and Presnel Kimpembe.
The good news is that unlike last season, Tuchel has a much deeper squad that can compete at a high level despite mounting injuries.
Saint-Étienne sits in 10th place in Ligue 1 and you can say that they’ve underperformed this season given their talent. They crashed out of the UEFA Europa League last Thursday and have only won one game in December (4-1 over OGC Nice). Regardless, Les Verts will be up for this match especially in front of their home supporters. As we’ve seen this season, Ligue 1 teams aren’t scared of PSG like they were a few years ago.
As much as I would like Tuchel to rest some of PSG’s star players, I believe the German wants to string together a few great performances as the team ramps up for the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League.
With that in mind, here is who I believe Tuchel will start against Saint-Étienne:
I believe Tuchel will go with many of the players who started in the 5-0 win over Galatasaray S.K. last Wednesday but change the formation slightly from a 4-2-2-2 to his usual 4-3-3.
Expect Thiago Silva to return to the starting lineup and I hope we’ll see Colin Dagba at right-back. The Frenchman has been out recently with an injury but he should be set to return. The rest of the defense is about what you would expect with Marquinhos playing his preferred center-back position, Juan Bernat at left-back, and Keylor Navas in goal.
In the midfield, I think Tuchel will reward Leandro Paredes for his improved play with a start as well as 17-year-old Tanguy Kouassi, who started against Galatasaray and performed well beyond his years. Marco Verratti will be the key to unlock the Saint-Étienne defense.
Tanguy Kouassi vs Galatasaray (2019-12-11)
— Ali (@AliTactics_) December 13, 2019
Leading the attack will once again be one of the most lethal trios in world football. Neymar Jr., Mauro Icardi, and Kylian Mbappé are all healthy and eager to score goals. Angel Di Maria and Pablo Sarabia are also in the squad and could be brought on in the second half if Tuchel feels the team needs a spark.
Paris Saint-Germain is only four points ahead of rivals Olympique de Marseille and can’t afford to drop points even if they have two games in hand. With a long Champions League run expected, it’s important for PSG to separate themselves from the pack domestically so they can fully concentrate on Europe.
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