France Ligue 1 – PSG v St Etienne Preview (19/9/16)

PSG-ASSE

PSG preview

  • They didn’t lose until the end of February last season but suffered defeat last time out at Monaco (1-3).
  • Winning the Champions League is the main objective this season, so Tuesday night’s match against Arsenal will be prioritised.
  • The starting XI is also difficult to predict due to a lot of players coming back off the international break.
  • Key centre back Thiago Silva might make first appearance of the season, but Javier Pastore rated highly doubtful.
  • With the exception of Le Trophee des Champions, PSG have generally looked below par and not sharp enough yet this season.

St Etienne Preview

  • After a hectic August and a lot of injuries, the international break came at a good time for Les Verts.
  • The squad is now at full strength and everyone is available, apart from left back Polomat who is only a backup anyway.
  • The starting XI has been highly inconsistent so far this season and difficult to predict now that everyone is back.
  • Have lost their last nine matches against PSG and have a terrible recent record against the champions.

Conclusion

This might actually be a good chance for the visitors to end their recent hoodoo facing Les Parisiens. In the long term, Unai Emery could prove to be a very successful coach for them but he’s encountered some teething problems so far this season. His players haven't looked properly sharp and I’m not fully convinced he knows what his best formation or XI is right now. Emery is going to be judged on Champions League success anyway so it makes sense he’ll be focused more on the upcoming Arsenal match. PSG can probably afford to drop a number of points in Ligue 1 so watch out for them producing some flat displays this year, especially close to European fixtures. St Etienne endured a mixed August in which they struggled to toggle both domestic and European matches. A number of players were out injured but most are now fully healthy. Of course, PSG could turn the style on at any time, they have such great individuals. But my feeling is that this might be a decent game in which St Etienne have a chance to avoid defeat.

Prediction: 2-2

Betting analysis

The general asian handicap line is PSG -1.5. For anyone interested in backing a safer line on either side, then PSG -1.25 or St Etienne +1.75 are available at just about acceptable prices. Whilst backing the visitors offers some appeal, it’s always highly dangerous betting against PSG in Ligue 1. If their star individuals turn on the style, there’s always a blowout risk. Couple that with Sainte’s poor recent record here and it’s probably best to swerve. I do however think they’ll stay within a goal of PSG. The goal line is set between 2.75 and 3.0 and it’s very tricky to predict in a fixture like this. Literally anything could happen in the first match back after the international break. Sainte might try and park the bus or actually try and cause PSG some problems. Overall, no pick from me here but maybe watch out for a surprise outcome.

Recommended bet: None

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