PSG look to double down
Fresh from a 3-0 Classique win over OM in the league on Sunday, PSG are out to do it all over again and book a place in the Coupe de France semis as the old rivals do battle at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday night.
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Coupe de France quarter-finals
Parc des Princes, Paris
Paris Saint-Germain - Olympique de Marseille - kick off at 21:05 CET
Same teams, same stadium… different competition. Wednesday night will see the Coupe de France's two most successful clubs do battle in the quarter-finals and it promises to be a different spectacle from the one served up in the league on Sunday night.
"Sunday's match was very tough for both teams. We want to win the Cup and win this second match in three days against Marseille. The Coupe de France is an historic competition for everyone," said PSG coach Unai Emery, who took the club to an 11th Coupe de France title last season, overtaking Marseille's previous record of ten titles. "There will be changes from Sunday's side. How many? I don't know."
Much has been made of the injury sustained by Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar Jr on Sunday night - although Emery has declared the 'isn't worried', Neymar he is a strong chance to miss the capital club's crunch UEFA Champions League round of 16 return leg against Real Madrid next Tuesday - but the Brazil superstar's absence is just one of several noteworthy changes to the PSG line-up.
With Alphonse Areola ill, Daniel Alves suspended and Marquinhos injured, Emery is set to ring the changes, the most notable of which would be handing a start to recently fit-again defensive midfield maestro Thiago Motta in a classic midfield three with Marco Verratti and Adrien Rabiot. Angel Di Maria should step in for Neymar on the left of Kylian Mbappé and Edinson Cavani, with Kevin Trapp set to tend goal while Yuri Berchiche and Thomas Meunier patrol the flanks.
Meanwhile OM boss Rudi Garcia has first-choice 'keeper Steve Mandanda back from injury as the southern giants look to redress the imbalance in their head-to-head record against PSG in the cup. In their ten meetings in the competition, Paris have won nine times compared to OM's one and Garcia doesn't see the absence of Neymar as a reason to go any easier.
"If there's no Neymar, then there's a Di Maria," he offered. "We'll need to be combative and ambitious. Should we press up the pitch or sit back? We'll see. At any rate, we'll have to be better in the final 30 metres, both in defence and attack."
Garcia is tipped to field star forwards Dimitri Payet, Florian Thauvin and Valère Germain in front of a defensive midfield two of André-Franck Zambo Anguissa and Luiz Gustavo with Jordan Amavi potentially replacing Lucas Ocampos on the left wing.
Paris Saint-Germain: Trapp; Meunier, Thiago Silva (c), Kimpembe, Berchiche; Verratti, Thiago Motta, Rabiot; Mbappé, Cavani, Di Maria
Olympique de Marseille: S. Mandanda; B. Sarr, Rami, Rolando, Sakai; Anguissa, Luiz Gustavo; Thauvin, Payet (c), Amavi; Germain
Stade Pierre-Brisson, Beauvais
Strasbourg last reached the Coupe de France quarters way back in 2002 and things are looking good - on paper at least - for Thierry Laurey's side to go one better and book a place in the semis as they take on National (D3) side amateurs FC Chambly in Beauvais on Wednesday.
However Laurey, whose side currently sit just three points above the drop zone in Ligue 1 Conforama, isn't about to take it easy against a side who eliminated Ligue 2's sixth-placed side Châteauroux in the Coupe's round of 32.
"Even though it's a supplementary competition, we take the Coupe de France very seriously," declared Laurey, whose team are coming off a creditable 0-0 league draw against high-flying Montpelier at the weekend. "Nothing is ever won in advance, no matter who the opponents is. They are an athletic team and I'm surprised that they are in the relegation zone in their league."
Laurey is without the injured Kader Mangane and Nuno Da Costa but has a fit-again Benjamin Corgnet in his squad and on the bench looking to make a comeback after almost five months out with a knee meniscus complaint that required surgery.
FC Chambly: Pinoteau; Soubervie, Jaques, Padovani, Gasser; G. Doucouré (c), Héloïse, Hilaire; Henry, Montiel, L. Doucouré
RC Strasbourg Alsace: Bi. Kamara; Foulquier, Salmier, B. Koné (c), Seka; Gonçalves, Grimm, J. Martin, Nogueira; Bahoken, Saadi