Cavani again absent as PSG go to Guingamp
By A. Scott
Edinson Cavani leads the list of players still missing from Thomas Tuchel's squad as reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain go to Brittany to face EA Guingamp on Saturday afternoon.
EA Guingamp - Paris Saint-Germain
The Uruguay striker was one of a host of stars who played no part as Paris kicked off their defence of the Ligue 1 Conforama title with a 3-0 win over SM Caen last weekend in what was Tuchel's first game in charge at the Parc des Princes. And he will also sit out the game at the Stade Municipal du Roudourou along with Layvin Kurzawa and Marco Verratti, who also have fitness problems.
"He is still feeling a little injury from the World Cup. I hope he will be able to come back into the team next week," said Tuchel of Cavani, who hurt his calf during Uruguay's 2-1 win over Portugal in the last 16 in Russia, a game in which he scored twice.
While Cavani, whose late brace earned Paris a 2-2 draw when they last faced Guingamp in the capital in April, will not feature, the good news for Tuchel is that Kylian Mbappé is champing at the bit to get back on the field. He missed the Caen victory along with fellow France World Cup winners Alphonse Aréola and Presnel Kimpembe.
Watch highlights: Neymar sparks win over Caen
"Kylian has an incredible talent. He is a competitor. I am not expecting a specific number of goals or assists from him, it is his personal development which is important," said Tuchel of the 19-year-old, who scored one of France's goals in their 4-2 final win over Croatia last month.
With so many leading players not involved, Tuchel handed starts to 19-year-old trio Colin Dagba, Stanley N'Soki and Antoine Bernede against Caen. However, it was Neymar Jr, in his first Ligue 1 Conformana appearance since February, who put the hosts in front before Adrien Rabiot and another youngster, Timothy Weah, completed the scoring.
Neymar now returns to the ground where he made his debut in a 3-0 win in August last year. Meanwhile, Gianluigi Buffon will hope to keep his place in goal having kept clean sheets in his two competitive outings so far. He was the only summer signing made by PSG until the arrival this week of the 21-year-old German defender Thilo Kehrer, who has joined from Schalke 04 on a five-year deal.
Rodelin in at Guingamp
Guingamp have also added to their squad this week, completing the signing of gangly forward Ronny Rodelin from top-flight rivals SM Caen. His arrival further reinforces an attack weakened during the close-season by the departure of Jimmy Briand, who has gone to Girondins de Bordeaux after an aborted transfer to Montréal Impact of Major League Soccer.
Rodelin will team up in attack with Nolan Roux, who was the only new signing to start for Guingamp as they lost their opening game 2-1 at AS Saint-Etienne last weekend. A Marcus Thuram penalty in the second half looked like it might allow Antoine Kombouaré's side to leave the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard with a point, only for Loïs Diony's late goal to win it for the hosts.
Watch highlights: Guingamp beaten by Sainté
Kombouaré is now hoping his side can produce a performance similar to that which allowed them to draw with Paris at the Parc des Princes at the end of last season, although that result came after their opponents had already wrapped up the title.
"We drew 2-2 at the Parc, but that is already ancient history. The teams are no longer the same. We no longer have Jimmy Briand or Clément Grenier, and there are some new faces," he said.
"It's the same for PSG. The context will be completely different because we are starting a new season. Last year we played them at home first and lost despite playing really well. Hopefully this time the outcome will be different."
Coming up against PSG is always special for Kombouaré, who represented them with distinction during his playing days and was the first Paris coach of the Qatar Sports Investments era.
"It will be strange. At PSG, I was in charge of youth development, they were the first team that gave me the opportunity to become a coach. To have spent 13 years there was fantastic. I am an out-and-out Paris fan. I hope they go as far as possible in the Champions League, but on Saturday they will be an opponent," he said.
Guingamp: Johnsson; Ikoko, Kerbrat (c), Eboa Eboa, Rebocho; Didot, Blas; Coco, Benezet, Thuram; Roux
Paris SG: Buffon; Meunier, Marquinhos, Silva (c), N'Soki; Nkunku, Diarra, Rabiot; Di María, Mbappé, Neymar