Paris Saint-Germain will be hoping to inject some much-needed momentum into their campaign when they tackle St Etienne at the Parc des Princes in Week 4 of Ligue 1.
Undeniably the strongest team in the French top flight, the Parisians have toiled for substantial spells of their contests to date, picking up just five points from their opening three games. By contrast, their opponents have looked in superb form, winning two and drawing one of their first three games.
It’s a run that suggests the visitors have nothing to fear when they rock up at the home of the league champions, while the pressure will be on Laurent Blanc his team to get their stalling season underway in earnest.
The ingredients are there for an encapsulating affair, and to ensure you miss none of the action, here’s all the information you need on where to catch the game via a live stream or on TV. Let’s also take a look at the credentials of both sides as they try to preserve their place in the upper reaches of Ligue 1.
Date: Sunday 31 August
Time: 8 p.m. BST, 3 p.m. ET
Live Stream: beIN Sports Connect (U.S.), BT Sports App (UK)
TV Info: Live on BT Sport 2 (UK)
For PSG, the prospect of winning a home game in their domestic division shouldn't be too daunting a task. But when you consider all the factors ahead of this mouthwatering clash, it’d be no shock to see them drop points for the third time in four games this season.
The club are currently in the midst of a major injury crisis, for starters. Arguably their two most important players—Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva—will miss this fixture, per Goal.com. In addition, Thiago Motta and Gregory van der Wiel both remain doubtful, while playmaker Yohan Cabaye will serve a suspension following his red card against Evian.
That game was 0-0 draw, and although PSG bossed possession throughout, they were unable to create many genuine openings, with frustration subsequently setting in. ESPN’s French football expert Jonathan Johnson was disappointed with their display:
PSG dominating possession, as they usually do, but not doing much with it tonight. Has been disappointing so far. Why always Evian?— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) August 22, 2014
It’s also worth noting that Evian conceded six goals in their previous game against Rennes! With that in mind, the blunt nature of the Parisians' attacking play will certainly come as a concern to the PSG faithful, especially when you consider how prolific they’ve typically been in recent seasons, as noted here by OptaJean:
3 - PSG have only failed to score three times in Ligue 1 since last season; two of those were in Annecy against Evian TG. Yaute.— OptaJean (@OptaJean) August 22, 2014
Missing a significant portion of the team’s spine could see things get even more difficult for them when they come up against this vibrant St Etienne team. The side from the South have been excellent so far in Ligue 1, and in Mevlut Erding they have a forward who’s bang in form.
They have a squad that’s pretty much at full strength too, meaning Christophe Galtier’s team will be confident of making the trip to Paris, putting in a performance and emerging with all three points. Do that, and they could be top of the Ligue 1 standings going into Week 5; they currently trail table-toppers Bordeaux by two points.
Who will win?
In truth, PSG look set to drop more points here. While St Etienne are typically a team that save their best form for games at home, throughout the early stages of this season they’ve showcased renewed cohesiveness and diligence on the road as well. They’re qualities that an uninspiring PSG forward line could find difficult to overcome.
But after their European exertions in midweek—St Etienne qualified for the Europa League after a dramatic penalty shootout win against Karabukspor—the visitors may not have the requisite energy in the tank to take all three points with them back down South.
Prediction: PSG 1-1 St Etienne