Saint-Etienne vs PSG: Les Verts hope to derail the champions

di-maria-ibra
www.espnfc.com

Saint-Etienne will become the latest side to attempt to stop PSG as they welcome the reigning Ligue 1 champions to the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Sunday evening.

The hosts will face a tough task to contain Les Parisiens, who are still unbeaten from their first 22 matches and enjoy a massive 21 point gap over Monaco. No other team in Europe’s Big Five leagues – the others being Serie A, Premier League, La Liga, and the Bundesliga – can currently boast such a impressive record. And should they defeat Les Verts, they will match a 21-year-old record set by Nantes for 32 games sans defeat, which will not be the only record Laurent Blanc’s all-conquering side have achieved already this campaign.

Talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored 17 goals in Ligue 1, 20 in all competitions, and in October became the club’s all-time leading goalscorer when he hit 110 goals. Currently in the last 16 of the Champions League, the final 16 of the Coupe de France, and in the finals of the Coupe de la Ligue, PSG are well in contention to clinch at least three titles – defending their Ligue 1, Coupe de France, and Coupe de la Ligue trophies – this season.

RELATED: PSG vs Angers: The champions could face a big surprise

Of course, having already completed a domestic treble last campaign, Blanc’s squad will certainly hope to add the much-coveted Champions League to that trophy haul. And with Chelsea looking quite fragile these days, one cannot bet against them to at least make it to the quarter-finals this season.

But first up for the visitors will be to maintain that impressive unbeaten record, and they will be facing a side that they easily brushed by 4-1 on matchday 11. Christophe Galtier’s side finished in fifth last season, and whilst they sit in sixth, they are just within touching distance of a European football spot. Should they manage to do the unthinkable and become the first side to beat Les Parisiens all season, they could find themselves in contention for continental football next term.

Unfortunately, Saint-Etienne have not beaten PSG since 2008 – which was a 1-0 result in Ligue 1, and with the way the visitors have simply swept aside the opposition, the odds do not look good in their favor. Not only have Blanc’s squad won their past 12 matches across all competitions, but the hosts have become Ibrahimovic’s favorite victims as of late. The Swedish superstar has acquired quite a habit of netting against Les Verts, with nine goals and an assist in just six appearances, and with him expected to lead the line, one surely will not bet against the 34-year-old adding to his 17 league goals.

Another player Saint-Etienne will be wary of is Angel Di Maria, who has been directly involved in 11 goals (six goals, five assists) from his past ten appearances across all competitions. The Argentinian star has taken to Ligue 1 like a duck to water and has firmly established himself alongside Ibrahimovic as one of the team’s best attacking options. Although Blanc will be missing a host of players, including Thiago Silva, Marco Verratti and Javier Pastore, they have more than enough star quality to get the job done and march one step closer towards becoming the first French side to complete a campaign undefeated.

MORE: You can watch Saint-Etienne vs PSG live with FuboTV 24-hour game pass FREE

Michelle Bonsu

Freelance football journalist based in New York. Primarily support AC Milan as well as the Ghanaian and Italian NT’s, but you’ll find me watching the Bundesliga and Premier League as well–enjoy a good game, regardless of where it’s being played. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of my favourite players.