Having secured his first trophy as Paris Saint-Germain manager, Mauricio Pochettino will now turn his attention to Angers in Ligue 1 on Saturday at 8pm (UK time).
The former Tottenham Hotspur boss has passed his first serious test in the Parisian dugout, seeing off Marseille to lift the Trophee des Champions on Wednesday night in a 2-1 win, but he will have little time to celebrate as the capital club travel to seventh-placed Angers this weekend.
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Where to watch Angers vs PSG on TV:
- UK: BT Sport 3
- US: beIN Sports
Scoreline prediction: Angers 0-3 PSG
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Angers vs PSG build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Having been lauded for his managerial skills in north London despite failing to clinch silverware, Pochettino will have no such luxuries in the French capital, where domestic silverware is non-negotiable and Ligue 1 supremacy is par for the course; but he has made a strong start on both counts.
Four points in his opening two games has settled a few early nerves, while a big win over Marseille — who beat PSG 1-0 earlier in the season — against another ex-Spurs boss, Andre Villas-Boas, will give the Argentine a huge confidence boost and elicit a few admiring nods from the director’s box.
His latest challenge, though, comes in the form of Angers, whose 3-0 defeat to Monaco at the weekend does not reflect what has been an otherwise impressive season, with Stephane Moulin’s side suffering just two defeats in their last eight games. That considered, Les Noirs et Blancs are winless in their last 20 Ligue 1 games against PSG, stretching back to 1975.
- Angers (vs Monaco): Bernardoni; Manceau, Traore, Thomas, Doumbia; Amadou, Mangani, Capelle, Fulgini, Cabot; Diony.
- PSG (vs Marseille): Navas; Florenzi, Marquinhos, Diallo, Kurzawa; Herrera, Paredes, Verratti, Di Maria, Mbappe; Icardi.
Former Southampton attacker Sofiane Boufal has missed the previous six Ligue 1 games owing to a thigh issue, but could return here, which would represent a huge boost to the Angers frontline against the French champions. For PSG, they recently welcomed back Mauro Icardi and Neymar and could hand both players a start this weekend, but he will remain without Colin Dagba, Rafinha and Thilo Kehrer. Pochettino himself will be unable to attend this game.
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Players to watch:
- Angers: In games against PSG, where ‘weaker opposition’ are expected to sit back and soak up pressure, Moulin will need a release valve, a player capable of easing pressure when in possession and drawing out fouls to subdue the relentless attacking threat of Pochettino’s side. One player who has mastered the skill in the Premier League is Jack Grealish, but in Angelo Fulgini, Angers have their own version of the Aston Villa skipper. The Ivory Coast-born midfielder has won 67 fouls in Ligue 1 this season, a whopping 26 more than any other player. In fact, only Grealish (73) and Andrea Belotti (71) have won more fouls than him across Europe’s top five leagues in 2020/21.
- PSG: Having missed the tail end of last season with a calf injury, which proved detrimental as PSG reached the Champions League final, Marco Verratti has since recovered and played the full 90 minutes in each of the last four Ligue 1 games, as well as Wednesday’s cup triumph over Marseille. The elegant metronome will be a central figure in Pochettino’s vision, with the Italian capable of dictating play in various areas across the pitch. On Wednesday he occupied an unfamiliar ‘No. 10 role’ for the first time this season in Pochettino’s first major tactical experiment, and it paid dividends as PSG lifted the French Super Cup. It will now be interesting to see if this is a long-term protect Pochettino intends to uphold, or whether it was simply a one-off gambit.
Ligue 1 2020/21 recent form:
- Angers: LWWDL
- PSG: WDWDW
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