After more than four months of hiatus, professional football finally resumes its rights in France with the final of the Coupe de France between AS Saint-Étienne and Paris Saint-Germain, this Friday. A decisive meeting for the Greens who hope to triumph for a seventh time in the competition and on this occasion to win their European ticket. But the task promises to be tough for the Forézien club which will have to foil the statistics and achieve the feat in the face of its worst “pet peeve”.
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Since the creation of Paris Saint-Germain in 1970, the figures are unequivocal: the Stéphanois have only 14 victories for 46 defeats and 24 draws, in 84 direct confrontations (all competitions combined). The balance therefore does not tilt frankly in favor of training for the ten French league titles. Especially since this trend has logically increased since the arrival of the Qataris in the capital. The Greens remain in 18 unsuccessful matches against PSG.
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Worse still, five of the last ten games between the two clubs have ended in Parisian victories by at least three goals. The most recent dates back to January 8. At the Parc des Princes, Thomas Tuchel’s men had humiliated the Greens in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de la Ligue (6-1). A slap in the wake of the one inflicted on Geoffroy-Guichard in Ligue 1 (4-0), a few weeks earlier.
A perfect preparation on the Parisian side, mixed on the Stéphanois side
In recent weeks, French clubs have resumed training and even matches. Author of a friendly recital (9-0 against Le Havre, 7-0 against Waasland-Beveren (Belgian D1) and 4-0 against Celtic Glasgow), Paris Saint-Germain was full of confidence before the long-awaited final of the Coupe de France. Conversely, after winning its first three matches (4-1 against Rumilly (N3), 4-1 against OGC Nice and 4-0 against Charleroi), AS Saint-Étienne was defeated in ” double opposition against Anderlecht at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard (1-2, 0-1). Disappointing results which mar the preparation of Claude Puel’s men. And the Stéphanois coach is well aware of this, it will be necessary that his proteges are ready on Friday evening to avoid a new rout against PSG.
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In the last seven matches in the league, the Parisian offensive armada has scored no less than twenty-four goals against only three small achievements on the Green side. But to hope, the Foréziens can remember their last victory against the leader of the championship. On November 27, 2012, in the quarter-final of the Coupe de la Ligue, the Greens won at the end of the penalty shoot-out (0-0, 5-3 tab). A performance that followed a victory a few weeks earlier by the Foréziens at the Parc des Princes (1-2). All is not therefore completely lost for the teammates of Débuchy, who will try to resist the assaults of Parisians always more galactic.
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Defeated last year by Stade Rennais (2-2, 6-5 tab), PSG wishes to regain a title that it particularly likes (12 French cups to its credit) before a new final, that of the Cup of the League against Lyon (August 31) and the resumption of the Champions League. If Paris dreams of adding even more to its trophy cabinet, Saint-Étienne benefits from a unique opportunity to win its European ticket. Will the Greens finally manage to tame their pet peeve?