Paris are in rampant form and will be confident of collecting another piece of silverware as they return to competitive action on Friday night, writes James Eastham...
“A selection on high goals isn’t just about the electric form of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar: without William Saliba, now at Arsenal, St Etienne will be more vulnerable at the back.”
PSG v St Etienne
Live on BT Sport
Star players in superb form
Do St Etienne stand any chance of halting the footballing juggernaut that is PSG when the two sides come head-to-head in the French Cup final at Stade de France on Friday night? This is the first competitive fixture to be staged in France since the season was put on hold back in March and it's no surprise that Paris are strong favourites to walk away with the silverware on 90 minutes.
PSG are [1.14] to win in normal time and frankly it's hard to argue with those odds. The club from the French capital are superior to St Etienne in all areas of the pitch and have produced some stupendously impressive performances since returning to training last month, albeit against lower-ranked opposition.
In their first friendly outing they thrashed Ligue 2 Le Havre 9-0, then they followed up with a 7-0 win over Belgian second division outfit Waasland Beveren, and on Tuesday of this week they ran out 4-0 winners over Celtic. The breakdown of the 20 goals PSG have scored in those three games reads as follows: Neymar (4), Mbappe (3), Icardi (3), Sarabia (3), Choupo-Moting (2), Gueye (1), Herrera (1), Kalimuendo (1), Mbe Soh (1), plus one own goal.
Aouchiche has switched clubs over summer
St Etienne's pre-season form has been less impressive - they beat Nice 4-1 but lost to Anderlecht over two matches last weekend - and anything other than a heavy defeat for the underdogs would be considered a good result. Yet they have the opportunity to laud it over PSG in one sense having persuaded Adil Aouchiche - one of PSG's most promising youth products - to walk away from the French capital and sign his first professional contract with St Etienne instead.
The arrival of such a promising teenager - Aouchiche came to attention as the nine-goal top scorer at the European U17 Championship in the Republic of Ireland last year - has the potential to turn into a smart piece of long-term transfer business for St Etienne.
Aouchiche will play no part this weekend, however, and the same applies to fellow teenager William Saliba. After some wrangling the 19-year-old Arsenal defender has already crossed the channel to prepare for life with the Gunners, a move that leaves St Etienne weaker at the back.
Given the gulf in quality between the sides and the rampant form that Neymar, Mbappe and the rest have shown as they prepare for their Champions League quarter-final against Atalanta next month, finding some way to support the favourites is the smart bet. PSG with a -2.5 Asian Handicap start is available at around evens, and a tempting selection given how hungry Thomas Tuchel (pictured above) and his players will be to collect yet another piece of silverware.
High goals the smart selection
Going high on some of the goals markets is another way to potentially profit from PSG's fine scoring form. Over 3.5 Goals is available at [1.75] and Over 4.5 Goals at [2.78]. Drawing attention to these two markets isn't just about PSG's electric front two, either: without Saliba St Etienne will be more vulnerable, and the absence of an established partnership among the four St Etienne players likely to compete to start at centre-back - highly-rated Wesley Fofana, Thimothee Kolodiejczak, Harold Moukoudi and veteran Loic Perrin - is a concern.
This game is also a great opportunity to gain some insight into PSG ahead of the Champions League resumption next month, for which they can be backed at [6.0] on the Betfair Exchange.
For a guide to laying and trading the goals and other markets, click here.
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Back PSG vs St Etienne Over 4.5 Goals @ [2.78]