Paris Saint-Germain – AS Saint-Étienne: Even Without Neymar, PSG Are Too Much For Solid Saint-Étienne (4-0)

One can enjoy football in two different ways. You can enjoy the excitement of the game, the tension that’s slumbering during a battle between two balanced teams. Or you can live in France where the law is dictated by Paris Saint-Germain and you may enjoy their highly skilled players while they win another national championship. PSG – AS Saint-Étienne: 4-0. Nothing you can do about it.

He was sitting high and dry in the stands: Neymar. Just came back from an international break where he played almost two full games, the Brazilian superstar got himself some rest. “He had a bad night in which he suffered a lot of pain. That’s why he’s not in the squad”, PSG-coach Thomas Tuchel tried to spread some confusion in the run-up to the more important Champions League-game against Liverpool next Tuesday.

Don’t kid yourself: Neymar was fit for this game. And will be fit for the one against Liverpool too. He just wasn’t necessary – can you say that without being disrespectful? – for the game against Saint-Étienne this Friday evening.

Also not necessary, or unavailable in their case: Kylian Mbappé (suspended) and the injured Layvin Kurzawa and Dani Alves. Juan Bernat made his debut for PSG at left back, while Lassana Diarra came back in the squad in midfield and Julian Draxler got his first start of the season on the left wing. For Marco Verratti things got quite emotional when he entered the pitch of the Parc des Princes for his first Ligue 1-game since March.

Jean-Louis Gasset, head coach of Saint-Étienne, had his own problems. He had to find a way to replace injured right back Mathieu Debuchy and playmaker Rémy Cabella. Next to that . . .

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