Former Leeds United man Max Gradel crucial to Saint-Etienne cup success

Max Gradel is set to start for Saint-Etienne against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday in the semi-final of the Coupe de France.

On Tuesday, Ligue 2 side Auxerre beat holders EA Guingamp to reach the final of the Coupe de France, and on Wednesday Saint-Etienne travel to Paris to take on PSG for the other final spot.

If Les Verts are to have any chance of beating the Parisians, they need to rely on former Leeds United star Max Gradel firing them towards glory.

It has been a season of frustration for the majority of Saint-Etienne’s forwards, but the Ivorian winger has been consistently the most dangerous player in the attack, and that will have to continue if the away side have any chance of causing a shock in the French capital.

Norwich City loanee Ricky van Wolfswinkel has scored five times in the league this season, with Mevlut Erding adding seven. Coach Christophe Galtier would have expected one of his centre-forwards to hit double figures this season, but that has been left to Gradel.

The former Leeds man has scored 10 times and that includes time away at the Africa Cup of Nations.

PSG are without David Luiz and Thiago Motta through injury on Wednesday, and Laurent Blanc’s squad are likely to suffer a hangover from their exploits in beating Marseille on Sunday.

Gradel has scored four and set up three in his last three games and if the forward is able to continue his fantastic form into Wednesday’s cup game, he could be the key to Saint-Etienne reaching the Coupe de France final.

Possible XIs

PSG: Douchez – Van der Wiel, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Digne – Verratti, Rabiot, Matuidi – Lavezzi, Pastore, Ibrahimovic

Saint-Etienne: Ruffier – Clerc, Theophile-Catherine, Perrin, Tabanou – Clement, Lemoine, N’Guemo – Hamouma, Gradel, Erding

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Saint-Etienne - Coupe de France - 20:00 Kick-off

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