PSG look for Ligue 1 boost

2015-02-20 13:25
Blaise Matuidi (AFP)

Paris - Laurent Blanc's French champions Paris Saint Germain will be looking to rejuvenate their league form as the title race with table-toppers Lyon and second placed Marseille intensifies this weekend.

Paris put on a solid display in their 1-1 draw with Chelsea in the Champions League last 16 first leg on Tuesday. But that came after the star-studded side gave up a 2-0 lead against Caen last weekend.

Blanc's team have drawn their last two Ligue 1 games as they stutter through the championship.

With leaders Lyon just two points ahead of Paris and Marseille, the capital team host relegation strugglers Toulouse on Saturday, and can overtake their rivals before they play on Sunday.

France is blessed to have Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and PSG's other 'extraordinary' players, according to Toulouse coach Alain Casanova.

"Ligue 1 is very lucky to have players like Zlatan and Thiago Silva, without being nasty we could have become like Belgium if PSG hadn't started signing stars," the Toulouse coach said this week.

Gerard Houlier has coached both Lyon and Paris Saint Germain to league titles and this week he tipped Paris to win the league. Lyon have 51 points with Marseille and Paris breathing down their necks on 49.

"Paris is probably more comprehensive because they really have some key players in key areas," Houlier told the Ligue 1 website. "Lyon is a young team lacking a bit of experience. But they play very well together and their game is fluent and very entertaining," added the Frenchman, who suggested early pace-setters Marseille are running out of steam.

Without a win in five games Nantes travel to Lyon, unbeaten in 10 games and who welcome back 21 goal star Alexandre Lacazette after almost a month on the sidelines.

Lacazette is one of 16 former Lyon youth team players in the senior squad, and one of 12 who were born in the Lyon area. "Statistics prove that a player has better chances of success when he's close to home," head of their youth centre Stephane Roche said this week.

Marseille have won two, drawn two and lost two since the New Year, but Saint Etienne have lost three of their last four ahead of what should be a boisterous evening at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium between two of France's best supported clubs.

It's worst supported club is Monaco, with an average of just 7,835, but they travel up the coast to Nice for a Cote d'Azur derby on Friday.

After 14 matches unbeaten Monaco drew at Lyon and then lost at Guingamp in their last two league outings, but have only conceded twice in 10 matches in 2015.

Goals seem to be the problem after the close season departure of Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez. And their coach Leonardo Jardim is now banking on veteran Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov.

"We need him on top form. He's our number one striker and nothing has changed there," explained Jardim, but Berbatov has only six league goals this season.

Nice have won three and drawn three of their last six league games and are coached by former Monaco handler Claude Puel.

Another factor in Nice's favour would be Monaco's trip to London next Wednesday for a Champions League tie with Arsenal.



Nice v Monaco 


Paris Saint Germain v Toulouse, Bastia v Lille, Caen v Lens, Evian v Lorient, Rennes v Bordeaux


Guingamp v Montpellier, Lyon v Nantes, Reims v- Metz, Saint-Etienne v Marseille 

Read more on:    paris st germain  |  ligue 1  |  laurent blanc  |  soccer


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