Monaco - Cesc Fabregas is set for
his home debut as a Monaco player, while Paris Saint-Germain look for
revenge against their recent Cup conquerors Guingamp in Ligue 1 on
AFP Sport picks out four things to watch in France on a
weekend that will be capped by Sunday's derby clash between
Saint-Etienne and Lyon.
Cesc back for Monaco
Cesc Fabregas got his first
taste of the unusual experience of a matchday in Monaco in midweek, but
the Spain star had to watch from the stands as Thierry Henry's side
drew 1-1 with Nice, coached by another former Arsenal star in Patrick
Signed from Chelsea last week, Fabregas impressed on his
debut in a 1-1 draw at Marseille, but the 31-year-old was ineligible
against Nice, a match that was originally due to be played in December
before being postponed.
Just hours after admitting to journalists
it had been a wrench to leave the Premier League, Fabregas sat next to
fellow new signings Naldo, Fode Ballo-Toure and William Vainqueur to
watch the Cote d'Azur derby.
Now the new signings are available
again as Monaco host Strasbourg still searching for a first home win of
the season as the relegation-threatened side look to climb the table.
the new signings we are going to do some interesting things in the
weeks ahead. I am convinced of that," said Monaco's French World
Cup-winning full-back Djibril Sidibe.
PSG have spent the week in Qatar, the land of their owners, a trip set up primarily to keep sponsors happy.
Tuchel's side did squeeze in some warm-weather training, but the
capital club were also keen to point out that they became "the first
football club in the world to take part in a traditional camel race".
It remains to be seen whether that will have been the best
preparation for a busy spell building up to the trip to Manchester
United in the Champions League on February 12.
On Saturday, PSG -
still unbeaten in Ligue 1 this season and 13 points clear atop the
table - host bottom-of-the-table Guingamp with revenge on their minds.
visited the Parc des Princes just last week and won 2-1 in a League Cup
quarter-final, inflicting a first domestic Cup defeat on Paris in five
The derby between Saint-Etienne and
Lyon is the most authentic in the French game, and can be one of the
most fiery anywhere in Europe.
When Lyon won 5-0 in
Saint-Etienne last season, a pitch invasion by angry home fans caused a
lengthy stoppage before the final five minutes were played out in an
almost empty stadium.
A repeat of that scoreline seems unlikely
this time, but the stakes are high. Les Verts are still unbeaten at home
this season and lie third in the table, two points better off than
Lyon, who needed a late Nabil Fekir free-kick to draw in Toulouse in
Can Garcia survive at Marseille?
It has turned into a wretched season for Marseille, last year's Europa League runners-up.
The southern giants have
already been knocked out of both domestic cup competitions and the
Europa League, and slumped down into mid-table on a nine-match winless
The latest setback came in a 2-1 defeat at Saint-Etienne on
Wednesday, when Dimitri Payet was left on the bench for the whole 90
The pressure on coach Rudi Garcia continues to increase ahead of Sunday's game at Caen.
Fixtures (SA time)
Lille v Amiens (21:45)
Paris Saint-Germain v Guingamp (18:00), Monaco v Strasbourg, Nimes v Toulouse, Reims v Nice (all 21:00)
Rennes v Montpellier (16:00), Angers v Nantes, Caen v Marseille (both 18:00), Bordeaux v Dijon (20:00), Saint-Etienne v Lyon (22:00)