13 August 2014 17:13
Paris Saint-Germain will need to overcome the absence of Thiago Silva in order to kick-start their Ligue 1 title defence by beating Bastia.
The defending champions host the Corsicans at the Parc des Princes on Saturday and will be have a point to prove after being held 2-2 at Reims in the season opener last Friday.
However, Laurent Blanc’s men will have to do so without skipper Silva, who is set to be out for several weeks after suffering a hamstring injury in a friendly with Napoli on Monday.
That should serve as welcome news to a Bastia side that began life under Claude Makelele with a 3-3 draw against Marseille, showing impressive potency in attack.
However, former PSG player and assistant coach Makelele, who left the capital club to take over at the Stade Armand Cesari in May, will be wary of the threat posed to his fallible defence by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The 32-year-old striker netted both goals in the draw with Reims and should be confident of adding to his tally after scoring three against Bastia in 2013-14.
Last season’s runners-up Monaco travel to Bordeaux with new coach Leonardo Jardim still searching for his first competitive win since taking over from Claudio Ranieri.
Monaco were dealt a surprising 2-1 home loss to Lorient last weekend, Valentin Lavigne scoring the winner for the Brittany club three minutes from time.
It may be early in the season, but Jardim will know that he cannot afford the poor results to mount up and will be keen to ease the pressure on him with victory at the Stade Chaban Delmas, where Monaco won 2-0 last term.
Lorient will look to build on that stunning victory in their opening home game against Nice, while newly-promoted Caen host Lille following a blistering start to life back in the French top flight.
Caen began their quest for survival with a fine 3-0 success at Evian, but will face a difficult challenge against a Lille side that has not missed out on the top six since 2008 and will be determined to bounce back after a disappointing goalless draw with Metz.
Marcelo Bielsa takes charge of his first home league game as Marseille coach against Montpellier in a clash that is to be held at the Stade Velodrome after a disagreement over rental fees was settled, although the fixture has been pushed back from 14.00 (local time) to 17.00 due to the extreme heat in the Provencal city.
The two other promoted teams will each be aiming to seal their first victories of the campaign as Lens play host to Guingamp, whose Brittany rivals Nantes visit new-boys Metz.
Elsewhere, Rennes meet Evian, Lyon look to continue their good start at Toulouse and Reims face an intimidating task to claim all three points at the cauldron that is Saint-Etienne’s Stade Geoffroy Guichard.