1 October 2014 20:41
Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco meet on Sunday as the two pre-season Ligue 1 title favourites aim to gain momentum after stuttering starts.
Defending champions PSG are yet to lose this season but sit five points adrift of early leaders and arch rivals Marseille after being held to a 1-1 scoreline by Toulouse last Saturday, a result that marked their fifth draw of the league campaign.
However, the hosts should head into the game at the Parc des Princes with considerable momentum following a superb 3-2 win over Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.
That triumph, achieved without the services of injured talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, served as a perfect illustration of the challenge facing Monaco, who drew 0-0 with Zenit in their latest Champions League outing and have already lost four games in the French top flight this term.
PSG could start this weekend’s fixture eight points behind Marcelo Bielsa’s Marseille, whose superb six-game winning streak will be expected to continue on Saturday when they travel to face a Caen side who have suffered a dip in form following their strong start to life in the top flight.
Second-placed Bordeaux will also be strong favourites against second-bottom Reims, but Rene Girard’s Lille – currently third – face the much more daunting task of a trip to Lyon.
Metz have been the surprise package of the season so far, continuing a revival that has seen them earn back-to-back promotions with a surge to fifth in the table.
Albert Cartier’s men sit level on points with PSG and will be out to maintain their eye-catching form versus an Evian side seeking a third straight win, while fellow new-boys Lens take on a Rennes side once again struggling under Philippe Montanier.
Guingamp battle Brittany rivals Nantes as they bid to move off the foot of the table and Bastia host Lorient in a meeting of two sides desperate to end dismal winless streaks.
Elsewhere, Nice welcome Montpellier to the Allianz Riviera and Saint-Etienne face Toulouse.