Ligue 1: PSG firing on four fronts as battle at the Bridge looms
Paris Saint-Germain have the perfect opportunity to go top of Ligue 1 on Saturday, when they host lowly Lens ahead of their Champions League showdown against Chelsea in London next Wednesday.
Paris: Paris Saint-Germain have the perfect opportunity to go top of Ligue 1 on Saturday, when they host lowly Lens ahead of their Champions League showdown against Chelsea in London next Wednesday.
Laurent Blanc`s expensively assembled unit, have flattered to deceive with inconsistent league performances as they bid to defend their French title, but are still in four competitions as the season enters its decisive phase.
A domestic treble remains on track after a 2-0 French League Cup win in midweek over Monaco put them into the semi-finals and the team already have the League Cup final to look forward to against Bastia.
And in Ligue 1 PSG only trail Lyon in the league by one point with 11 matches to play as PSG continue to pursue their dream of winning the Champions League.
Meaning their clash at Stamford Bridge will be the biggest match of their season so far.
Blanc has managed to focus his squad in domestic play but admits his players are all thinking about the battle against Jose Mourinho`s Premier League leaders.
A 1-1 draw at the Parc des Princes, puts the Blues ahead on away goals, but the match is still well balanced.
"Everyone has the Chelsea match on their minds but there is also a complicated match against Lens on Saturday afternoon for which I hope to get back (Yohan) Cabaye and Thiago Motta," said Blanc, who added he would rotate the squad ahead of the Chelsea match.
PSG defender Lucas Digne also admitted the challenge of winning four competitions is fuelling motivation to the squad.
"At the moment we`re the only club in Europe competing on all fronts and it`s very important for us to achieve all of our objectives."
Lyon`s grip at the top of the pack, has wobbled after a poor showing last weekend when they were deservedly beaten 2-1 by Lille, and they will be tested on the road again this Sunday when they travel to in-form Montpellier.
The south-coast club, who won their only French title in 2012 under current Lille coach Rene Girard, have risen to sixth place in the table as the chasing pack that includes Monaco, Saint-Etienne and Bordeaux continue to haunt faltering Marseille in third.
Monaco, while they were beaten in Cup action in Paris on Wednesday, are a true threat to Marcelo Bielsa`s feuding side and their 3-1 Champions League win at Arsenal ten days ago went down as one of the shocks of the European season.
Leonardo Jardim, their Portuguese coach in his first season at the Louis II stadium, has fended off his critics with a string of excellent results since Christmas as they get set to travel to Evian.
The team are six points behind Marseille, with a game in hand, while they will go into the return leg against Arsenal, on March 17, as strong favourites to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2004 when they lost the final against Mourinho`s Porto.
Saint-Etienne, a further point back in fifth, scraped through to the French Cup last four with a penalty shootout win at third division Boulogne on Tuesday, but can now focus on Ligue 1 objectives on friendlier territory at home to Lorient on Sunday.
Marseille will raise the weekend curtain at relegation-threatened Toulouse on Friday while Bordeaux travel to improving Normandy side Caen as part of a six match slate on Saturday.
Fixtures (all times 1900GMT unless stated)
Toulouse v Marseille (1930)
Paris Saint-Germain v Lens (1600), Reims v Nantes, Rennes v Metz, Evian v Monaco, Bastia v Nice, Caen v Bordeaux
Saint-Etienne v Lorient (1300), Guingamp v Lille (1600), Montpellier v Lyon (2000)