Paris Saint-Germain – Montpellier Preview: Ligue 1’s top two square off at Parc des Princes
Carlo Ancelotti’s men slipped up against Nice last weekend and, as a result, they were caught by La Paillade, who are unexpected challengers for the French title
By Robin Bairner
Bisevac, Lugano, Sakho, Maxwell
Motta, Sissoko, Pastore
Bocaly, Yangambiwa, Hilton, Bedimo
Cabella, Belhanda, Utaka
PSG hope to be able to welcome back Javier Pastore to their starting XI after injury but, if the Argentine is not fit to play, Mathieu Bodmer is liable to be given the nod, despite a knock picked up in the 1-0 Coupe de France win over Dijon on Wednesday. Christophe Jallet is a slight doubt after suffering a slight injury in midweek.
Siaka Tiene is back from the Africa Cup of Nations but is unlikely to be involved heavily.
Key Marseille central defender Hilton missed out on last weekend’s 3-0 victory over Ajaccio due to a last-minute problem, but the Brazilian is expected back in the squad for this clash after training much of the week. Benjamin Stambouli, the club’s Player of the Month for January, is likely to make way.
Geoffrey Dernis is the only player sidelined for Rene Girard’s men.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Paris Saint-Germain are top of Ligue 1, becoming the first club to reach the 50-point mark thanks to last weekend’s scoreless draw against Nice.
- The stalemate at the Stade du Ray was the first time that Les Parisiens have failed to win under Carlo Ancelotti, but they were back on track in midweek, beating Dijon 1-0 in the Coupe de France.
- Les Parisiens have twice lost at home in the league this season, on both occasions by a 1-0 scoreline, going down against Lorient and Nancy.
- Nene has been their most prolific player at home, registering half of the club’s 22 league goals scored at Parc des Princes.
- On the seven occasions when they have scored the opening goal in front of their home fans this season, PSG have gone on to win the game.
- Although Montpellier have a poor record in Paris – winning only five of 22 away matches against PSG – they’re unbeaten in the City of Lights since winning promotion back to the top flight two seasons ago.
- Rene Girard’s side have been noted for their formidable home form, losing only once this term as they slipped to a 3-0 loss against Sunday’s opponents.
- With 45 goals to their credit, La Paillade are comfortably Ligue 1’s top scorers, bettering the tallies of Lille (40) and PSG (39).
- Olivier Giroud has contributed 16 of these goals, not to mention six assists.
- Montpellier are not all about offensive strength, though; since the turn of the year, they have played seven times and have yet to concede.
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Top 3 Predictions
Paris Saint-Germain 1-2 Montpellier HSC
- 15.03 %
Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Montpellier HSC
- 15.03 %
Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Montpellier HSC
- 11.77 %
|France - Ligue 1 (FRA1)||Aug 9, 2013||Montpellier HSC 1 - Paris Saint-Germain 1|
|France - Ligue 1 (FRA1)||Mar 29, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 1 - Montpellier HSC 0|
|France - Ligue 1 (FRA1)||Nov 11, 2012||Montpellier HSC 1 - Paris Saint-Germain 1|
|France - Ligue 1 (FRA1)||Feb 19, 2012||Paris Saint-Germain 2 - Montpellier HSC 2|
|France - Ligue 1 (FRA1)||Sep 24, 2011||Montpellier HSC 0 - Paris Saint-Germain 3|
|Dec 18, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 2 - AS Saint-Etienne 1||FRLC|
|Dec 14, 2013||Stade Rennais FC 1 - Paris Saint-Germain 3||FRA1|
|Dec 10, 2013||Benfica 2 - Paris Saint-Germain 1||UCL|
|Dec 7, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 5 - FC Sochaux 0||FRA1|
|Dec 4, 2013||Evian Thonon Gaillard 2 - Paris Saint-Germain 0||FRA1|
|-||Mohamed Lamine Sissoko||Midfielder|
|5||Vitorino Hilton da Silva||Defender|
|18||Karim Ait Fana||Striker|
It’s impossible to overlook the contribution that Nene has had to PSG since arriving from Monaco around 18 months ago. The Brazilian has been superb for Les Parisiens and continues to offer their most consistent threat, even since so many high-profile additions were made in the two transfer windows following the QSI takeover. He has scored 11 goals so far this season and tends to orchestrate PSG’s best attacking movement but did waste a couple of great chances against Nice last weekend, though.
Olivier Giroud has enjoyed success at the Parc des Princes previously, playing a vital role as Montpellier recovered from a 2-0 deficit last season to score a 2-2 draw at the Parisian venue. He has been the outstanding striker in France this term, registering 16 goals already. The 25-year-old has attracted attracted glances from some of Europe’s top sides, and the €16 million price-tag is unlikely to put suitors off.
PSG start this match as significant favourites to win this game, but Montpellier have been confounding critics all season. Although MHSC’s home form has been the bedrock of their success, they have been impressive on the road, too, and their strong defensive record is nothing to be taken lightly. With PSG struggling to look offensively coherent, a tight game should be in the offing.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed