Paris Saint-Germain-Montpellier Preview: Ancelotti's men aim to consolidate top spot ahead of Barcelona visit
The hosts take on the side that beat them to last year's title, as the capital club hope for a smooth victory ahead of their much-anticipated Champions League quarter-final
By Mohammed Ali
Van der Wiel, Alex, Thiago Silva, Maxwell
Lucas Moura, Matuidi, Verratti, Pastore
Congre, Hilton, El Kaoutari, Bedimo
Camara, Belhanda, Utaka
Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti has insisted his side's focus remains on Montpellier for now, despite the prospect of a Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona on the horizon.
Nevertheless, the Italian trainer is likely to field his strongest possible side, as they aim to pull further clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table as we enter the final phase of the season.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was cleared to play in Tuesday's game by Uefa, and he'll also start against the champions on Friday evening, with Lucas Moura set to recover from the ankle problem he suffered three weeks ago against Nancy.
David Beckham is unlikely to feature having just returned from an ambassadorial trip to China, with Marco Verratti set to hold off Clement Chantome for a starting berth.
Outgoing Montpellier coach Rene Girard has no fresh injury worries, though his side appears considerably weaker when compared to the 1-1 draw the champions managed against PSG in November. Abdelhamid El Kaoutari's run in defence continues, as Daniel Congre maintains his position in an unfamiliar right-back role.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Paris Saint-Germain's hopes of securing a first Ligue 1 title since 1994 look good, as they sit seven points clear of challengers Lyon, with just 24 left on offer.
- Les Parisiens have won just two of their last 11 games against Montpellier at the Parc des Princes.
- Nevertheless, PSG have found the net in each of the last 11 games against the champions.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been involved in more than half of his side's goals in Ligue 1 - with 25 goals and 5 assists (30 out of 53).
- Montpellier sit seventh in Ligue 1 after a fantastic recent run of form catapulted them to within six points of third-place Marseille. They have not won their last two games, however.
- The champions have scored in all but one of their last 14 away fixtures in Ligue 1 this season.
- Montpellier's last five league games at the Parc des Princes have seen an average of 4.6 goals a game.
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Top 3 Predictions
Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Montpellier HSC
- 12.77 %
Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 Montpellier HSC
- 12.77 %
Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Montpellier HSC
- 12.25 %
|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 4, 2013||Evian Thonon Gaillard 2 - Paris Saint-Germain 0||FRA1|
|Dec 1, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 4 - Olympique Lyonnais 0||FRA1|
|Nov 27, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 2 - Olympiakos Piraeus 1||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||Stade de Reims 0 - Paris Saint-Germain 3||FRA1|
|Nov 9, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 3 - OGC Nice 1||FRA1|
|23||Gregory van der Wiel||Defender|
|5||Vitorino Hilton da Silva||Defender|
|21||Abdelhamid El Kaoutari||Defender|
The Sweden international has set Ligue 1 alight, but at times has found it difficult to perform in front of a demanding Parc des Princes crowd. That is not to say that Ibrahimovic cannot perform, with his goals adding as many as 12 points to PSG's current total. His power, style, and finishing have caught the most stoic of defenders off-guard, and he may well prove to be a thorn in Montpellier's defence on Friday.
One of the few stars to remain at Stade de la Mosson following the departures of Olivier Giroud and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. Stambouli was rated by president Louis Nicollin as one of three players that he wouldn't sell at any price, and it's easy to see why. The son of Olympique de Marseille's youth team boss has blossomed in the past two years, and is fast becoming a powerful figure in both defence and midfield for La Paillade.
The champions may be facing what appears to be the champions-elect of Ligue 1, but as PSG have found in recent games, they are sometimes out-muscled and out-played by teams who have more to prove. Certainly, it has been a disappointing season for the visitors, and it may appear that PSG may have Barcelona on their minds. Montpellier have the talent and the fight to come away with a point.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed