Paris Saint-Germain-Valenciennes Preview: Ancelotti's side on brink of first Ligue 1 title since 1994
The Ligue 1 leaders can wrap up their first domestic crown in 19 years this weekend if Olympique de Marseille fail to win
By Mohammed Ali
Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti has seen his midfield depleted with a number of suspensions, most of which originated from the brawl that followed last weekend's 1-0 win against Evian.
Thiago Motta continues to serve his suspension, whilst Marco Verratti and David Beckham were handed a two and one match bans respectively for their red cards at the Parc des Sports last Sunday.
Goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu was initially supposed to have been sent off by referee Olivier Thual, but failed to receive his red card from the official, meaning the LFP have allowed him to be available, with his two-match ban starting on Monday.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed training on Friday but is expected to be fit, while Clement Chantome should be named in midfield given the shortage of options available.
Valenciennes coach Daniel Sanchez is likely to continue with Lindsay Rose in place of defender Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, with the Rennes-born youngster impressing in recent weeks. Gregory Pujol is injured and joins the likes of Loris Nery and Dusan Djuric on the treatment table.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Paris Saint-Germain sit top of Ligue 1 with 73 points - nine clear of nearest challengers Olympique de Marseille.
- Should the 2010 champions fail to beat Bastia at Stade Velodrome on Saturday, PSG will be crowned champions for the first time since 1994.
- PSG have won their last six games against the visitors - Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a hat-trick in the 4-0 win at Stade du Hainaut in December.
- Valenciennes sit in 12th position, having amassed 41 points over the 34 games played so far.
- Daniel Sanchez's men have lost all but one of their games away to teams currently in the top half of the table.
- Valenciennes have two clean sheets in their last three games - they were nine games without a win before Nicolas Isimat-Mirin was dropped.
- If PSG do wrap up the title this weekend, the LFP have confirmed the Ligue 1 trophy will not be presented.
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Top 3 Predictions
Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 Valenciennes FC
- 19.04 %
Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Valenciennes FC
- 16.73 %
Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 Valenciennes FC
- 11.92 %
|France - Ligue 1 (FRA1)||Sep 25, 2013||Valenciennes FC 0 - Paris Saint-Germain 1|
|France - Ligue 1 (FRA1)||May 5, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 1 - Valenciennes FC 1|
|France - Ligue 1 (FRA1)||Dec 11, 2012||Valenciennes FC 0 - Paris Saint-Germain 4|
|France - Ligue 1 (FRA1)||May 6, 2012||Valenciennes FC 3 - Paris Saint-Germain 4|
|France - Ligue 1 (FRA1)||Aug 21, 2011||Paris Saint-Germain 2 - Valenciennes FC 1|
|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|
|Dec 1, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 4 - Olympique Lyonnais 0||FRA1|
|Nov 27, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 2 - Olympiakos Piraeus 1||UCL|
|23||Gregory van der Wiel||Defender|
|20||Brou Benjamin Angoua||Defender|
|33||Nicolas Isimat Mirin||Defender|
The former Palermo star is finally coming good on his pricetag after a series of impressive displays in a Paris Saint-Germain shirt in recent weeks. With key goals in Ligue 1, last week at Evian, as well as the Champions League and Coupe de France in recent weeks, it's no surprise that the Argentine's return to form coincides with PSG's recent successes on the pitch. In stark contrast to his lethargic performances earlier in the season, Pastore plays with the confidence and creativity which has propelled Carlo Ancelotti's men to the title.
The 21-year-old defender usurped the position of fellow highly-rated defender Nicolas Isimat-Mirin in the squad, and has repaid the faith shown by Daniel Sanchez with a series of good performances at the back. With Valenciennes on a nine-match winless streak before his introduction, Rose has contributed to two clean sheets in the last three games to arrest the side's poor form to seal a mid-table finish. He'll face a tougher task at the Parc des Princes, however.
The Parisian outfit have hit form at exactly the right time, amidst a late push from Marseille, they've won each of their last five games in Ligue 1. They have a fantastic record against Sunday's visitors, and look certain to claim a home win at least, if not the title, come Sunday evening.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed