OUR man in France is Julien Laurens and he's bringing you the lowdown on tonight's clash between PSG and Nice.
Julien is a London-based sports correspondent for Le Parisien and a veritable French football expert. He writes in French and English for a number of esteemed publications and is a regular on BT Sport as well as contributing to Unibet.
PSG v Nice (Fri 7.45pm)
This is the big game of the weekend in Ligue 1. After their draw away at Marseille last weekend (2-2) in Le Classique, Paris are hosting Nice on Friday evening. They could not beat them last season home (2-2) or away (1-3) and they will want their revenge.
PSG are still leaders in the table and unbeaten after 10 matches. They could only snatch a point in Marseille after a disappointing performance overall. Neymar got sent off as well against l’OM, so he will miss the clash with Nice. He got a one match ban. It is a blow for Paris, as Neymar has been so impressive so far this season but the team had become very dependent on him, so it will be interesting to see how they play without their Brazilian superstar.
Angel Di Maria will replace him on the right-hand side of the attack with Cavani and Mbappé. Thiago Motta is also missing through injury. Paris don’t have a natural replacement for him though, which could be a problem.
Rabiot will play in the number six role but doesn’t like playing there, so he might not be as effective as Motta in that position. Julian Draxler will come into midfield to play with Verratti and Rabiot. Dani Alves, who missed the Marseille game, is back from injury though and it is a boost for the team.
This is a crucial game for the Parisians as they have to win but also have to convince. They have won all their games at home so far this season, scoring 3.8 goals on average and only conceding 0.8. They have been impressive, destroying Toulouse and Bordeaux 6-2 for example. They have a good record at home against Nice as well.
For the visitors, this is also a crucial game. They are only a point clear of the relegation zone after a bad start to the season. They have 16 points less than at this stage last season. They have been struggling for form despite a great win against Monaco (4-0) earlier in the season.
Apart from Balotelli who has been very good this season, the other key players like Danté, Cardinale or Plea have not been good enough and definitely not as good as last term.
Nice have struggled away from home this season where they have not won. Seri and Cyprien are still out so Lucien Favre, who is still looking for his best formation this season, could line up his team in a 3-5-1-1 formation with Sneijder just behind Balotelli.
I think it will be a tight match but PSG will get a win.