OUR man in France is Julien Laurens and on he's looking at the games involving Ligue Un's top two on Saturday.
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.
Angers v PSG (Sat 4pm)
PSG travel to Angers four days after their huge win against Anderlecht in the Champions League. Paris produced a very good performance after weeks of not playing very well. For once, all the players played for the team and collectively, it was much better from PSG.
Neymar, however, is out after picking up a thigh injury in midweek. It's a huge blow he's out as he has been so good for PSG this season, with 11 goals in the 12 games he played. Angel Di Maria will also be missing.
Neymar was suspended last weekend against Nice and the Parisiens were still very good. Thiago Silva is definitely out through injury, so Presnel Kimpembe, who has been very good this season, will come in alongside Marquinhos. Thiago Motta is also out, so the trio Rabiot – Verratti – Draxler should continue in midfield.
Paris are top of the table and still unbeaten this season (nine wins and two draws). However, they have struggled at times away from home this season, like at Montpellier (0-0), Marseille (2-2) or even Dijon (a very late 2-1 win). The problem was mostly the attitude and they will be have to be up for it on Saturday because Angers certainly will be. PSG haven’t lost in their last seven visits to Angers but this could be a tricky game for them.
Angers have not won at home yet this season in the league (three draws and two defeats)! They are not as solid as they used to be defensively but this is the biggest game of their season so far. Their good away form means that they are 12th in the table but they have to start winning at home. They will be highly motivated for this game against PSG. They will make it really hard for the Parisians but I think PSG will still win.
- Correct score: Angers 0, PSG 2 (7-1, Unibet)
- First scorer: Cavani (9-4, Unibet)
- Under 2.5 goals (9-5, Unibet)
Monaco v Guingamp (Sat 7pm)
Monaco could only draw in midweek away at Besiktas in the Champions League and the French champions now need to focus on their game against Guingamp. They got three very important points last weekend at Bordeaux (2-0) and they need to put a good run of results together in the league.
Currently second in the table, four points behind PSG, they are big favourites before this game. They have been excellent at home in the league this season, with four wins and a draw in five matches.
Radamel Falcao is still a doubt. He missed the last two games and it would be a huge blow if he was to miss this game again. Monaco are such a better team when he plays. He has scored 50% of their goals this season! When he was not playing, Keita Baldé played well in his position, so Baldé would be a good alternative up front.
Rony Lopes scored in the Champions League and will be Monaco’s key player on Saturday. But Monaco will also be without Thomas Lemar, who injured himself in midweek in Turkey. He will be out for up to four weeks. Djibril Sidibé should also be out. He has missed the last three games now and Andrea Raggi has done well replacing him on the right-hand side.
Monaco have never lost at home against Guingamp in their whole history, even if last season’s match ended in a draw. On top of that, the visitors have a very poor record away this season, with just one win and four defeats. Their home form has been the difference this and explains why they are 11th in the table. Away from home, they have been dreadful.
Manager Antoine Kombouaré will get Guingamp to play quite deep although they have been very solid defensively this season. I think Monaco have turned a corner after some tough games a few weeks ago. They are playing much better now and will get a win on Saturday.