OUR man in France is Julien Laurens and he's looking at Strasbourg v PSG and Monaco against Angers.
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.
Strasbourg v PSG (Sat 2pm)
The league leaders travel to Strasbourg on Saturday afternoon after continuing their impressive start of the season in midweek against Troyes. PSG did not put on a vintage performance but they did the job and got another victory, the 13th in Ligue 1 so far and another clean sheet as well.
Unai Emery rotated his players as well and Kylian Mbappé, Julian Draxler or Dani Alves should be back on Saturday. The manager should play his strongest XI.
Thiago Motta is still the only player missing for this game, through injury. He hasn’t been missed at all since getting injured though as Adrien Rabiot has been impressing in the holding role. Both Neymar and Edinson Cavani scored on Wednesday against Troyes and Mbappé had a positive impact when he came on in the second half. The MCN should be reunited against Strasbourg on Saturday though.
Paris have a huge game next week in the Champions League away at Bayern Munich and they will surely have this in the back of their mind. They won’t be fully focused on the clash with Strasbourg. They haven’t played there since 2007 and have only lost one of their last 10 visits in Ligue 1.
The atmosphere will be amazing at the La Meinau stadium. The Strasbourg fans are among the best in the country. This is a huge game for them and they will have no pressure.
Newly promoted Strasbourg are 17th in the table and will be fighting against relegation all season. They have only won twice at home all season so they are ready to suffer against Paris. But they always play with a lot of heart and courage. However, they also concede a lot of goals and I think the visitors will beat them quite easily.
- Strasbourg 1, PSG 2 (8-1, Unibet)
- Cavani to score first (21-10, Unibet)
- PSG win and both teams to score (133-100, Unibet)
Monaco v Angers (Sat 7pm)
Monaco are going through a big crisis. Their defeat at Nantes on Wednesday (1-0) was their third in a row in all competitions after RB Leipzig in the Champions League and PSG in Ligue 1 as well.
Monaco had not lost three in a row in eight years! The players have lost all confidence and Leonardo Jardim has injury concerns as well. Youri Tielemans is out for a few weeks, Thomas Lemar is still not back either. Steven Jovetic and Andrea Raggi are also missing while Radamel Falcao has played a lot recently like Fabinho or Jorge.
But Jardim can’t rest any of his best players because Monaco need to bounce back and have to react on Saturday. They cannot afford another disappointing result. The pressure will be huge, at home as well. They went from being second in the table to fourth in the space of a week. The are now two points behind Marseille in 2nd and behind Lyon in 3rd on goal difference. They also trail PSG by twelve points now. They will have to show their character on Saturday.
Monaco have a good record at home this season in Ligue 1 with just one loss – against PSG – with five wins and a draw. They are also averaging over three goals per game in the league at home. Monaco have a very strong record at home against Angers with just one defeat in their last nine encounters at the Stade Louis II.
Angers are also in crisis heading into this game. They are 19th in the table after a terrible run of no win in six games. They have won just once in 13 in the league now. They used to be a solid defensive team but they are struggling at the back. Their players are also very low in confidence and their manager Stephane Moulin is looking for solution too to stop the bad run of results. However, I think Monaco will have too much still for Angers.