OUR man in France is Julien Laurens and today he's looking at PSG v Monaco and Marseille's trip to Troyes.
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.
Troyes v Marseille (Sun 4pm)
Marseille travel to Troyes on Sunday afternoon, three days after their wonderful victory over RB Leipzig in the Europa League quarter final second leg on Thursday (5-2). They are through to the semi-finals now which is a great achievement.
But they also need to focus on the league as they are currently only fourth in the table, level on points with Lyon in third and seven points behind Monaco in second.
As Monaco face Paris SG, a win for Marseille in Troyes could take them only four points behind Monaco if the reigning champions lose in Paris. So it is a big game for the Marseillais. The win in Europe is a huge boost for them, especially after some average results in the league lately.
Manager Rudi Garcia also has Adil Rami and Florian Thauvin back fully fit which is a great boost. Steve Mandanda is still out injured but apart from the keeper and captain, everyone else is ready and hungry for more great performances.
Marseille were outstanding against Leipzig and will want to reproduce these kinds of displays. This is a game they are heavily favourite for and be expected to win. They don’t take a win for granted though, but they know it is a big opportunity.
Marseille don’t have a good record at Troyes where they have only won once in their last seven visits! They have not been amazing away from home this season either in Ligue 1 but they have great momentum going into this game after the midweek action.
Troyes are fighting against relegation. It has been a really tough season for them. They are 18th at the moment, just a point behind Toulouse in 17th. They have not won a single match since mid-February and the squad has lost a lot of confidence. They will be up for this game as it is such a prestigious one but they expect a really tough encounter.
They are hoping Marseille will be tired after their European exploits and not too focus. However, I still expect Marseille to win.
- Troyes 0, Marseille 2 (7-1, Unibet)
- Thauvin to score first (39-10, Unibet)
- Marseille win to nil (9-5, Unibet)
PSG v Monaco (Sun 8pm)
This is the big game this weekend in Ligue 1. Paris SG host Monaco on Sunday evening at the Parc des Princes and they would be crowned French champions with a win.
It is first against second as well as being a title decider game. There is no suspense though with Paris 14 points ahead of their opponents but it is still a prestigious game.
Two weeks ago, the Parisians beat the Monegasque comfortably in the League Cup final (3-0) in Bordeaux. They also won against them in the league in Monaco earlier in the season, when Neymar was still playing. The Brazilian is still out through injury and will not be involved on Sunday. Marco Verratti is also out injured while Presnel Kimpembe is suspended after his red card at St Etienne last weekend.
Paris SG got a point and a lucky escape in that game, probably their worst performance all season. Kylian Mbappé was ill during the week but he should be fine to play on Sunday. Everyone else will be available with Julian Draxler and Dani Alves back in the squad. Manager Unai Emery will start his strongest XI in a 4-3-3- formation.
Paris have an incredible record at home in the league this season with 16 wins in 16 matches, scoring an average of 3.81 goals per game. No one in Europe has a better record than them domestically at home this season. They feel so strong at the Parc des Princes and so dominant. The players really want to win the title against the team that took the title away from them last season.
So they will be extra motivated and determined on Sunday. Paris have a poor home record in the league against Monaco with only one win in their last 9 encounters, which was last season when they smashed them 3-0. They will want a repeat this weekend.
For Monaco, although the league is lost, this is still a very big game. They can’t afford to let Marseille and Lyon coming back behind them and closing the gap to four points. They can’t afford to drop points and they want their revenge after being spanked twice already by Paris this season. They want to cause an upset even if they are not playing great at the moment.
In Rony Lopes, eight goals in his last seven league matches, they have the most in form player in Ligue 1 and he will be a threat for the Paris defence. Monaco should line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation and will pay quickly in transition to trouble Paris on the counter. I think PSG will still edge it.