Ligue 1 12/12/21: Paris Saint-Germain tackle Monaco, Rennes and Nice collide
There were plenty of talking points from the last round of Ligue 1 fixtures. Nice crashed to a 3-0 defeat at home to Strasbourg, while Saint-Etienne are looking for a new manager after Claude Puel stood down in the wake of the team’s 5-0 hammering at the hands of Rennes. We will look ahead to two weekend fixtures, including PSG v Monaco.
Georginio Wijnaldum the saviour as PSG rescue a point against Lens
Lens was always going to be a tester for PSG. Although they created quite a few chances, including Lionel Messi hitting the post, it seemed things wouldn’t go their way. Seko Fofana — who grabbed the opener just after the hour mark — was a constant menace, and Keylor Navas was kept busy. But when it seemed they would leave Lens empty-handed, PSG dug deep.
A last-gasp header by Georginio Wijnaldum from a Kylian Mbappe cross ensured PSG are unbeaten in their past eight Ligue 1 outings. Also, the draw means they have now opened up an 11-point lead at the top of the table ahead of Sunday evening’s meeting with Monaco.
PSG keeping eye on Presnel Kimpembe ahead of Monaco clash
PSG will be eager to keep their stars wrapped up in cotton wool. With a spot in the last 16 of the Champions League secured, the French giants will be hoping to have Presnel Kimpembe back in time to face Monaco. Kimpembe — who made his 200th club appearance for PSG against Lens — underwent treatment for a calf blow, and he will be monitored this week.
Monaco finding form at just the right time
There’s probably never an ideal time to face PSG. But Monaco, who looked a little out of sorts earlier on in the campaign, are starting to make up ground on their rivals. A sparkling display in a 4-0 win over Metz last weekend leaves Monaco seventh in the table, and they are just a point off the top four.
PSG v Monaco: Unlocking the vault on past encounters
Monaco will relish a trip to the Parc des Princes, well judging by their last visit anywhere. Last season, Monaco ran out 2-0 winners, with Sofiane Diop and Guillermo Maripan grabbing the goals. However, PSG have much improved since then, and you imagine Mbappe will want to silence his former employers!
Rennes recover from Lille disappointment by thrashing Saint-Etienne
Rennes have enjoyed a magnificent season to date. Few would have thought they would be doing as well as they are before the start of the campaign, but Rennes have defied the odds by producing some stunning football. Last weekend’s 5-0 win over Saint-Etienne highlighted this, as Martin Terrier grabbed the headlines with a hat-trick.
The result proved to be the final straw for Puel, with the former Leicester boss stepping down from his role. While an 11-point gap to PSG seems close to insurmountable even at this stage, Rennes just have to keep plugging away and hope PSG slip up.
Meanwhile, Nice have had a bit of a torrid run of late, experiencing defeat in three of their past five Ligue 1 outings. Before their defeat to Strasbourg, Nice entered the game with the best defensive record, having conceded 12 goals. But Nice were naive, and they were made to pay the price. Now, it’s a case of regrouping for Nice ahead of Rennes.
Rennes and the amazing stats that underline their season
Rennes have barely put a foot wrong this season, and there are a few telling stats that underline this. Since the start of October, Rennes have racked up 22 points, with only Inter Milan and Atalanta in Europe’s other top five leagues picking up more points. And against St-Etienne, Rennes enjoyed their joint-highest victory in Ligue 1.
However, in terms of recent meetings, it might not be so easy trying to pick a winner. In their previous clash, Nice won 2-1 win away to Rennes. And before that, Rennes claimed three points at Nice, with M’Baye Niang’s strike separating the two sides. There’s so much riding on this in terms of the top four races, and it should be a fascinating affair.
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