Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain travel to strugglers St Etienne, Nice host Metz
There were a bucketload of goals last weekend, and one of the biggest surprises was Brest’s thumping 4-0 win over RC Lens. This weekend, we will share our thoughts on two games – St Etienne v Paris Saint-Germain and Nice v Metz. We will also have a quick glance at the markets to see how the odds are shaping up.
Lionel Messi finally gets off the mark for Paris Saint-Germain
After a somewhat underwhelming start to life at the Parc des Princes, Lionel Messi finally got off the mark in Ligue 1. PSG proved too strong last Saturday, as they clinched a 3-1 victory. The diminutive Argentine made sure of the victory as he dispatched a superb left-footed curler past Alban Lafont.
And Messi became the oldest player to net his first goal in France’s top flight since the 1950/51 season. Although PSG took an early lead through Kylian Mbappe, Nantes equalised 15 minutes from time before an own goal, and some Messi magic provided PSG with all three points.
Paris Saint-Germain threatening to run away with Ligue 1 crown
It is astonishing that after just 14 rounds of fixtures, PSG have managed to carve open an 11-point lead at the top of the table. They have churned out wins, and their only defeat this campaign came at the hands of Rennes last month. With qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League virtually secured, it must be great to be a PSG fan!
Julian Draxler flies out to Qatar to rectify hamstring injury
PSG are the sum of their parts, and although they have been in blistering form on the pitch, they have been bereft of Julian Draxler for the past few weeks. After having a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury, the midfielder has been sent to Qatar to help him optimise his performances when he gets back on the pitch.
St Etienne enjoying mini-revival despite struggles
For St Etienne, it has been a season to forget. Currently, languishing in 19th spot in the table, they have picked up 12 points from 14 games. Nevertheless, they have won their last two games on the bounce, and they are unbeaten in four Ligue 1 outings. St Etienne will be hoping to catch PSG off guard, but don’t expect sympathy from PSG on Sunday.
Amine Gouiri leading the way for Nice
After steering Lille to the Ligue 1 title last season, it was always going to be fascinating to see how Christophe Galtier would fare at Nice. And by the looks of things, he appears to be doing a good job. A 2-1 victory away to Clermont last weekend consolidated second spot in the Ligue 1 table.
A late Amine Gouiri double took his tally to eight for the campaign. Gouiri has been a constant menace, and he will be vital to Nice’s chances of keeping themselves in the title hunt. Defeat against Metz on Saturday would be catastrophic as it would leave them with a mountain to climb to overhaul table toppers PSG.
Meanwhile, Metz’s problems have been well documented, and it is unsurprising to see them prop up the table. They have only picked up one victory, which came away to Brest back in September. There has been a run of three draws, but they need to tighten up a defence that has shipped 30 goals.
Nice v Metz: A look back at past encounters
On paper, Nice v Metz looks like a bit of a mismatch. However, the head-to-head record is often a good gauge of how future games may unfold. Indeed, Metz will take comfort from the fact that on their last visit to Nice back in February, they came away with a 2-1 win.
After surging into a 2-0 lead, Gouiri pulled one back for Nice, but Metz clung on to all three points. Metz could be put to the sword if they aren’t careful, but it’s not just Gouiri they need to be aware of. Andy Delort has been in a rich vein of form too, and he will ask questions of the Metz defence.
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