• France edition
 
French football
Ligue 1 preview: PSG looking for first win
Can Edinson Cavani inspire PSG to their first win? Photo: Frack Pennant/PSG

Ligue 1 preview: PSG looking for first win

Published: 16 Aug 2013 08:55 GMT+02:00
Updated: 16 Aug 2013 08:55 GMT+02:00

Paris Saint-Germain play their first home game since Laurent Blanc replaced Carlo Ancelotti as coach of the Ligue 1 champions when they entertain Ajaccio at the Parc des Princes on Sunday
evening, with memories of last season's struggles against the Corsicans still fresh.

The capital club were held to goalless draws in both meetings with Ajaccio in 2012-13, but those results did not prevent them from comfortably winning the Ligue 1 crown in May.

Former France coach Blanc has been at the helm for six weeks now, and oversaw the Champions Trophy win against Bordeaux in his first competitive game at the helm before a 1-1 draw in Montpellier in last weekend's league opener.

In both games, PSG have had to come from behind, with Brazilian full-back Maxwell earning them a draw at the Stade de la Mosson after they had trailed at the interval against opponents who pressed and harried tirelessly.

With Corsican sides renowned for their aggression, and Ajaccio coach Fabrizio Ravanelli determined to make his team difficult to beat, PSG could face a frustrating evening on Sunday.

However, Blanc will hope that 64 million-euro (US$85.4m, £54.6m) record signing Edinson Cavani can have an impact on his home debut after almost scoring as a substitute in Montpellier.

"Certainly," Blanc said when asked if the Uruguayan former Napoli striker, who started pre-season training late, will feature against Ajaccio. "But the question is will he start. That is a decision we will take. He is a little bit behind with his preparation and has had some fitness problems."

Ajaccio lost 1-0 to Saint-Etienne last weekend, but Ravanelli will relish the occasion in the capital having already experienced the heat of the Parc des Princes during his days as a Marseille player.

In November 1997, the Italian striker played a central part in a controversial victory at the ground for PSG's bitter rivals, diving to win a penalty that was converted by...Laurent Blanc.

"It is a great thing to return to Paris, especially as a coach. It is a real pleasure," said Ravanelli.

"We know we will be playing against an extraordinary team with extraordinary means. But even if we lose we will come out with our heads held high, because we know we can enjoy a good season."

Earlier on Sunday, Monaco, tipped as PSG's most likely title challengers, will look to build on their opening-day win at Bordeaux when they welcome Montpellier to the Stade Louis II.

Claudio Ranieri's side. a mixture of expensive summer acquisitions and exciting young talent, won 2-0 in Bordeaux, with Radamel Falcao netting a debut goal after his 60 million-euro move from Atletico Madrid.

And in midweek they won an appeal against a three-point deduction handed down as a punishment for a trouble at the end of a game last season, so confidence will be high at the principality club.

Confidence is also high in Marseille after OM cruised to an opening-day win in Guingamp. They play host to Evian on Saturday, although recent signing Saber Khalifa is unlikely to make his debut against his former club in that encounter as he builds up his fitness.

After thumping Nice 4-0 last weekend, Lyon travel to Sochaux on Friday, the match being brought forward to help Remi Garde's side prepare for next midweek's Champions League play-off, first leg against Real Sociedad.

"Sochaux are a team that like to play football and don't worry about their opponents. That's the club's culture," said Garde.

"We are expecting a tough game. We need to confirm our good form and try and cause them as many problems as possible."

In the pick of the other matches, Nice face Rennes at the Stade du Ray, although that match will be played behind closed doors as a punishment for fan misbehaviour last season.

Fixtures (all kick-offs 1800 GMT unless stated)
   

Friday  

Sochaux v Lyon (1830 GMT)

Saturday

Marseille v Evian-Thonon-Gaillard (1500 GMT),

Bastia v Valenciennes, Nice v Rennes,

Reims v Lille,

Saint-Etienne v Guingamp,

Toulouse v Bordeaux

Sunday

Monaco v Montpellier (1200 GMT),

Lorient v Nantes (1500 GMT),

Paris Saint-Germain v Ajaccio (1900 GMT)

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How France compares to Europe:  Unemployment
How does France compare to its neighbours when it comes to unemployment.Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

How France compares to Europe: Unemployment

The jobless total in France hit a new record high this month with 3.424 million people out of work. Is it only in France that records are being broken? The Local takes a look at why the numbers are more positive in at least some of France's neighbours. READ  

Frenchman flips out over reclined seat on US flight
A Frenchman freaked out on a US plane over a reclined seat and is in big trouble. Photo: Doug/Flickr

Frenchman flips out over reclined seat on US flight

A Parisian man faces jail after losing his cool on a France-bound flight from the US over a passenger who reclined his seat just a bit too far. His outburst comes on the heels of the now infamous “Knee Defender” melee aboard another American plane. READ  

French police in race to find sick British boy
Ashya King, who police in France are desperately trying to track down. Photo: YouTube/Naveed King

French police in race to find sick British boy

Police in France and Britain faced a race against time on Friday in their hunt to find a five-year-old boy with a brain tumour who officials in France believe was "kidnapped" from a UK hospital by his family. READ  

French women's safety fears 'due to inequality'
A third of French women say they afraid to walk in their neighbourhood. Photo: Takato Marul/Flickr

French women's safety fears 'due to inequality'

Recent studies suggest women in France do not feel safe walking the streets of their neighbourhoods and many are afraid of walking around Paris at night. Some argue that gender inequality in the country is partly to blame. READ  

Feature - Wingsuit flying
Thrill-seekers risking life and limb in French Alps
Wingsuit flying has taken off in France despite dangers. Photo: Philippe Desmazes/AFP

Thrill-seekers risking life and limb in French Alps

A mountain in the French Alps has become a hot spot for the high-risk and often deadly extreme sport of wingsuit flying. And the seemingly hairbrained alpine activity where "there is no margin for error" attracts a lot of "dangerous egos". READ  

British killer escapes from hospital in France
French police have launched a manhunt for an escaped British killer. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

British killer escapes from hospital in France

A mentally ill British man is on the run in France after escaping from a psychiatric hospital, where he was forcibly committed after beating a man to death with a four-kilo weight. READ  

Does France really suffer from a brain drain?
France may not be suffering from a brain drain after all, but it's not as attractive as the UK or Germany. Photo: Leaving.

Does France really suffer from a brain drain?

The latest European Union figures cast a bit of doubt on worries the moribund French economy is prompting a mass brain drain. However the stats do suggest France is far less attractive than the UK and Germany when it comes to certain professions. READ  

French cities struggle with bedbug infestations
Bed bugs are biting in France. Photo: Shutterstock

French cities struggle with bedbug infestations

The infestation of French cities by bed bugs is worse than ever before with hygiene services overwhelmed, according to reports. READ  

IMF board to review Lagarde's legal problems
IMF chief Christine Lagarde's situation is to be reviewed after she was placed under investigation. Photo: AFP

IMF board to review Lagarde's legal problems

International Monetary Fund board members will meet "as soon as possible" to review the situation of their chief Christine Lagarde, who was placed under formal investigation in Paris this week for alleged "negligence". READ  

Champions League
PSG drawn in same group as Barcelona
Photo: AFP

PSG drawn in same group as Barcelona

PSG were paired with Barcelona in Group F of the Champions League when the draw for the group stages was made on Thursday. France's other representative Monaco were handed a much easier draw, at least on paper. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
The French words you can't translate literally
National
Ten things you need to know about France's economics whizzkid
International
VIDEO: Watch the top five street scams to avoid in Paris
Politics
Take a look at the bulging to-do list that awaits France's new government
Politics
Six questions for France after Hollande ousts rebels
International
Choosing schools in France: Do you go international or French?
Gallery
From kissing to bad-mouthing: Ten ways expats in France drive you mad
Culture
Ten things you need to know about the Liberation of Paris:
Travel
Watch this impressive time lapse video and you'll want to move to Paris
National
Veiled Muslim woman on a French beach prompts politician's angry rant
Travel
Forget Paris and Provence where are the least touristy areas of France?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The battle to liberate Paris from the Nazis
National
What France means to you in just one tweet
National
15 French 'false friends' you need to watch out for
International
12 reasons to invest in Paris and seven not to
National
French hamlet 'Death to Jews' mulls name change
National
French tourist caught in Pompeii brothel romp
International
'Forget the Anglo-media's image of France, the reality is much different'
Culture
VIDEO: Francophile Robin Williams enjoyed poking fun at the French
Travel
Six reasons why France is the world's top tourist destination
International
Remembering the 'forgotten campaign' in the liberation of France
Gallery
VIDEO: French bucket list - The 12 best things to do in France
International
Do three French cities deserve to be in top 10 "World 's Most Unfriendly"?
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se