• France's news in English

Ligue 1 preview: PSG looking for first win

AFP/The Local · 16 Aug 2013, 08:55

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)


Sochaux v Lyon (1830 GMT)


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

Bastia v Valenciennes, Nice v Rennes,

Story continues below…

Reims v Lille,

Saint-Etienne v Guingamp,

Toulouse v Bordeaux


Monaco v Montpellier (1200 GMT),

Lorient v Nantes (1500 GMT),

Paris Saint-Germain v Ajaccio (1900 GMT)

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available