Ligue 1 preview: Monaco aim to turn screw on PSG

Monaco could could go seven points clear of rivals PSG at the top of the France's Ligue 1 on Friday night if they can over come Toulouse at home. Paris Saint-Germain, still looking for their first win, take on Nantes on Sunday.

Ligue 1 preview: Monaco aim to turn screw on PSG
Monaco's French forward Emmanuel Riviere celebrates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Monaco and Montpellier on August 18, 2013. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

High flying Monaco have already lived up to their pre-season credentials as title challengers and Claudio Ranieri's side could be three points clear by Friday night if they defeat Toulouse at their Louis II stadium.

The match however will be played behind closed doors as Monaco have been slapped with a one-match supporters ban following over zealous celebrations at the end of last season when they won promotion back into the top flight.

On the pitch, sixty-million euro signing Radamel Falcao is off to an impressive start with two goals in two games since his move from Atletico Madrid.

The Colombian celebrated the birth of his new daughter on the eve of his strike against Montpellier last Sunday which helped spark a 4-1 rout of the 2012 champions.

Toulouse could only manage a 1-1 draw against French Cup winners Bordeaux for their only positive result in two openings and face an in-form Monaco side eager to build on their perfect start and keep the pressure on the chasing pack.

Ranieri welcomes back Portuguese striker Joao Moutinho to his squad following injury but Frenchman Emmanuel Riviere is set to keep his place after scoring a league leading four goals in two matches.

"When a player is going well like that, you have to keep going with him," explained the 61-year-old Italian.

Paris Saint-Germain have been the early disappointment in Ligue 1 and are still looking for their first win of the season since former France coach Laurent Blanc took over from Real Madrid-bound Carlo Ancelotti.

It took a late equaliser from former Napoli striker Edinson Cavani to salvage a 1-1 home draw against Ajaccio who earned their first points of the season since Italian icon Fabrizio Ravanelli took over at the Corsican club.

They travel to promoted Nantes in the final match of the weekend on Sundaydesperate for a return on their massive investment which led them to their first French title last season since 1994 and a narrow defeat in the Champions League quarter-finals against Barcelona.

The 'Canaries' are expected to employ a defensive formation that worked so well for Ravanelli's men at the Parc des Princes.

"We could be spending the match defending in the final 20 metres," warned Nantes coach Michel Der Zakarian.

Marseille and Saint-Etienne are also sitting pretty on six points from two matches as they get set for away matches at Valenciennes and Lille on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Seven-time French champions Lyon lead Monaco by the paltry advantage of having scored one more goal but their season hit an oil slick in midweek as they were completely outclassed by Spanish side Real Sociedad 2-0 in the first leg of their Champions League qualifying tie at the Stade Gerland.

Elimination next week in Spain would be nothing less than a disaster for a club set to lose in excess of 20 million euros and mean they miss the group stages of Europe's finest competition for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.

Elsewhere, Bordeaux who won their last league title in 2008 under Blanc go in search of a first victory at home to a Bastia team hot on the heels of their maiden victory last weekend when 19-year-old Mauritanian striker Adama Ba scored on his debut just five minutes after coming on as a second half substitute.

Finally, Guingamp host Lorient in the Brittany derby, French Cup finalists Evian await Rennes, Montpellier are at home to Sochaux and Nice travel to Corsica to face Ajaccio on Sunday afternoon.

Fixtures (all kick-offs 1800 GMT unless stated)


Monaco v Toulouse (1830 GMT)


Valenciennes v Marseille (1500), Bordeaux v Bastia, Evian v Rennes, Guingamp v Lorient, Lyon v Reims, Montpellier v Sochaux


Lille v Saint-Etienne (1200), Ajaccio v Nice (1500), Nantes v Paris Saint Germain (1900)

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


IN PICTURES: How floods and a bin strike left Marseille submerged in waste

Torrential rain hit the city of Marseille in the south of France on Sunday and Monday, just days after local waste collectors ended a week-long strike, leading to fears of "catastrophic" waste making its way to the ocean.

IN PICTURES: How floods and a bin strike left Marseille submerged in waste
A man stands on a beach covered with cans following heavy rains and a strike of waste collectors in Marseille on October 5th. Photo: Nicolas TUCAT / AFP.

Marseille is located in the Bouches-du-Rhône département, which Météo France placed on red alert for heavy rain and flooding on Monday. Schools in the area shut and people were warned not to leave their homes as two months’ worth of rain fell in a single day in the Mediterranean city, after heavy rains had already caused flooding on Sunday night.

The situation was compounded by the fact that uncollected garbage was blocking storm drains in certain parts of the city – drains which would normally be cleared ahead of heavy rain – and making it more difficult for emergency services to intervene.

The city’s waste collectors had begun clearing the streets on Saturday after an agreement between unions and local authorities put an end to an eight-day strike over an increase to working hours.

But rain over the weekend made the monumental job even more difficult, and the result was that “rivers of rubbish” flowed through the city’s streets on Monday.

“Rubbish is everywhere. It’s a catastrophe,” biologist Isabelle Poitou, director of the MerTerre association, told AFP. “We’re expecting a strong mistral wind which will push the rubbish, which is currently making its way towards the sea, onto the beaches.”

“It’s vital to come and clear the rubbish from the beaches on Tuesday or Wednesday,” she added. “We need to act before the rubbish gets scattered in the sea at the first gust of wind.”

A woman collects waste on a beach after heavy rains and following a strike of waste collectors in Marseille.

A woman collects waste on a beach after heavy rains and following a strike of waste collectors in Marseille. Photo: Christophe SIMON / AFP.

The video below tweeted by BFMTV journalist Cédric Faiche shows the state of a beach in Marseille early on Tuesday morning. “It’s been cleaned several times but cans and different types of plastic continue to arrive…” Faiche wrote.

However, Faiche told BFM there are similar scenes every time there is heavy rain in Marseille, even if the strike has made the situation even worse.

Minister of the Sea Annick Girardin shared a video of the “sad scene” captured in Marseille on Sunday night. “Discussions between trade unions and the city must not make us forget what really matters: we are all responsible for our seas and our oceans!” she said.

“It’s unacceptable,” Christine Juste, deputy mayor in charge of the environment in Marseille told BFM on Tuesday, criticising the “lack of reactivity” in collecting leftover rubbish following the end of the strike on Friday.

“Why wait so long? In the 6th arrondissement, there has been no collection since the announcement that the strike was over,” she said.

IN PICTURES: See how the deluge has left parts of France’s Mediterranean coast submerged

The Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis intercommunal structure, rather than city hall, is in charge of rubbish collection in Marseille.

On Monday morning, the Metropolis dispatched 650 workers to clear away as much waste as possible ahead of the heaviest rainfall which was forecast for the afternoon.

On Monday evening, Marseille’s Mayor Benoît Payan told franceinfo that 3,000 tonnes of garbage were still yet to be collected in the city. “I asked the Prime Minister this evening to class the zone as a natural disaster,” he added.