PSG look to extend lead as strike action looms
AFP/The Local · 25 Oct 2013, 09:18
Published: 25 Oct 2013 09:18 GMT+02:00
Paris Saint-Germain will look to consolidate their Ligue 1 lead this weekend as French football braces itself for a strike over a controversial supertax.
French clubs are furious over government plans to tax top earners 75 percent.
There will be a first lockdown in the professional game since 1972, scheduled for the last weekend of November, after a unanimous vote against Socialist President Francois Hollande's controversial supertax initiative.
According to Ligue 1 teams, the new law, if implemented next year, would leave them with a €44 million ($61 million) tax bill and keep foreign talent away.
On the pitch, Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic hit a majestic four goals during PSG's 5-0 humiliation of Belgian side Anderlecht in midweek, as shown in this short video.
The 32-year-old has now scored 10 goals in his last five matches as Laurent Blanc's side continue their near perfect start to the season.
His form has hit new heights as the capital club stand on the brink of the Champions League knockout phase, and have a two-point lead to protect heading into Sunday's away fixture at Saint-Etienne.
"He is in excellent form and scoring lots of goals," said PSG coach Laurent Blanc.
"But what I really appreciate is he is more and more involved in the play and he is very difficult to mark.
"I had the chance to play with some great players and he is a great player. He is like a locomotive for the others and pulls everyone to greater heights."
Are challengers Monaco and Marseille falling away?
Monaco are the only other unbeaten side in the league but coach Claudio Ranieri must rally the troops for Sunday's home match against Lyon after being held 2-2 by lowly Sochaux in their last outing.
Questions have cropped up over Monaco's title credentials despite six wins in ten matches and after throwing away a two-goal lead at Herve Renard's revamped Sochaux side, the match against struggling Lyon takes on added importance.
Last season's runners-up Marseille have seen their season nosedive after losing 1-0 at Nice last week and crashing to a third straight Champions League defeat against Napoli on Tuesday.
Elie Baup's side have fallen seven points off the pace and have already suffered three domestic defeats but a home match against lower table Reims on Saturday may be the remedy to get back to winning ways.
"What is important for me, after this series of results is to get back to success and do it in style," said Baup.
"After the Napoli match, I got back to work, we had meeting and worked hard in training. We have to keep working and we washed our dirty laundry amongst our family.
"We've got to take the bull by the horns and throw ourselves even harder into the upcoming matches."
Bordeaux, who won the 2008 title under Blanc, have also seen their fortunes turn sour and they come into their home match against Montpellier sixth from bottom and only four points above the relegation zone.
Renard has already enhanced his reputation after inspiring Sochaux's comeback last week and the 45-year-old, who memorably led Zambia to their first African championship in 2012, will relish the trip to a Lorient side just one point above them, near the foot of the table.
Fixtures (all times 8pm unless stated)
Nantes v Lille (8.30pm)
Marseille v Reims (5pm), Lorient v Sochaux, Toulouse v Rennes,
Guingamp v Ajaccio, Bastia v Nice, Valenciennes v Evian
Bordeaux v Montpellier (2pm), Monaco v Lyon (5pm), Saint-Etienne v Paris Saint-Germain (9pm)