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Ligue 1 Preview: Bastia v Paris Saint-Germain

Paris Saint-Germain have a healthy lead at the top of Ligue 1, but Laurent Blanc will not allow his men to rest on their laurels at Bastia.

The reigning champions have opened up an eight-point gap at the summit, with their 2-0 victory over rivals Marseille last weekend following second-placed Monaco’s 2-0 defeat to Saint-Etienne.

That gap appears unassailable, as PSG have lost just once in 27 top-flight outings this season and are now on an 11-game unbeaten run.

But speaking after the Marseille match, head coach Blanc insisted his side have no room to celebrate until the retention of their Ligue 1 title is a mathematical certainty.

If recent history is anything to go by, though, PSG should move three points closer to that goal at Stade Armand Cesari on Saturday, as they have won the last seven meetings between the clubs.

This season’s reverse fixture this season also suggests Blanc’s men will collect another three points, as both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani bagged a brace in a 4-0 demolition at the Parc des Princes in October.

Bastia’s recent form also counts against them, with Frederic Hantz’s men having lost two and drawn one of their last three Ligue 1 fixtures.

However, Bastia can take solace from a strong record on home soil this season, with eight of their 10 league victories coming at Stade Armand Cesari.

Bastia are faced with the daunting task of lining up against Ligue 1′s hottest striker partnership, however, in the form of Ibrahimovic and Cavani.

The duo have notched 36 Ligue 1 goals between them this term, with Swede Ibrahimovic currently topping the scoring charts with 22 strikes ahead of his Uruguayan team-mate on 14.

Cavani had missed five matches with a thigh injury before the victory over Marseille, but showed no signs of being off the pace after coming off the bench to grab PSG’s second goal with a powerful header.

The 27-year-old has been granted permission to return to his homeland for personal reasons during the week, but is expected to return in time for the contest.

In contrast to PSG’s daunting firepower – which has seen them score 64 Ligue 1 goals this term, 20 more than second-placed Monaco – Bastia have struggled for goals this season, with no team in the top 10 having netted fewer than their tally of 31.

Thu 6 March, 2014
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