Adrien Rabiot is keen for Paris Saint-Germain to send an early message to their Ligue 1 title rivals on Sunday by ending their long wait for a league win over Monaco.
The defending champions travel to the Stade Louis II for a fixture that may now have added spice following PSG’s capture of Monaco defender Layvin Kurzawa on Thursday.
Kurzawa will not play against his former club due to an injury picked up in the second leg of Monaco’s UEFA Champions League play-off tie with Valencia, as PSG aim to claim a first league success against the principality club since 2007.
Monaco have been among the main challengers to PSG’s dominance and have proved stubborn opponents for the capital club to break down, with their four league meetings since the former’s return to the top flight in 2013 ending in draws.
PSG did earn a 2-0 victory en route to Coupe de France glory last season and, after starting their defence of the championship with three straight wins, midfielder Rabiot believes gaining maximum points in Monaco would make a statement to the rest of the division.
“Monaco are one of the biggest clubs in the championship,” Rabiot told PSG TV. “There are teams you always struggle against and Monaco is one of them.
“They have had some very good players, some have left, new players have arrived. We’ll see what that means for this season. We had a good pre-season and we’ve started the campaign with three wins.
“A win over Monaco, a title contender, just before the international break, would be good for the morale before heading off with our respective national teams. To be first with four wins from four, and having beaten Monaco, would send a strong message to our rivals.”
Kurzawa is joined on the sidelines by Javier Pastore, who has a calf injury, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marco Verratti are both expected to return along with Angel di Maria, who could make his debut for Laurent Blanc’s men after joining from Manchester United earlier this month.
Monaco are still without midfielders Joao Moutinho (ankle) and Helder Costa (foot).
Coach Leonardo Jardim admits PSG have improved as a squad but is undaunted by the challenge facing his side.
“PSG are stronger than last year,” Jardim said. “PSG are not just Di Maria, there’s a whole bunch of great players. PSG are the best team in Ligue 1, but the goal is to win.”
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