Friday, April 20, 2018

Paris Saint-Gemain v Monaco: Elderson aiming to derail PSG victory lap

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 18 Mar 2016


Monaco left-back Elderson hopes to catch newly crowned Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain slacking off when they travel to the Parc des Princes on Sunday.

PSG secured their fourth consecutive league title with eight games to spare courtesy of last weekend’s merciless 9-0 win at lowly Troyes, after Monaco were held 2-2 by Reims despite a first-half brace from Wagner Love.

Next month’s Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City is the next meaningful tie on the horizon for Laurent Blanc’s side, while Monaco can strengthen their position in second with victory as they aim to rejoin their opponents in European football’s premier competition next term.

Monaco have lost their past two matches against PSG – a 3-0 reverse in the league back in August and a 2-0 defeat in the capital in last season’s Coupe de France – and Nigeria international Elderson is keen for a measure of revenge.

“Those two matches are in the past now,” he told his club’s official website. “We need to focus on Sunday’s game. We’ll be doing everything we can to get a positive result.

“[Being crowned champions] can make a lot of difference for PSG. The players might relax a bit or could play even better. I think we’ll see a slight change.”

Leonardo Jardim’s men are on a run of three top-flight draws on the bounce and Elderson added: “The coach has been telling us to keep working hard in every department. We’re better on the pitch, but there’s still a little something missing.

“It’s up to us to work even harder to achieve our objectives.”

PSG will have Thiago Motta back from suspension, although fellow Italian midfielder Marco Verratti remains out with a groin strain.

Blaise Matuidi missed out in Troyes with a thigh problem, but could return having been deemed fit enough to feature in Didier Deschamps’ France squad for the forthcoming international break.

There will also be intrigue over the participation of full-back Gregory van der Wiel, who was substituted at half-time last weekend – reportedly at his own request following an alleged bust-up with star forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

When the fixtures were released, this showdown was viewed as a potentially pivotal match in deciding the destination of the title and PSG’s easy march to glory has raised concern in some quarters.

“The question we ask ourselves at the start of each season isn’t ‘who’s going to win the league?’,” former Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli told BBC World Service. “It’s ‘when are PSG going to win the league?’.”

The Frenchman added: “The attendances in the French league until recently were about 300,000 down on last season.

“The neutrals are turning their backs on it and walking away from stadiums and TV as well just because there is not much to play for.”


Key Opta stats
– Paris Saint-Germain have won only one of their past 12 Ligue 1 games against Monaco (D8 L3) and winless in the past six encounters in Paris (D5 L1).
– Laurent Blanc’s champions are unbeaten in the last 34 home Ligue 1 games (W27 D7).
– Thanks to eight wins and as many draws, Monaco have lost once in their past 17 Ligue 1 outings.
– PSG’s nine home goals conceded this season is the lowest amount in Ligue 1.
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s 102 Ligue 1 goals have arrived in 115 matches. Last weekend’s four-goal haul at Troyes made him the quickest player to three figures since Carlos Bianchi (110 games)


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