Paris Saint-Germain will aim to celebrate Laurent Blanc’s new deal in style when the Ligue 1 leaders host Lille on Saturday.
Blanc put pen to paper on a two-year contract extension on Thursday, putting to bed talk of him parting company with the club should they fail to win the Champions League, with PSG having previously suffered three straight quarter-final exits.
The Champions League will be Blanc and PSG’s priority with the league title already looking secured.
PSG are 24 points clear at the top of the table and face Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie three days after Lille’s visit to the Parc des Princes.
And, although PSG will be looking to preserve an incredible domestic unbeaten run that stretches back to March of last year, there could be changes in the offing for the hosts ahead of the meeting with Chelsea.
The encounter with Lille comes just three days after PSG put Lyon to the sword with a 3-0 win in the Coupe de France round of 16.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – scorer of a double in that match – conceded the busy schedule is making it tricky for PSG to consistently hit top form.
Speaking after the defeat of Lyon, he said: “We are playing games every three days at the moment. It’s very hard to stay in top shape and form every game.
“We started slow [against Lyon] but we accelerated in the second half and it paid off.”
It remains to be seen if Javier Pastore (calf), Gregory van der Wiel (appendectomy) or Marco Verratti (groin) will feature after they all missed the Lyon clash.
Lille will be keen to take advantage if PSG start slowly again this weekend, but the odds are stacked against Frederic Antonetti’s men.
The visitors are nine points clear of the bottom two in 15th and have won only once in their last 12 league away games.
PSG are unbeaten in their last 16 home league games against Lille, a run that goes back to April 1996 when the capital club were defeated 1-0.
Lille can have some reason for confidence having experienced an upturn in form in recent times, going four games without defeat in all competitions.
But, with PSG having scored in each of their last eight Ligue 1 encounters with Lille, the chances of Antonetti witnessing his team ending a near 20-year wait for an away league success over the defending champions appear slim.
Key Opta Stats
– PSG have kept a clean sheet in eight of their last 14 home encounters with Lille in Ligue 1.
– PSG are unbeaten in their last 31 home games in Ligue 1 (W26, D5), their second best run in the top flight after their 39-game run between January 1993 and December 1994.
– Lille have only won five of their last 43 trips to a title holder in Ligue 1 (D12, L26).
– Frederic Antonetti has only won once in his last six meetings with Laurent Blanc as a manager in Ligue 1 (D3, L2).