Ligue 1 Preview: Paris Saint-Germain v Bastia
By Football News
Paris Saint-Germain welcome Bastia to the Parc des Princes on Saturday, hoping to edge ahead of Monaco at the top of Ligue 1.
Currently level on points with the men from the principality, who do not play until Sunday, Laurent Blanc's side have a chance to go three points clear at the summit, and will fully expect to do so against a Bastia side who are yet to win on the road this season.
PSG have won eight of their last nine matches in all competitions - a home draw against Monaco the only minor blot on an otherwise perfect copybook - while their opponents this weekend picked up an impressive 4-1 victory over struggling Lorient last time out.
And Blanc feels his side have grown as the season has progressed, believing they have recovered quickly from a stuttering start.
"With two draws to start with, you could say the opening to the league campaign was complicated," he told the club's official TV channel.
"But you got the feeling that the team was getting physically stronger, and that was confirmed by what happened afterwards.
"Now we're not only winning our games, but also trying to play good football. And I like that, because it corresponds to how I perceive football."
Despite a strong season so far, Blanc still believes there is room for improvement and feels it is key that his troops find their shooting boots ahead of the visit of Bastia.
"We still have to handle our good moments better, put away our chances more often. We can still score more goals, just as we did against Benfica (in the Champions League)."
PSG had no problems in the goalscoring department last season as they put seven goals past Bastia across both fixtures - winning 4-0 away from home, before picking up a 3-1 win in front of their own fans.
In fact, this weekend's hosts have won 10 of the 12 meetings between the sides, with the visitors last recording victory on home soil in 2003.
PSG have a few high-profile injury concerns going into the tie, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gregory van der Wiel having nursed knee problems in recent weeks, and Thiago Silva (thigh) still sidelined.
On the other hand, Bastia boss Frederic Hantz has no selection concerns, with former PSG goalkeeper Mickael Landreau targeting a third clean sheet of the campaign, having already shut Valenciennes and last season's runners-up, Marseille, out this term.