Ligue 1 Preview: PSG seeking 'Classique' double, Saint-Etienne host Monaco
By Football News
Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille take centre stage for France's biggest fixture in what is set to be a fascinating weekend in Ligue 1.
The rivalry between leaders PSG and UEFA Champions League hopefuls Marseille, known in France as 'Le Classique', had long been dominated by the Provencal club, but it is the capital outfit who have begun to dictate matters over recent years.
And Laurent Blanc's men will look to underline their superiority at the Parc des Princes on Sunday as PSG seek a first league double over Marseille since 2003 following victory at the Stade Velodrome back in October.
PSG will need no extra motivation to beat their bitter rivals - who themselves will be looking to keep pace in the race for a top-three spot - but could have the added incentive of potentially going eight points clear at the top of Ligue 1 should Monaco slip up at Saint-Etienne on Saturday.
Claudio Ranieri's side demonstrated great fighting spirit to overcome Reims 3-2 last Friday, but a trip to the intimidating Stade Geoffroy Guichard promises to provide an even tougher test.
Indeed, Saint-Etienne head into the game just a point behind third-placed Lille and have lost only twice at home in the league this term, with PSG, Marseille and Lille all failing to take maximum points from respective visits to the 10-time champions.
A win for Saint-Etienne would heap heavy pressure on Rene Girard's Lille ahead of a trip to bottom club Ajaccio.
Yet the 2010-11 champions should be confident of taking all three points against a side who have won just twice in the league this season and have not beaten Lille since 2005.
Two sides in excellent form meet when Champions League challengers Lyon, with just two defeats from their last 15 league games, host a Montpellier outfit out to extend a run of eight top-flight outings unbeaten and move into the top half.
Meanwhile, Rennes face neighbours Guingamp hoping to secure a second derby triumph in as many weeks after a 3-0 success at Nantes, who travel to an Evian side desperate for a first win in nearly three months to boost their hopes survival.
Elsewhere, relegation-threatened Sochaux and Valenciennes take on Bordeaux and Reims respectively, while Nice welcome Toulouse to the Allianz Riviera, and Lorient host Bastia.