The French Ligue 1

Paris Saint-Germain v Lyon - Sunday 16th December - Parc des Princes (22:00)

Paris Saint Germain v Lyon

The French Ligue 1 will hotten up this weekend as another interesting top of the table battle will be played. Big spenders PSG will look to close the gap at the top of the table when they host leaders Lyon. Both still have midweek matches to be played at the time of writing this article.

PSG will be hoping to have turned a corner after a rocky start to the league following their big singings during pre-season. Their 2-1 win over Porto last Tuesday in the Champions League was followed up by an impressive 4-0 victory over Evian at the weekend, both victories coming at home. Zlatan Ibrahimovic put the title-challengers in front on 28 minutes before Ezequiel Lavezzi – who scored the winner in PSG’s midweek win over Porto – was again on target moments later. Thiago Motta and Kevin Gameiro added late strikes as the French capital club secured the victory that moved them above Marseille into second spot. Manager Carlo Ancelotti’s side are five points off the pace and this match will prove crucial if they are to realise their title aspirations. Ezequiel Lavezzi is looking to put a difficult start to life in France behind him and reproduce his best form as the club bid to win the title. The Argentina international joined the club from Napoli in July but has endured a stuttering start to life in France as a result of several knocks. However, he looks to have found the form he was known for at Napoli having scored in their last two matches with one of them earning PSG top spot in their Champions League group. Their key weapon is undoubtedly the talented Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Ibrahimovic took his tally to 14 Ligue 1 goals for PSG with his strike at the weekend and is now four goals clear at the top of the goalscoring charts.

Lyon’s decision to put faith in their youth has paid dividends as they sit top of Ligue 1. The seven-time French champions, who had to part ways with several experienced players in the off-season to curb a rampant deficit, have successfully brought through a string of academy graduates. Five players have made their league debuts in recent weeks. The home-grown players, including 20-year-old forward Rachid Ghezzal, 23-year-old holding midfielder Maxime Gonalons and 21-year-old playmaker Clement Grenier, have been key in Lyon’s strong start to the season. “I am not surprised that they have all succeeded. I have watched them grow, from the academy to the reserve squad and now they play games that matter,” said goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre, who joined Lyon in 2002. “They all play for France’s youth teams,” he added.  Michel Bastos scored from a free kick as 10-man Lyon won 1-0 at bitter local rivals Saint-Etienne on Sunday, maintaining their five-point lead over PSG and Marseille at the top of the table. Lyon was the better side in a close match but was dealt a blow in the 55th minute when defender Mouhamadou Dabo was shown a straight red. But 10 minutes later, Bastos hit a swerving free kick through Saint-Etienne’s wall that sealed maximum points. Lyon are on a good run having won their last three matches on the trot, winning 4-0 at Marseille before defeating reigning champions Montpellier 1-0 and winning their derby match against Saint-Etienne last weekend. Experienced striker Bafetimbi Gomis has hit some good form this season and his winner against Montpellier moved the Lyon striker to 10 goals for the season.

PSG won this fixture 2-0 last season. However, Lyon have only lost once on the road in their eight travels and the draw, that would suit them well, is tipped here.

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