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Ambitious PSG wary of Brest slip-up in French league
Published : 28 Jan 2012 05:46:51Rss feed
French league leaders Paris Saint Germain are hoping to avoid a costly slip-up Saturday when their title credentials come under the microscope at Brest.
Despite sitting 11th in Ligue 1, the Brittany outfit are the only unbeaten side at home this season.
PSG however are the team with the best away record, setting the scene for a much-anticipated clash at the Stade Francis Le-Ble.
Midfielder Clement Chantome admitted the Parisians have become more ambitious under their new Qatari owners and were determined to maintain at least their three-point margin on Montpellier to stay on track for a first league title since 1994.
"Brest are unbeaten at home, are solid in defence. They're sure to challenge us," said Chantome.
"But things are nothing like in previous years. What has changed is that PSG has become ambitious and are looking to win titles."
The Parisians will however be without Argentinian star Javier Pastore who tore a left thigh muscle during their French Cup win last week. Jeremy Menez looks set to fill in with midfielder Mathieu Bodmer back from suspension.
Brest defender Jonathan Zebina is also expecting sparks to fly.
"Paris are the form team of the championship at the moment. The Parisians are first with a three-point advantage. It's a team under construction, the team that everyone is taking about," said Zebina.
"We have to be wary. But we've also shown that we're capable of taking on anyone at home. We're going to count on our fans to try and once again get the best out of the match."
Second place Montpellier meanwhile will be hoping for their rivals to slip up to move level on points after 21 games as they travel to second-from-bottom Nice.
Defender Garry Bocaly is back from his suspension but captain Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (ankle) and striker John Utaka (thigh) are still out with niggling injuries.
The club will also be without their African contingent - Younes Belhanda, Abdelhamid El Kaoutari, Jamel Saihi and Souleymane Camara - who are all on African Cup of Nations duty.
Champions Lille, seven points off the pace in third, are at home to Saint-Etienne, sitting seventh.
Lyon, in fourth, host Dijon, sitting 13th and who have not taken any points from their clashes against clubs from the top eight.
"It's going to be complicated against a rival which has the potential to get on the podium at the end of the season," said Dijon coach Patrice Carteron.
"If we lose at Lyon, no one will be surprised. We're going to give it everything we have knowing that afterwards we're going to meet four rivals who are also looking to remain in the top flight."
Elsewhere Auxerre host Nancy as second-bottom Sochaux travel to Lorient and Toulouse take on Caen. On Sunday, Didier Deschamps' Marseille play Rennes in Brittany as Bordeaux travel to Evian and Valenciennes host tailenders Ajaccio.
Saturday (all times 1800 GMT unless stated)
Nice v Montpellier
Brest v Paris St Germain
Auxerre v Nancy
Lorient v Sochaux
Toulouse v Caen
Lyon v Dijon
Lille v St Etienne
Evian v Bordeaux (1600)
Valenciennes v AC Ajaccio (1600)
Rennes v Marseille (2000)
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