This could be the last chance for Ligue 1 newcomers Monaco to revive their title bid, whereas league leaders PSG could all but secure another league title with three points from Stade Louis II. And with the stakes extremely high for both sides, everything suggests we are going to see a nervy affair in the Principality.
Is Berbatov a good replacement for Falcao?
In spite of the heavy summer spending and some high-profile signings, it has to be said that Claudio Ranieri’s side have done really well to keep their title bid alive all this time. It was by no means easy to keep up with defending champions Paris Saint-Germain, but the Principality club still sit just five points behind their title rivals. Season-ending injury to star striker Radamel Falcao came at the worst possible time, although the club managed to address the issue by signing Dimitar Berbatov on loan from Fulham. The Bulgarian might need some time to adapt to the new surroundings especially having struggled of late in English Premier League, but everything suggests he is set to start against PSG. Despite needing a win in order to stay in the title chase, the hosts are all too aware they cannot afford to go all guns blazing at their opponents, as that would be a suicide. Monaco are, therefore, expected to adopt a cautious approach, with quite a few players likely to be focused on keeping the opposition attackers at bay.
Radamel Falcao and January signing Aymen Abdennour miss out through injury, but there are no new worries for Claudio Ranieri.
PSG on the right track
Paris Saint-Germain needed some time to establish domestic domination, but they now remain the team to beat in French Ligue 1. The club continued to reinforce their ranks with high-quality players and after impressing last season, the Saints have kept the rich vein of form. While they eased off to Champions League knockout stages and Coupe de la Ligue final, Laurent Blanc’s side have kept hold of their place at the Ligue 1 summit, and they go into the Monaco game five points clear of their title rivals. The arrival of Yohan Cabaye will make the team even stronger and nobody will be surprised if they surpass the achievements from last season. With plenty of quality in the ranks and a real cohesion in the squad, PSG appear to be in good stead to take at least one point from Stade Louis II, although they, too, are expected to curb their attacking potential in this particular game and make sure they avoid any surprises. Even so, the visitors are clearly closer to claiming maximum points.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will start after overcoming a back problem, but Edinson Cavani, Christophe Jallet and Adrien Rabiot are out injured.
Given the importance of the match, neither Monaco not PSG are expected to attack from the off, but they will rather wait for the opponents to make a mistake and then spring into action. Everything suggests we will see a tight game in the Principality, but the visitors might just sneak a win here.
Top pick: Half-time Draw 2.20 (6/5) @ Stan James
Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score – No 2.10 (11/10) @ Paddy Power
Alternative pick 2: Away win 2.30 (13/10) @ William Hill