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Saturday, 23 August 2014, 16:00

French Ligue 1

Stade Velodrome

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Sunday, 17 August 2014, 16:00

French Ligue 1

Ligue 1 weekend preview

Paris St Germain boss Laurent Blanc will trust a weakened side to bring in the points against Reims on Saturday.

Last Updated: 04/04/14 at 17:48 Post Comment

Edinson Cavani: Could deputise for Ibrahimovic

Edinson Cavani: Could deputise for Ibrahimovic

The Ligue 1 champions, who are close to completing a successful defence of their title, have a big European night ahead of them on Tuesday and will rest players for their weekend home fixture.

Leading Chelsea 3-1 from the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final, the last thing Blanc needs is to lose more key men to injury, having seen star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic limp off in the opening game and be ruled out for several weeks.

Blanc is urging Edinson Cavani to take advantage of Ibrahimovic's absence by stepping into the role of the principal centre forward, but it remains to be seen whether the Uruguayan is risked against Reims.

The PSG head coach said: "We want to win against Reims. We'll have to rotate the team but put out a side that can win."

Blanc's Reims counterpair Hubert Fournier is plotting a shock away win, saying: "The fact the match falls between the two Champions League games will affect PSG. That could give us a chance."

Monaco, who stand second in the table, are 13 points off the pace with seven games remaining heading into the weekend.

Claudio Ranieri's team play Nantes on Sunday at the Stade Louis II, but their chance has almost certainly gone.

Monaco may yet need to watch out for Lille catching them, with Rene Girard's third-placed team aiming to close the gap to three points in Saturday's trip to Toulouse.

Lille boss Girard insists his side are currently punching above their weight in Ligue 1.

"Mathematically everything is still feasible for European places - as the president said early in the season we have the fifth biggest budget and the goal at the start of the season was to finish in the top five. So we are a little ahead," Girard told the official club website.

"There are seven games to play and I have told the boys to think only about ourselves, not others."

Bordeaux, who have home advantage against Rennes, have scored just three goals in their last five league matches, drawing their last three games.

They have not won since a 3-2 home victory over Lorient on February 25 and sit ninth in the table, their European chances seemingly shot to shreds. Rennes could inflict more pain on their hosts as they aim for a fourth straight win.

Montpellier, six points outside the relegation zone but steadily falling, will be bidding to halt a five-match winless streak at Guingamp, who have one home win in their last eight.

Evian are five points above the bottom three, but unlike Montpellier they have upwards momentum and will look to build on last week's surprise win over Monaco when they travel to Lorient on Saturday.

Evian captain Olivier Sorlin said: "Everyone knows that with 34 points, we are not secure. I was convinced we would win against Monaco. It is a little weird that we get results against larger teams. I do not know how many points we need to be safe but if you reach 40 points, you're not far away."

Bastia, by Sorlin's judgement, are probably safe, having reached that 40-point mark. The Corsicans have home advantage over second-bottom Sochaux on Saturday.

Sunday's other games see Nice head to St Etienne and Lyon visit Valenciennes.

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