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French Ligue 1

Ligue 1 weekend preview

Marquinhos is confident Paris St Germain can pick up where they left off in Ligue 1 despite suspensions to key players as they come out of the international break.

Last Updated: 18/10/13 at 12:13 Post Comment

Marquinhos: Prepares for match against Bastia

Marquinhos: Prepares for match against Bastia

PSG are locked in a tight battle with leaders Monaco at the top of the standings, with both sides on 21 points after staying unbeaten through the first nine games of the season.

But PSG will take on Bastia at the Parc des Princes on Saturday without suspended pair Marco Verratti and Thiago Motta, requiring a major re-think in midfield for Laurent Blanc - with youngster Adrien Rabiot tipped to get the nod.

"Verratti and Motta are high-quality players, but we have a large squad that has our trust," Marquinhos said.

"Adrien Rabiot has the quality to replace those players who have been suspended."

This weekend's fixtures offer PSG the chance to go top for one night at least as Monaco do not play until travelling to second-bottom Sochaux on Sunday lunchtime.

The games will take place amid the backdrop of further wranglings over tax issues which are threatening to disrupt next week's programme.

Monaco continue to attract the ire of their fellow clubs due to their tax-exile status offering them considerable advantages in the transfer market, and with the French government ready to press ahead with plans for a 75 per cent top rate of tax, the issue is coming to a head with the threat of strike action across Ligue 1 and 2 next weekend.

A final decision is to be made at a meeting next Thursday.

Marseille, who start the weekend four points off the summit, get first crack but theirs is a difficult assignment away to sixth-placed Nice on Friday night.

"It will be another tough, tough game," coach Elie Baup told France365. "This is a team that is truly committed and started well this season.

"These are consequential games, hot games.

"But it is interesting for us to play consistent games because there will be no time to think."

Lille, level on points with Marseille in third, also have a tough away trip ahead of them as they face Montpellier.

Jean Fernandez's side may have only won two games this season, but they have lost just one, and a 5-1 thrashing of Lyon in the last match before the international break showed the dangers they can pose.

Lyon, who had Maxime Gonalons sent off in that match, get their chance to bounce back at home to Bordeaux on Sunday evening.

Reims have a similar record to Montpellier, having won two, lost one and drawn six, and their match against a Toulouse side who have three wins, three losses and three draws has the look of a stalemate on paper.

At the other end of the table, Valenciennes' bid to kick-start their thus far dreadful season gets no easier with a trip to mid-table Rennes.

Lorient sit in 18th place ahead of their trip to St Etienne, level on points with Ajaccio who welcome Nantes to Corsica on Saturday evening.

Evian face Guingamp hoping to put some distance between themselves at the bottom three.

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