25 Nov Monaco v Paris St Germain talking points
Paris St Germain will attempt to pull nine points clear at the top of Ligue 1 with victory at Monaco on Sunday evening.
Last season saw Monaco snatch the title but their championship-winning XI was broken up after a raft of summer player sales.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at key talking points ahead of the clash of the top two.
A title clincher already?
It would take an almighty swing in their fortunes for free-scoring Paris St Germain to throw away a nine-point lead. So for the sake of keeping the league remotely competitive this season, a Monaco victory would be a welcome result for many French football followers. Monaco have pedigree in this fixture, and have also scored in their last 42 home league games, but a harrowing 4-1 home defeat to RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Tuesday has left them at a low ebb. They look ripe to be picked off again as Neymar, Edinson Cavani and co arrive.
Jardim has his hands tied
Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim achieved what many thought impossible last term when wrenching the Ligue 1 trophy from the hands of PSG. That sparked transfer activity at each club, as PSG spent on an unprecedented scale and Monaco cashed in on their success by allowing Bernardo Silva, Kylian Mbappe, Benjamin Mendy and Tiemoue Bakayoko to leave for spectacular money, much of which remains in the bank. As Jardim said this week: “I’m confident in our project but you can’t ask impossible things of me.” He pointed out the club’s successes in his first three years in charge and said how each time it was achieved with “12 to 15 players who were very young”, adding that he would not do the maths on the sales of players “of which you know the amount”.
Kylian Mbappe was born in Paris and it was to the capital he returned in the summer when PSG brought him in, initially on loan, after he shone in Monaco’s championship-winning side. Now he heads back to the Stade Louis II where he has nothing to prove and legions of admirers who would rather he had stayed. He, Neymar and Edinson Cavani have formed Europe’s most lethal strikeforce this season, and Mbappe could be the scourge of Monaco on Sunday, so soon after being their teenage hero.
Monaco are clinging to the hope of getting back into the title race, and the goals of Radamel Falcao have ensured they sit second. The Colombian’s 13 league strikes in 10 games put him second, behind Cavani, in the top-flight goal stakes, and he will be the man to whom Monaco look for inspiration on Sunday. Jardim is looking for performances all over the pitch though, and said, according to Monaco’s website: “We’ll need to stay compact, to leave little space. Then it’s up to us to play our football when we have the ball.”