5 things to know about the French league
Defending champion Paris Saint-Germain is looking to recover from cup disappointment by continuing its relentless march to the league title when it visits Guingamp on Saturday.
PSG leads second-place Monaco by five points and third-place Lille by seven.
Monaco will be without striker Radamel Falcao when it hosts Marseille on Sunday. Lille entertains Rennes on Friday.
Here are five things to know about this weekend’s games:
NO CLEAN SWEEP
PSG has had to relinquish its hopes of winning four trophies this season.
The Paris club leads the French league by five points, is through to the League Cup semifinals and faces Bayer Leverkusen in the last 16 of the Champions League next month. However, it was knocked out of the French Cup in a surprise 2-1 home defeat by Montpellier on Wednesday.
“It’s one less competition, but if we take something positive from it it’s that the month of February will be lighter, even if that’s not what I want,” PSG coach Laurent Blanc said. “Unfortunately it’s one less trophy we’re aiming for.”
PSG visits Guingamp on Saturday. It needed two stoppage-time goals to snatch a 2-0 win at home to the newly-promoted side.
Monaco is facing the reality of chasing title rival Paris Saint-Germain without Radamel Falcao.
Falcao was stretchered off in Wednesday’s French Cup win after being caught by a heavy tackle from Chasselay center half Soner Ertek.
Monaco is still waiting to discover the seriousness of the knee injury but Falcao is likely to be out for several months and could even miss the World Cup.
“It would be a loss for Monaco,” assistant coach Jean Petit said. “Falcao is Falcao. It’s as if (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic got injured at PSG. But there are players who are here to replace him and they will do that to their best.
“I’m not worried about the rest of the season and I hope I will be proved right on the pitch. Although it would have been better with Falcao.”
Falcao scored the opener against Chasselay to take his tally to 11 for the season.
Falcao was sidelined for more than a month earlier this season with injury. Monaco won four successive league matches.
Bordeaux is still reeling after being dumped out of the French Cup by L’ile Rousse, which plays in the equivalent of the fifth division.
Bordeaux lost 4-3 on penalties after being held to a goalless draw.
“It’s an embarrassment to have lost this match, without offending this CFA2 team, which fought proudly,” Bordeaux striker Nicolas Maurice-Bellay said. “We had our chances but we didn’t finish them off, it’s unacceptable.
“The group is in a negative spiral, this defeat will hurt our morale. They are amateurs and we train every day, it’s hard to take. We need three points against Saint-Etienne.”
Bordeaux has lost its past four matches in all competitions and has slipped to ninth in the league standings.
Toulouse also went out of the French Cup to lower league opposition as fourth division club Moulins reached the round of 16 for the first time in its history.
“It’s a huge disappointment, especially in regard to the targets we set ourselves for the French Cup,” Toulouse coach Alain Casanova said. “It was a difficult night but now we will turn our attention back to the league and our next match.”
Toulouse hosts Bastia, which sits a point below it.
Marseille captain Steve Mandanda has lashed out at his teammates and warned them they must improve if they are to avoid a humiliating defeat at title-chasing Monaco on Sunday.
Marseille slipped to its first defeat under interim coach Jose Anigo, beaten 5-4 by Nice in the French Cup.
“It’s catastrophic,” Mandanda said. “It’s unacceptable to perform like this against this young Nice team, I have no words ... When you lose 5-4 at home to Nice’s reserve team, letting in goals like kids, it’s a real embarrassment. Everyone has to take responsibility so we can react against Monaco.
“Straight after this we have a difficult match. We have to realize that if we play like this Sunday, we won’t concede five, it will be a lot more.”