Past, present Ligue 1 forces meet in Paris

Past, present Ligue 1 forces meet in Paris

PARIS - Agence France-Presse
Past, present Ligue 1 forces meet in Paris

Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic will return to the PSG squad after being rested in a cup game in midweek.

A resurgent Saint-Etienne travels to leader Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1’s marquee fixture this weekend, a meeting between past and present forces in French football.

Despite its last title coming over 30 years ago, 10-time French champion Saint-Etienne remains one of the country’s most decorated clubs, while nouveau riche PSG have aspirations of becoming a superpower for years to come.

The two sides, who coincidentally will also meet in the quarterfinals of the French League Cup, enter the encounter on Nov. 3 in good form with PSG yet to taste defeat on the domestic front this season and Saint-Etienne on a seven-match unbeaten run of their own in all competitions.

Midfielder Fabien Lemoine, who played a prominent part in Les Verts’ League Cup win over Sochaux in midweek, said the onus is on Carlo Ancelotti’s star-studded PSG.

“Paris are heavily favoured (to win). A draw, that would be a small achievement. So, if we win, it will be a real feat. We know that it is going to be difficult but, I repeat, we have nothing to lose,” Lemoine told French regional daily Le Progres. Saint-Etienne could be without leading scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the Gabonese striker sustained a knock to his thigh in last weekend’s win over Rennes, but a refreshed Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to return for the Parisians after being rested against Marseille in midweek.

Elie Baup’s side, meanwhile, is looking to right the ship when it visits Ajaccio on Nov. 4 as two defeats in its last three league outings have seen Marseille drop from the top of the standings to third.

Lyon, who was ousted from the League Cup by Nice on Oct. 31, will be aiming to bounce back against newly-promoted Bastia, while defending champions Montpellier is seeking to string together consecutive wins for the first time this season at lowly Troyes on Nov. 3.

Second-place Toulouse - unbeaten in five Ligue 1 matches since a 2-0 reverse at PSG - travels to Bordeaux on Nov. 4, while Nice welcomes bottom club Nancy on Nov. 3.