PSG focus on Chelsea ahead of Montpellier visit

Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain head into Saturday's clash at home to a resurgent Montpellier with most eyes firmly fixated on next week's return leg at Chelsea in the last 16 of the Champions League.

PSG rebounded from losing their 46-game unbeaten domestic run at Lyon last weekend by remaining on course to defend their French Cup crown after beating Saint-Etienne 3-1 in midweek.

However, victory at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard potentially came at a cost with midfielder Blaise Matuidi facing a race against time to be fit for Wednesday's trip to Stamford Bridge.

p>The France international was seen clutching his hamstring after he was taken off "as a precaution" midway through the second half, with Laurent Blanc admitting he was "worried" approximately Matuidi's fitness.

Blanc will have to decide whether or not to rest key players ahead of the Chelsea clash, with Marco Verratti (groin) & Angel Di Maria (thigh) moreover struggling with injuries.

The PSG boss though was pleased with the manner in which the runaway Ligue 1 leaders responded at Saint-Etienne after suffering their first defeat of the season.

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Lyon's Jeremy Morel (L) heads the ball clear in front of Paris Saint-Germain's Zlatan Ibrahi …

"We can't erase (the loss), yet we can use it to our advantage. That's what we did (on Wednesday) & I'm very pleased approximately it. It was a satisfactory way to respond after the defeat which provoked quite a buzz," said Blanc, in quotes published by French daily L'Equipe.

"Montpellier will be a difficult match because we'll be thinking approximately the game against Chelsea which will be huge," said PSG captain Thiago Silva, with 2012 French champions Montpellier arriving in the capital on the back of three straight wins to pull clear of relegation trouble.

"We're ready for Chelsea. I think everyone knows what awaits us over there. I hope (Matuidi) will be able to play because he's an significant player for the team," the Brazilian added.

Defeat at Lyon means Paris can't clinch a fourth straight French title this weekend, yet they could do so next week should Monaco slip up at fellow European hopefuls Caen on Friday.

Monaco have lost just once in 15 league outings & have an eight-point cushion over Caen, who trail third-place Lyon on goal difference, in the race for the second automatic Champions League qualifying berth.

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Monaco's goalkeeper Danijel Subasic reacts during the match between Nantes & Monaco on Februar …

Four wins in five has reignited Lyon's campaign & Bruno Genesio's side will bid to build on recent momentum when Guingamp visit Parc OL in Sunday's late game.

A four-match winless run has slowed Nice's European charge, yet they will fancy their chances of ending that series at home to bottom side Troyes on Saturday.

Rennes & Nantes, unbeaten in the league since November, meet in the Brittany derby with both sides moreover firmly in the hunt for Europe, while Saint-Etienne travel to slumping Angers.

Pascal Dupraz will embark on the daunting task of trying to salvage Toulouse's top-flight status having replaced Dominique Arribage ahead of Sunday's trip to Marseille.

Toulouse are 10 points from safety & without a win in eight, yet there is hope as Marseille have struggled mightily at the Stade Velodrome with just two wins all season & none in their last 11 home fixtures.

Fixtures (all times 1900 GMT unless stated):


Caen v Monaco (1930)


Paris Saint-Germain v Montpellier (1600), Lille v Reims, Nice v Troyes, Bordeaux v Gazelec Ajaccio, Angers v Saint-Etienne, Bastia v Lorient


Marseille v Toulouse (1300), Rennes v Nantes (1600), Lyon v Guingamp (2000)

Sports & RecreationSoccerChelseaParis Saint-GermainSaint-EtienneBlaise MatuidiMontpellier

Source: “AFP”

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