- Associated Press - Thursday, March 13, 2014

PARIS (AP) - With 10 league games remaining, there is little to stop Paris Saint-Germain from successfully defending its French title.

PSG, which hosts fourth-place Saint-Etienne on Sunday, has an eight-point lead over Monaco, which travels to play Lyon on Sunday.

Also, Lille looks to consolidate its grip on third place with a home win against Nantes.

Here are five things to know about this weekend’s games:



Veteran forward Dimitar Berbatov is settling in well at Monaco and is hoping to be even more dangerous once he has fully adapted to his new team.

Berbatov has scored twice since joining from Fulham at the end of the January transfer window, and last weekend he netted after only six minutes in his first league start and also earned a penalty that led to the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Sochaux.

“It was a great game for me and it started very well because I scored early in the game,” the 33-year-old Berbatov said. “I’m trying to work hard in training, different combinations, different styles of play. I hope it was the first step to become even better playing with the team.”



Although PSG is in good form and has lost only once in the past 18 matches, Saint-Etienne will be quietly confident of producing an upset.

Saint-Etienne was PSG’s bogey side during the last campaign, winning their league game at Parc des Princes and knocking PSG out of the League Cup quarterfinals.

In their league encounter earlier this season, Saint-Etienne looked set for a win until PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi’s last-minute goal secured a 2-2 draw for the visitors.

“We’ve got nothing to lose. We really want to test ourselves against some of the best 10 players in the world,” Saint-Etienne midfielder Loic Perrin said. “We’ve always managed to cause them problems. I hope we can do it again.”



PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi is expecting coach Laurent Blanc to sign a new long-term contract.

Blanc joined in the offseason on a two-year deal, with the second season optional, but Al-Khelaifi hopes Blanc will soon commit to a longer deal soon.

“Yes, he’s going to stay with us,” Al-Khelaifi said on French television Wednesday night after PSG’s 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League. “He will sign a new contract.”

Blanc, however, did not sound so sure, and would only say “I hope these comments prove to be true.”



Marseille has slipped to sixth place after two straight losses and is only one point above Reims ahead of their game on Friday.

While Marseille has failed to score in its past two games, Reims has scored seven in three games.

“They’re full of confidence,” Marseille coach Jose Anigo said. “It’s difficult to get any points against them at them. They like to push forward and play without fear.”

Anigo will welcome back Andre-Pierre Gignac, who has scored 18 goals. He was suspended for last weekend’s 1-0 home loss to Nice.



Nice striker Dario Cvitanich needs to find his scoring touch again for Saturday’s home match against Corsican side Bastia.

The 29-year-old Cvitanich has gone eight games without a goal since last finding the net with a last-minute winner against Ajaccio, another Corsican team, on Jan. 18.

Cvitanich, a crowd favorite, earned a pay increase after getting an impressive 19 goals in 29 league games last season, but he has managed only eight in 26 games so far this season.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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