Ligue 1: PSG can clinch title; Ibrahimovic nears milestone
MONACO (AP) — Having sealed a place in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain can clinch a fourth straight French title this weekend if results go its way.
If Monaco fails to beat Reims at home on Friday and PSG wins at Troyes on Sunday then PSG will seal its sixth French title overall.
PSG has won just one of its past four league games, but they were played around the two legs against Chelsea in the last 16 of the Champions League and coach Laurent Blanc rested key players.
The dropped points made no difference anyway, as PSG leads second-place Monaco by 23 points with only nine games remaining.
If not this weekend, Blanc's side can be crowned as champion the following week in front of its home fans when it takes on Monaco.
Here are some things to know about this weekend's games:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, already PSG's all-time leading scorer with 137 goals, needs just two more to reach 100 in the French league.
He will fancy his chances of doing that on Sunday away to last-place Troyes, which has conceded 59 goals in 29 games, making it the worst defense in the league.
Ibrahimovic ended an uncommon mini-slump when he scored the second goal in a 2-1 win against Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday.
It was the imposing striker's first goal in four games, following some below-par performances against Lyon, Saint-Etienne, and Montpellier.
Ibrahimovic, who has 23 league goals so far, has nine games left to beat his personal best tally of 30, which he set with PSG three years ago.
PSG NEEDS VERRATTI
Although PSG got the better of Chelsea, PSG's midfield looked vulnerable without midfield dynamo Marco Verratti.
The Italian has been struggling with a groin injury and failed to make the starting lineup on Wednesday.
Without Verratti's quick passing and relentless harrying, PSG's central midfield was often under pressure. The aging legs of Thiago Motta mean he no longer covers the same ground as before, and he needs Verratti back by his side.
Marseille either scores late goals or concedes late goals this season and the matches often end in draws.
The fact Marseille—the only French club to win the European Cup, back in 1993—languishes in mid-table is due in large part to its 14 draws.
On Wednesday, it conceded a late goal in a 1-1 draw away to Corsican side Gazelec Ajaccio, the week after scoring in injury time to salvage a 1-1 home draw against struggling Toulouse.
No other club has drawn more games than Marseille, which has one of the best away records and one of the worst at home.
The home record is so bad that Marseille has not won at Stade Velodrome since Sept. 13.
Marseille is away this weekend at Brittany-based side Lorient.
Bordeaux coach Willy Sagnol has been handed a three-game ban by the French Football Federation for his behavior following a 4-3 loss against Nantes in the French Cup last month.
The FFF said on Thursday he was given the ban "because of his behavior" after Sagnol remonstrated vehemently with officials moments after the defeat.
That means the former France defender misses Saturday's game at Toulouse, a home game against Bastia, and the trip to Monaco on April 2.