Ligue 1 Acclaimed Monaco keep cool ahead of Marseille clash

Monaco have terrorised opposing defences with a European-high 39 league goals, generating genuine belief they can topple reigning champions PSG to land a first top-flight title since 2000.

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Monaco's Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva (R) says his team are good but not at the same level as Real Madrid or Barcelona play

Monaco's Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva (R) says his team are good but not at the same level as Real Madrid or Barcelona

(AFP)
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Monaco's Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva (R) says his team are good but not at the same level as Real Madrid or Barcelona play

Monaco's Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva (R) says his team are good but not at the same level as Real Madrid or Barcelona

(AFP)

Monaco midfielder Bernardo Silva brushed off comparisons between the Ligue 1 title contenders and Europe's heavyweights ahead of Saturday's visit of traditional French giants Marseille.

Leonardo Jardim's side qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League in midweek as winners of Group E following a 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur and find themselves locked in a three-way battle with Nice and Paris Saint-Germain in France.

Monaco have terrorised opposing defences with a European-high 39 league goals, generating genuine belief they can topple reigning champions PSG to land a first top-flight title since 2000.

"We know we're good but we must keep on working. There are still things to improve. We play very attacking football, we score lots of goals but we can never be perfect," said Portuguese international Silva.

"To be compared with Real Madrid or Barcelona is great but we're not at the same level. We can't get carried away.

"We have a bit more experience this year, but compared to the giants of Europe, we still have a long way to go."

Monaco have collected 16 of a possible 18 points at the Stade Louis II and could again provisionally replace leaders Nice at the top with victory over Marseille, who secured their first win under new coach Rudi Garcia last weekend.

Unai Emery's PSG seized control of their Champions League destiny with a 2-2 draw at Arsenal on Wednesday, leaving them as heavy favourites to wrap up first place in Group A.

"We almost played the perfect match," midfielder Blaise Matuidi told Canal+. "These matches allow us to gauge ourselves and we showed that Paris are a great team."

Nice dumped out of Europe

Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani during the UEFA Champions League group A match against Arsenal, which saw PSG seize control of their Champions League destiny with a 2-2 draw play

Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani during the UEFA Champions League group A match against Arsenal, which saw PSG seize control of their Champions League destiny with a 2-2 draw

(AFP)

The capital club have won five of their last six matches but face a tough assignment on Sunday with a trip to resurgent Lyon, who snapped PSG's long unbeaten run in the corresponding fixture at Parc OL last season.

Alexandre Lacazette's second-half winner against Dinamo Zagreb kept alive Lyon's hopes of prolonging their Champions League adventure and Bruno Genesio's men are also chasing a fourth league victory on the trot.

"We're still on course and it's remarkable because few people thought we'd still be going in this competition," said Genesio, in the wake of Tuesday's 1-0 victory in Croatia.

Nice crashed out of the Europa League on Thursday following a 2-0 defeat at Schalke, their poor form on the continent starkly contrasting with their domestic fortunes.

Lucien Favre will be without Mario Balotelli for Sunday's game at home to Bastia due to a calf problem, while Nice captain Paul Baysse isn't expected to return before January.

Nice lead Monaco and PSG by three points as Bastia head to the Allianz Riviera winless in six matches and above the relegation zone only on goal difference.

Lyon's head coach Bruno Genesio looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League Group H match against GNK Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia, which they won 1-0 play

Lyon's head coach Bruno Genesio looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League Group H match against GNK Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia, which they won 1-0

(AFP)

Saint-Etienne punched their ticket to the last 32 of the Europa League courtesy of a 0-0 draw against Mainz, but Les Verts have won just once in six league outings ahead of their visit to Angers.

Toulouse will try to arrest their slide at Rennes on Friday, while Lille begin life under interim boss Patrick Collot against fellow strugglers Nantes following the departure of Frederic Antonetti.

Guingamp, coached by former PSG manager Antoine Kombouare, put their five-match unbeaten run on the line away to Caen, with Bordeaux also looking to make it six games without defeat at home to Dijon.

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Friday

Rennes v Toulouse (1945)

Saturday

Monaco v Marseille (1610), Bordeaux v Dijon, Caen v Guingamp, Metz v Lorient, Montpellier v Nancy, Nantes v Lille (all 1900)

Sunday

Angers v Saint-Etienne (1400), Nice v Bastia (1600), Lyon v Paris Saint-Germain (1945)

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