Ligue 1: The battle of the nouveau-riche

France (450x332)Last weekend, the two most affluent clubs outside the English Premier met-up in a game that may have been somewhat overlooked by many in Britain. It was late on Sunday evening, arguably the “graveyard slot” for televised football.

However, Paris St.Germain v Monaco was a game that may go a long way to deciding this season’s French championship. Champions v Pretenders. New money meets old (hardly!). Qatar v Russia. Cavani v Falcao. The game ended 1-1, perhaps a little reminder to PSG that they won’t have it all their own way this season in retaining their Ligue 1 title.

PSG took the lead early on with a fine volley from Ibrahimovic and Falcao scrambled home an equaliser later in the first half. After that, it looked a little like neither team wanted to risk much in order to avoid defeat.

Although Monaco will probably be happier with the result, PSG looked the better team and by the end of the game, Monaco’s older players – including former Mourinho acolyte Ricardo Carvalho –  were dragging their feet. For PSG, they still haven’t found the best way to get both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani – who looks remarkably like deceased rock singer Alex Harvey’s younger brother – clicking at the same time The duo are like an old Black Forest weather house clock, one comes out, the other goes in. They have scored only five Ligue 1 goals between them this season, but if they hit top form together, the result could be devastating for PSG’s unfortunate opponents. By contrast, Rademal Falcao and his striking partner, Emmanuel Riviere, have 13 goals as a unit.

This midweek, PSG won 1-0 at Valenciennes – a late goal from Cavani – while Monaco returned to the top of the table with a 3-0 success against Bastia (two more for Falcao and one for Riviere).

Monaco remain just ahead of PSG this season, with both teams unbeaten after seven games. Surprised? You shouldn’t be, for PSG and Monaco’s playing budgets dwarf the rest of Ligue 1 – the sort of funds that can buy three of the world’s top strikers between them. It is going to be a fascinating contest this season to see who comes out on top. The pair meet again on Friday February 7 in Monaco.

Meanwhile, this weekend, PSG host Toulouse and Monaco travel to Reims.

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