Domestic football returns to France after the national team finished 2014 with only one defeat in 14 games.
On Friday night Paris Saint-Germain travel to Metz, and former Chelsea winger and ex-France international Florent Malouda will be trying to stop Laurent Blanc’s side from going top of Ligue 1.
After their 2-0 win over Marseille at the Parc des Princes, PSG moved within one point of Olympique de Marseille and playing 48 hours before Marcelo Bielsa’s side will give them the opportunity to sit on top of the table for the first time this season.
Since he joined Metz after the close of the transfer window, the performances of Malouda have been inspired, and he has given Albert Cartier’s side a much needed level of experience.
In his eight appearances this season, Malouda has added two assists, with one of them coming during the 3-2 win over Caen, the game where the ex-Chelsea man scored his only goal of the season.
Cartier has used Malouda in a variety of positions, either out on the left or through the middle. He is set to play centrally at home on Friday night, with the more mobile Yeni N’Gbakoto and Kevin Lejeune on the wings.
The other hope for FC Metz is the strike rate of West Ham United loanee Modibo Maiga. The striker is in form after his double against Caen, and he has a history of scoring against PSG in the past.
In 19 games, Maiga has scored three times against the Parisians, all three coming for FC Sochaux. The striker has only lost seven of those 19 matches, so the player will be confident that he can cause Blanc’s side trouble on Friday night.
PSG are undoubtedly favourites, with the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore set to start, and Metz will need to be at their best if they want to take anything from the match.
FC Metz: Carrasso – Métanire, Milan, Marchal, Palomino – N’Gbakoto, N’Daw, Kashi, Lejeune – Malouda – Maiga
PSG: Sirigu – Van der Wiel, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Maxwell – Thiago Motta, Cabaye, Rabiot – Pastore, Lavezzi, Ibrahimovic