Preview: AS Monaco vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Paris Saint-Germain's Italian midfielder Thiago Motta is congratulated by Paris Saint-Germain's French midfielder Blaise Matuidi after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) vs Nantes (FCNA), on January 19, 2014
© Getty Images
Sports Mole previews Sunday's potentially decisive clash between AS Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1.

Paris Saint-Germain go into their clash with AS Monaco on Sunday knowing that an away win could put both a physical and psychological dent into Claudio Ranieri's and his side's title ambitions.

The clash of Ligue 1's two big-spending clubs could prove pivotal in the outcome of the championship this season, with PSG currently leading second-placed Monaco by five points.

The table-topping visitors have found it a little tougher going in recent months, but have ridden out a number of surprising results to amass an impressive lead over Monaco.

PSG's Coupe de la Ligue victory in the week could prove the spark that sees them return to impressive form, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic turning in a standout performance against Nantes to guide the Parisians into the final.

Monaco won't be too disheartened though, as they know that Laurent Blanc's men haven't been infallible this campaign, following poor results against Guingamp and HSC Montpellier last month.

The hosts on Sunday will also be buoyed by the news that influential striker Edinson Cavani is likely to be missing for PSG following a thigh injury.

However, Monaco also have a few problems of their own, which include injuries to key man Radamel Falcao and a worrying dip in their impressive form, which saw them draw 2-2 with Lorient in their last Ligue 1 fixture.

The second-placed side have, however, been the more impressive of the two sides in the form table, with Monaco notching up victories in all three of their previous games before their away draw last weekend.

The home side's league form is a little less impressive after two draws and a loss in their last six Ligue 1 fixtures, while PSG have managed to put together four wins and two draws in their pursuit of the domestic championship crown.

Both sides also have the opportunity to add some vitality into their lineups midway through the season following the recent additions of Dimitar Berbatov and Yohan Cabaye, who joined Monaco and PSG respectively in the January transfer window.

Recent form

AS Monaco: WLDWWD

Paris Saint-Germain: WDWWDW

Possible starting lineups

AS Monaco: Subasic; Fabinho, Kurzawa, Abidal, Raggi; Moutinho, Rodriquez, Obaddi, Kondogbia; Berbatov, Riviere

Paris Saint-Germain: Sirigu; Silva, Alex, Maxwell, Van der Wiel; Motta, Matuidi, Pastore, Cabaye, Lucas; Ibrahimovic

Sports Mole says: 1-2

Monaco L1 football club's newly-recruited Bulgarian forward Dimitar Berbatov poses with his new jersey during a press conference on February 4, 2014
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CParis Saint-GermainPSG383062102198396
2Lyon381981167432465
3AS MonacoMonaco38171475750765
4Nice381891158411763
5Lille381515839271260
6Saint-EtienneSt Etienne38177144237558
7Caen38166163952-1354
8Rennes381313125254-252
9Angers381311144038250
10Bastia38148163642-650
11Bordeaux381214125057-750
12Montpellier HSCMontpellier38147174947249
13Marseille381018104842648
14NantesNantes381212143344-1148
15Lorient381113144758-1146
16GuingampGuingamp381111164756-944
17Toulouse38913164555-1040
RReims38109194457-1339
RGazelec AjaccioGFC Ajaccio38813173758-2137
RTroyes3839262883-5518