Good evening! Welcome to Sports Mole
for live coverage of tonight's Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain
at the Parc des Princes.
First up, we have some breaking team news for you...
BASTIA: Landreau, Marchal, Harek, Cioni, Sable, Palmieri, Yatabare, Rothen, Beauvue, Thauvin, Ilan
PSG: Sirigu, Maxwell, Armand, Van der Wiel, Alex, Chantome, Verratti, Pastore, Lucas, Menez, Gameiro
Sacrebleu! No Zlatan! He's on the bench tonight, as Kevin Gameiro is charged with leading the line for Les Parisiens. Blaise Matuidi and Ezequiel Lavezzi are also on the bench.
Former West Ham United loanee Ilan, who switched Corsican allegiances from Ajaccio in the summer, starts as the lone striker for I Turchini. Jerome Rothen is captain on his return to the Parc des Princes, where he played between 2004 and 2010.
As stated above, PSG have not lost since the start of December. Title form indeed. They have a fresh face among their ranks in Lucas Moura, who has hit the ground running in Ligue 1. That's not to mention the addition of a certain Mr. Beckham.
Les Parisiens ran out resounding 4-0 winners
when these two sides met at the Stade Armand Cesari in September.
Bear in mind that Bastia have never beaten PSG at the Parc des Princes, and you begin to get a scope of the task that awaits Frederic Hantz
's men tonight.
Bastia have conceded 26 goals away from home this season - the most of any team in Ligue 1. PSG have scored 19 at home, with the concession of just six. All the stats point to a comfortable home victory, so with that in mind...
My prediction - Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 Bastia.
I would have gone for five or six had Ibrahimovic been starting, but I still feel that PSG will easily dispose of a porous Bastia outfit tonight.
Right, the players have made their way onto the pitch for the pre-match handshake sponsored by FIFA, so we're about to get underway.
Bastia get the game underway...
Van der Wiel and Lucas combine down the right, but the Brazilian's cross evades everyone and Landreau gathers it comfortably.
Lucas picks up the ball and glides past a few players before laying it off for Pastore. An early sign that he's right up for this game. What a start he's made to life with PSG.
Cioni concedes a corner. I'd be surprised if Bastia have strung two passes together.
SHOT! The corner is taken short, and Maxwell has the opportunity to fire at goal, but drags his right-footed effort across the box and no-one is on hand to poke home. It's all PSG so far, looks like it'll be a long night for the visitors.
Bastia are under siege here. Once again Moura makes a surging run at goal, but his cut back finds no-one and the ball is cleared. Surely it's only a matter of time before PSG score. It's been a scintillating start from them.
PSG have another free kick as Pastore is chopped down by Armand. Chance for Maxwell to deliver into the box.
The Brazilian drifts the ball to the back post where Pastore fires a right-footed volley wide. It was an extremely tight angle and would've had to have been some effort to beat the experienced Landreau from there.
Menez weaves his way into the box from the left but his shot is blocked. PSG are still dominating possession.
Palmieri robs Van der Wiel on PSG's byline and nearly creates an opening, but the Bastia forward men are vastly outnumbered in the penalty area.
PSG win a free kick just outside the box. The Brazilian duo of Maxwell and Lucas are plotting...
It's Lucas who strikes it, but he slips as he's about to make contact. It was still going on target, but Gameiro accidentally blocked it with his arm. Landreau picked up the pieces.
Nearly a chance for Ilan! Palmieri stormed down the left and delivered a dangerous ball, but Alex was sliding in to PSG's rescue.
Bastia once again spring PSG's offside trap and Palmieri attacks down the left, but this time he blazes high and wide. Bastia seem to have settled defensively now and are beginning to implement their counterattacking game.
CHANCE! That's the first gilt-edged opportunity of the evening, and it fell to Lucas. It was a tidy layoff by Gameiro, and the Brazilian found himself inside the area unchallenged. However, he sliced his left-footed shot off target. He'll be disappointed with that one.
It's been a very bright opening 20 minutes, with plenty for both coaches to ponder. PSG have more or less dominated the game so far, but there have been warning signs from Bastia.
Lucas looks like he wants to do it all himself tonight. He's slipped a few times though, so maybe his footwear isn't the best. Bastia are seeing more of the ball in PSG's final third now.
OFF THE POST! Gameiro has missed a sitter! IT was Menez who drove through Bastia's backline before striking across Landreau. The veteran keeper was beaten, but the shot was rolling off target. Gameiro slid in at the back post and should have put the hosts in front, but the upright came to Bastia's rescue!
Menez bursts into the area once more but he tries too much in the end. He's looked very good so far. Still we're level, but how I'm not quite sure. PSG have had two golden opportunities to score.
Bastia are parking the bus when PSG have possession of the ball in the final third, and who can blame them? Les Parisiens are having to work hard in order to find space between the midfield and defence.
Bastia nearly carve out another opportunity, but once again the final ball is lacking. PSG then spring on the counter, but Gameiro fires wide from Pastore's cross. PSG's intensity has died since the opening 20 minutes of this game, probably because Bastia have upped their game.
A poor touch from Pastore concedes possession as PSG probe in Bastia's half. He's looked well off the pace tonight.
will no doubt be pleased if his side get into half time on level pegging, but he is inclined to be displeased by his team's final ball. They have wasted a few promising situations so far.
Thauvin shimmies past two challenges inside the area, but Alex gets his foot to the ball and it goes behind. He played it against Thauvin and the referee awards a goal kick, much to the winger's dismay. Again, a promising situation, but there was little he could do with that one.
Maxwell and Menez link up nicely down the left, allowing Gameiro to set up Pastore, who tries to bend the ball into the far corner, but his weak shot is easily blocked. The connection was a poor one.
HALF TIME: Paris Saint-Germain 0-0 Bastia
An interesting first half. It's been quite entertaining, with plenty of goal-mouth action. However, no actual goals. Bastia will be the happier side, no doubt. But there's 45 minutes left to play, and you'd still fancy PSG to score. Frederic Hantz's men have shown that a goal is not beyond their capabilities, either.
PSG were dominant in the opening 20 minutes. Lucas and Menez saw a lot of the ball and it looked like Bastia were in for a tiresome night. Lucas looks like he is trying to do too much though, and he seemed to be getting a bit frustrated towards the end of the half. Javier Pastore has been poor, while Kevin Gameiro should have burst the net with his glorious opportunity in the 24th minute.
Bastia are yet to create an actual chance, although they have been close on a few occasions. The best being Palmieri's cross for Ilan, but Alex was alert to the danger and slid in at the front post to prevent his fellow Brazilian from rifling into the net.
Expect the introduction of Zlatan Ibrahimovic if PSG have not score by the hour mark (if not sooner). Carlo Ancelotti
may also utilise Ezequiel Lavezzi and Blaise Matuidi. Oh to have such options on the bench...
PSG ended the half with 63% possession, and 13 shots on goal. The vital statistic is that none of those efforts were on target. Landreau remains untroubled.
If the hosts get a goal within 10 minutes of the break, I still believe that my 4-0 prediction is on. We've all seen teams capitulate after providing stubborn resistance, and Bastia have the leakiest defence in Ligue 1.
Their "stubborn resistance" was also aided by PSG's wastefulness, it has to be said. But they did settle into the game after 20 minutes of being under siege, and the hosts began to find time and space a precious commodity.
Anyway, enough of my incessant rambling... the players are emerging from the tunnel.
PSG get us back underway at the Parc des Princes...
Menez and Maxwell rekindle their partnership down the left, but the Brazilian full-back's cross is far too deep.
Pastore has shown a few decent touches early in this second half. Maybe some words of encouragement from Ancelotti, or possibly the hairdryer treatment? Whatever it is, it seems to have worked.
CLOSE! Maxwell rides a challenge down the left before firing the ball into the near post, and Marchal nearly turned the ball past Landreau. Corner for PSG.
Fantastic footwork from Yatabare, but his pass afterwards rendered it useless. Bastia are very much outnumbered in attack, as you would expect. Ilan has hardly had a kick all night.
SAVE! Brilliant stop from Landreau! Chantome played the ball out wide for Van der Wiel to cross, and Gameiro improvised by turning the ball goalwards with a back-heeled flick, but Landreau got down well to deny him at the near post.
GOAL! Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 Bastia (Menez)
The goal has finally arrived! Although it comes with a slice of luck. Menez was allowed time outside the area, and he faked a shot with his right foot before swinging with his left. The ball took a deflection before squirming underneath an unsighted Landreau. PSG lead!
SAVE! Landreau denies Gameiro once more, this time with his feet as the striker hit Marco Verratti's lofted through ball on the turn.
BASTIA SUBSTITUTION: Jacques Faty replaces Julien Sable.
BASTIA SUBSTITUTION: Anthony Modeste comes on for Claudio Beauvue.
PSG SUBSTITUTION: Here comes Zlatan Ibrahimovic to replace Kevin Gameiro, who has been unlucky not to score tonight... but definitely should have.
CHANCE! Ibrahimovic is straight into the action, setting up Menez inside the area. However, the French winger couldn't quite direct his back-heeled flick goalbound.
PENALTY! Lucas is body checked by Palmieri on the edge of the area and PSG have a penalty. The incident looked to have happened just outside the box. The referee has got that one wrong.
GOAL! Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 (Ibrahimovic)
The Swede makes no mistake from the spot, rifling into the bottom left corner. Game well and truly over.
SAVE! Menez weaves his magic once again, but he is stumbling as he bears down on Landreau. He still tries to score though, but the French international gets a hand to it.
With 15 minutes left, I'm sure everyone is wondering if my 4-0 prediction will come off.
PSG SUBSTITUTION: Blaise Matuidi replaces Javier Pastore, while Lucas Moura makes way for Ezequiel Lavezzi.
BOOKING! Modeste and Sirigu are squaring up to each other after the Bastia man leaves his boot in as the Italian attempted to clear his lines. Modeste joins his teammate Yatabare in the referee's notebook.
BOOKING! Another Bastia player sees yellow, and this time it's Khazri. He was too vigorous in trying to wrestle the ball off Verratti in an attempt to take a quick free kick.
GOAL! Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Bastia (Khazri)
Oh. My. Word. What a strike from Khazri! He spotted Sirigu off his line, expecting a cross, and struck a wickedly-dipping free kick into the net from all of 35 to 40 yards. Spectacular, to say the least!
Panic stations for PSG! Khazri dances into the area and around Sirigu, but enough men get back to guard the empty net! Wow, Carlo Ancelotti's boys have taken their eye off the ball here and so nearly paid the price!
CHANCE! It's all Bastia now! Thauvin somehow gets himself out of trouble as he was being crowded out on the PSG byline, and he stabs the ball to the back post for Modeste... whose header is woefully off target. That was a real chance to level the scores here.
GOAL! Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 Bastia (Lavezzi)
And now they've been punished! Clement Chantome got to the byline and drove the ball into the area. It evaded Ibrahimovic, but Landreau was only able to palm it into the path of Lavezzi, who tapped into an empty net. Game definitely over now!
We're one minute into the three added on.
PSG are just retaining possession now.
Modeste goes down inside the area claiming for a penalty, but the referee isn't interested.
FULL TIME: Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 Bastia
It's a deserved victory for PSG, but there were a few nervy moments towards the end as they took their eye off the ball. Must just go back to that Wahbi Khazri goal... it was simply stunning. He gets the moral victory, but otherwise it's PSG who go six points clear at the top of Ligue 1.
That's all from me for tonight. Stick around in the next 30 minutes for some analysis. But until next time, farewell!