Saturday night fever for PSG
Paris Saint-Germain go to the Stade Gaston-Gérard in a rare Saturday evening outing to face Dijon FCO as they look to profit from the fact their title rivals face each other earlier in the day.
Dijon FCO - Paris Saint-Germain
>> Live scoring and statistics from 20:00 CET Saturday
Unai Emery's side finished last weekend three points adrift of both AS Monaco and OGC Nice in the title race after being held to a 1-1 draw by the principality club at the Parc des Princes. That was a frustrating outcome for Paris given they had only gone in front through Edinson Cavani's penalty in the 81st minute.
However, this time the top-of-the-table showdown sees Monaco face Nice and so Paris have a chance to make up some ground as they look to continue their unbeaten start to 2017. In fact PSG have gone eight games unbeaten in all competitions, winning seven, since a 2-1 defeat at EA Guingamp in mid-December.
On Wednesday they marched into the last 16 of the Coupe de France with a thumping 4-0 win at Stade Rennais FC as Julian Draxler scored twice and both Lucas and Hatem Ben Arfa also found the target.
"In 2017, we have taken our game to the next level. We've been stronger in terms of our team spirit and our attacking play. We can achieve some really great things, I'm convinced," said Ben Arfa after the game in Rennes, before heaping praise on Draxler.
"He breathes football and it's a real joy to play alongside a player like him. He is a huge asset in our squad."
PSG's strength in depth is frightening and it would be a huge surprise if they slipped up in Burgundy in what will be their first Saturday evening 8pm local time kick-off since December 2012.
Capable of competing
Dijon finished last weekend in 13th place, just two points above the relegation zone, and were knocked out of the Coupe de France on Tuesday, conceding in stoppage time to lose 2-1 away to Girondins de Bordeaux.
Nevertheless, their league form has been good in the new year and they are four games unbeaten, with two wins and two draws. Last weekend they came from 2-1 down to win 3-2 at FC Lorient as Pierre Lees-Melou netted the decisive goal in stoppage time and now they will look to gain revenge for a 3-0 defeat away to PSG in September.
So big is this game for Dijon that the club have been advertising special collectors' item half-and-half scarves to mark the occasion. But they have beaten Olympique Lyonnais at home this season and held AS Monaco, so they have shown they can compete with the country's best teams.
Coach Olivier Dall'Oglio welcomed a couple of new recruits from abroad into his squad in the January transfer window, with South Korean midfielder Kwon Chang-hoon arriving from Suwon Samsung Bluewings and the Tunisian defender Oussama Haddadi signing from Club Africain.
Haddadi played against PSG in a friendly last month in Tunisia and he is eager to get to grips with Ligue 1.
"In Tunisia we watch a lot of Ligue 1. Practically every weekend I would watch two or three matches," he told Dijon's official website. "In France there is rhythm, matches are physical and the technical level is good. It is the top level. I have already played against PSG and against Lyon. I know that my career can progress here."
Dijon: Reynet; Chafik, Lang, Varrault, Rüfli; Lees-Melou, Balmont, Abeid, Martin; Diony, Tavares
Paris SG: Areola; Aurier, Thiago Silva, Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Rabiot, Thiago Motta, Matuidi; Lucas, Cavani, Draxler
>> PRE-MATCH STATS/HEAD-TO-HEAD