The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
5 things to know about the French league ahead this weekend's matches
PARIS - Five things to know about the eighth round of the French league, which features leader Monaco away to Reims and second-place Paris Saint-Germain at home to Toulouse as the only two remaining unbeaten teams continue their tussle at the top:
100 Per cent: Every successful team needs a good strike partnership, but when does that become over-reliance? Monaco remains top of the league after a convincing 3-0 win against Bastia on Wednesday, two points ahead of cash-rich rival Paris Saint-Germain. Radamel Falcao and Emmanuel Riviere have all 13 of Monaco's goals this season. Blending Riviere's explosive pace with Falcao's power and cunning makes for a potent mix. By comparison, PSG's much vaunted duo of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani have only five goals between them. But at least PSG share the goals around and if either Falcao or Riviere gets injured, the question would be if Monaco can cope.
HELY GOES: Seven games, no wins, worst defence, bottom of the league: Sochaux is in deep trouble. Adding to the woes, the club needs to find a new coach. Eric Hely offered his resignation after Wednesday's 5-1 loss away to newly promoted Guingamp and Sochaux's president Laurent Pernet accepted it on Thursday, adding that Hely will stay with the club in a different role. Center half Mathieu Peybernes urged his teammates to react. "There's a feeling of shame among the players," he said. "I hope this makes us think." Sochaux hosts 19th-place Valenciennes on Saturday.
IBRA STAYS: Paris Saint-Germain fans will be relieved that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has signed a one-year extension to his contract, tying him to the club until 2016. After scoring 30 league goals last season, and many more for Sweden, the 31-year-old was much in demand after the most prolific season of his career. "It's true that my agent spoke to several clubs. But after a meeting with the PSG president, I decided to stay here," Ibrahimovic said. "We reached an agreement. I'm happy, so is the club. I hope that we succeed together and make history."
ALIADIERE RETURNS: Lorient is struggling for goals, scoring six times in seven games. Things could be looking up, though, because striker Jeremie Aliadiere could play in Saturday's home game against Marseille. Aliadiere scored 15 times in 31 games last season and scored in his only appearance before tearing a thigh muscle. "He's expected to be in the squad," coach Christian Gourcuff said.
MARSEILLE TURNOVER: Although Marseille sits in third place, one point behind bitter rival PSG, coach Elie Baup has faced criticism for not rotating his squad enough. Marseille's title bid fizzled out last season because the squad was not big enough, and tiredness and injuries crept in. Top-scorer Andre-Pierre Gignac has already picked up an injury this term, but Baup maintains players should not be overly rested. "(Dimitri) Payet, (Mathieu) Valbuena, Andre Ayew and Gignac are key players who are used to playing game after game," Baup told RMC radio. "There are players like that in every big club. When they're in form you shouldn't deprive yourself of them. When they go through a bad patch we'll rest them."
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