AS Monaco, French Ligue 1, Leagues, Paris Saint-Germain, Story

Monaco are preparing for the return of their former favourite Kylian Mbappe as Paris St Germain attempt to take another step towards the Ligue 1 title.
The hosts of Sunday evening’s top-of-the-table clash are wounded after their Champions League campaign proved such a disappointment.
A European season that promised so much will see Monaco finish bottom of a group in which their rivals were Besiktas, Porto and Leipzig.
That grim performance provides a striking contrast to Paris St Germain who have set a tournament group-stage scoring record already in scorching through to the second round, after netting 24 goals in just five games so far.
The capital side’s forward line of Mbappe, Neymar and Edinson Cavani could further sting Monaco, whose defence of their league championship might be as good as over should they suffer a Stade Louis II defeat.
Unbeaten PSG already lead the table by six points from second-placed Monaco.
Eighteen-year-old striker Mbappe played a key role for Monaco in last season’s success before joining PSG on loan in the summer, ahead of a planned permanent deal.
“It’s a great thing for Kylian to return to Monaco,” said PSG head coach Unai Emery.
“He is very happy with what he achieved there. It will be a special match for him, but he will give 100 per cent for Paris St Germain.”
Wherever Monaco look, they will recognise danger in the opposition. But the Parisian visitors to the principality are taking nothing for granted.
“Monaco didn’t have a good run in the Champions League this year but, in the league, they have the same number of points they had at the same stage last season,” Emery added, quoted on PSG’s website.
“They play out of their skins when they take on Paris, and we have a lot of respect for them.”
Monaco won the corresponding fixture 3-1 last season, and a dossier that resembled a list of reasons to be optimistic was published on the club’s website ahead of this weekend’s game.
It pointed to how Monaco have lost only one of their last 15 league matches against PSG, and how the one slip-up in that sequence, a 3-0 defeat in August 2015, was the last time the Monegasques failed to score at home in the championship.
Emery said it was a “Champions League-level match”, but the last thing Monaco want is a repeat of their performances in that competition.
Monaco head coach Leonardo Jardim said: “We missed our target of advancing in the Champions League. Now we have to move on to other things and think about current targets: the league and the two cups.
“We’re going to play against a very strong team. They took no risks by signing very big players: two of the best players in the FIFA XI (Dani Alves and Neymar) and the Golden Boy.”
Mbappe collected the latter accolade in October, named Europe’s best young player by Italian newspaper Tuttosport.
Jardim, quoted on Monaco’s website, said his team must “play with ambition” and the right attitude.

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