Paris-Ajaccio: A tough battle!

As the club from the capital host Ajaccio at the Parc des Princes in Matchday 35 of Ligue 1 at 21:00 on Saturday 13 May, we focus on their next match. Here we take a look at the match between the Rouge et Bleu and ACA, including memories, rankings, dynamics and players to watch.

a look at the standings 

With 25 wins, three draws and six defeats after 34 league games, Paris Saint-Germain are still top of the Ligue 1 table. The club from the capital have 78 points and a six-point lead over second-placed Lens, as well as an eight-point lead over Olympique de Marseille, who occupy the last place on the podium.

For their part, AC Ajaccio are having a much more difficult time. The Corsicans, who have just been promoted to the top flight this season, are 18th in the standings. This position is synonymous with relegation to Ligue 2 if ACA do not manage to turn things around. With six wins, five draws and 23 defeats, Olivier Pantaloni's players have a total of 23 points. 11 points behind AJ Auxerre, 16th in the standings and the first team not in the relegation places, the future of ACA seems to lie in the second tier. But be careful not to dismiss the club too early, as they will be hoping to make the most of their chances against the Parisians.

a look back at the first game between the two sides

The two teams met on matchday 12 of the league on 21 October. The Rouge et Bleu were fully in control of the match, winning 3-0 at the Stade François Coty. Paris took the lead in the first half-hour thanks to a well-executed counter-attack. Carlos Soler fed Lionel Messi, who passed the ball to Kylian Mbappé: the French striker caught the opposing defence unawares and finished off the move with a right-footed finish (0-1, 24')!

In the second half, the Parisians tried to increase their lead but Corsican goalkeeper Benjamin Leroy denied Juan Bernat and then Renato Sanches. It was not until the final 15 minutes that the Ajaccio defence was broken, when Mbappé released Messi with a superb back-heel. The Argentinian then rounded the Ajaccio keeper before doubling the lead in the empty net (0-2, 79'). A few moments later, the unstoppable Mbappé-Messi duo continued their stunning performance to seal the outcome of the match. The six-time Ballon d'Or winner's pass found its way to the French striker, who then deceived the opposing defender with his touch before firing in an unstoppable shot (0-3, 82'). Paris Saint-Germain thus left the island with three more points.

 the opponents' strengths

Olivier Pantaloni and his team mainly play with two different systems: a 4-3-3 as it was the case last week during the draw against Toulouse (0-0), or a flat 4-4-2. In goal, Benjamin Leroy is one of the ACA coach's most trusted players. However, the French keeper has the lowest rate of clean-sheets in the league (10%). In the centre of defence, the duo of Oumar Gonzalez and Clément Vidal has been able to be the number one duo, although the former struggled in his battle with Mbappé in the first game. Despite his age, Mohamed Youssouf (35) seems to be competing with the Ivorian Ismaël Diallo on the right flank, although the latter could also play on the opposite flank to take the place of Youssouf Koné, who has not been free of injuries this season.

In midfield, Vincent Marchetti and Mathieu Coutadeur are Olivier Pantaloni's two main men. The Corsican coach is used to entrusting the captain's armband to one of them. But in midfield, another experienced player from the championship could make his fifth start: Thomas Mangani. Finally, on the attacking front, the Ajaccio staff had to find alternatives to fill the absence of Youcef Belaïli (6 goals, 3 assists). This is how Kevin Spadanuda (1 assist) and especially Cyrille Bayala (1 goal, 1 assist) have become more important in the ACA team lately. But it is centre-forward Mounaïm El Idrissy (6 goals, 1 assist) who is leading the team in attack. The former Stephanois player Romain Hamouma (2 goals, 2 assists), who has been affected by repeated injuries, also seems to be in a position to compete for a starting place on Saturday evening at the Parc.

a closer look at a PARISIaN: FABIAN RUIZ

Fabian Ruiz scored his second goal for the club from the capital in their 1-3 win over Troyes last weekend and will be one of the players to watch on Saturday evening. In addition to his goal, the Spanish international put in an excellent performance against ESTAC. With 113 touches during the match, he greatly contributed to the Parisian domination in midfield. He also had the second highest number of touches in this match, just behind his teammate Marco Verratti (118).

But the Paris Saint-Germain number 8 was not content to simply run his team's game, as he tried to do more with these touches, as demonstrated by his particularly high pass success rate (97%) or the two key passes he played. His offensive contribution was a great asset for Paris, as he was the source of 25% of his team's shots on target that night.

two CLUBS, one player: FRANÇOIS M'PELÉ

Born in Brazzaville in 1947, François M'Pelé began his career with Standard Brazaville in 1966 before moving to France, and more specifically Corsica, two years later when he signed for AC Ajaccio. He quickly established himself as a key player for the club, scoring a total of 71 goals in 149 games. During his five seasons on the island, the centre-forward won the African Cup of Nations in 1972 with the Congo team. A unique trophy which, to this day, is still the only one to have been won by his country.

In December 1973, François M'Pelé joined the capital and Paris Saint-Germain. The African striker became a key figure in the first decade of the club's history, becoming the first Parisian striker to score in the top flight at the Parc des Princes on 13 August 1974 (2-2) against Metz. During his six seasons at the club, he played in 217 matches and scored 95 goals.

A number that still allows him to remain in the ranking of the club from the capital's top scorers, in eighth place, just ahead of a certain Angel Di Maria. As the 1980s dawned, the Parc des Princes striker set off to play for another French club: RC Lens. The Congolese striker, who had an exceptional eye for goal, is undoubtedly remembered by the oldest Parisian and Ajaccio fans.