Neymar 8
Neymar Image Credit: REUTERS

Paris: Neymar’s steady return to form after an injury-plagued 2019 coincides with Paris St-Germain push to finish the year clear of old rivals Marseille, who are enjoying their best Ligue 1 run since 2014.

The Brazilian orchestrated a late comeback at Montpellier last weekend and then marked his first Champions League start in exactly 12 months with a goal and two assists in Wednesday’s 5-0 demolition of Galatasaray.

The 27-year-old has yet to fully placate the Parc des Princes faithful after a summer of uncertainty surrounding his future. A smattering of jeers greeted Neymar in PSG’s last home league game against Nantes, but further displays such as that in midweek should help erase any residual bitterness.

“I know I wasn’t there last year in February. We’re going to have to think of the supporters,” Neymar said.

“What makes me happy is being able to play. As long as I have a ball, a nice pitch and teammates, I have everything I need.”

PSG, who have a game in hand, travel to St-Etienne in Sunday’s late kick-off, by which time Marseille could have slashed the gap at the top to just two points. Andre Villas-Boas has overseen a run of six straight wins at Marseille, a sequence that began following a 4-0 loss to PSG in late October.

Marseille will hope to recall leading scorer Dario Benedetto for Saturday’s trip to Metz after the Argentine missed the 3-1 win over Bordeaux with a thigh complaint.

Fixtures

Saturday

Metz v Marseille (8.30pm), Amiens v Dijon, Angers v Monaco, Brest v Nice, Nimes v Nantes, Toulouse v Reims (all 11pm)

Sunday

Bordeaux v Strasbourg (6pm), Lyon v Rennes (8pm), St-Etienne v Paris St-Germain (midnight)