Paris Saint-Germain encountered very few roadblocks during the first half of the campaign as they charged to the top of Ligue 1. They hope to maintain or extend their five-point lead by beating Nantes for a second time after a 2-1 road triumph in August.
Even though PSG have been dominant at times this season, Monaco and Lille remain within striking distance, so they can't afford a drop in form during the season's second half. The combination of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani should make sure that doesn't happen.
Nantes can't be overlooked, though. The Canaries still have their sights set on earning a European berth and are winners of two straight in all competitions, scoring five combined goals in those wins. They should represent a good challenge for PSG at the very least.
With that in mind, let's check out all of the important viewing information for the Ligue 1 clash, followed by a look at the top storyline and a match prediction.
What's your prediction for the league match?
Where: Parc des Princes in Paris, France
When: Sunday, Jan. 19 at 3 p.m. ET (8 p.m. GMT)
Watch: Univision Deportes and ESPN UK
Live Stream: beIN Sports Play
Match Forecast (via Bloomberg Sports)
Paris Saint-Germain: 65.8 percent
Nantes: 13 percent
Draw: 21.2 percent
Top Storyline: Can PSG continue to build their Ligue 1 lead?
Paris Saint-Germain must keep adding to their league lead while they have the chance just in case they go into a lull or another contender gets hot down the stretch. Matchday 21 seems like a perfect opportunity to do exactly that.
Monaco, which are currently in second place, face a tricky road test against Toulouse after a draw with Montpellier last time out. It means there's a good chance PSG could add to the five-point edge by earning all three points against Nantes.
Parisians manager Laurent Blanc was pleased with his side's performance in a midweek victory over Bordeaux in the Coupe de la Ligue quarterfinals. He also noted, via the club's official site, that it was key to avoid extra time, which should leave them fresh for the Nantes clash:
It was a very competitive match, like all Cup matches. We controlled the game very well in the first half, despite playing on a difficult pitch. I think we played good, attractive football tonight and created a number goal-scoring chances. We were rewarded at the end, and that's a good thing. In the Cup competitions, the main thing is to qualify. We did that tonight. It's also good that we avoided extra-time.
PSG will need another strong showing to secure all three points against the Canaries. The first meeting between the two squads all the way back near the beginning of the campaign was hard fought and close throughout, with Ezequiel Lavezzi netting the winner in the 73rd minute.
The one thing the Parisians did well in the first matchup was control possession. They gave up too many chances on the counterattack, however, which puts an onus on the midfield, led by Thiago Motta, to thwart those opportunities this time around.
As long as Paris Saint-Germain continue to display strong form, there's no reason they shouldn't emerge from the match with three points. But Nantes aren't going to make it easy on them, so PSG can't expect to build their league lead without good form.
Paris Saint-Germain should sense that the next couple of weeks are crucial in the title race. They are either going to pull away and go into cruise control or it's going to develop into a very close chase, possibly with three clubs involved, if Monaco and Lille both elevate their level of play.
The league leaders don't want the latter to happen. Expect an inspired performance from PSG, controlling the pace of play throughout en route to the win. Nantes simply can't match the Parisians when they are at their best.
Paris Saint-Germain 2, Nantes 0