PARIS — Unbeaten in 35 matches, Paris Saint-Germain hosts seven-time former champion Lyon on Sunday in the French league.
PSG is four points ahead of second-place Lille, which travels to play Valenciennes, and five clear of Monaco, which is at home to Rennes. Both matches are on Saturday.
Here are five things to know about this weekend's games:
PSG won the title by eight points last season and veteran Maxwell is confident the gap will be even bigger this time.
The defending champions are unbeaten in 35 games dating back to early March.
"We're stronger this season and we're controlling games a lot more, especially in the way we keep hold of the ball," Maxwell said. "The most important thing was to develop a certain style of play. We've found a system that gives us a lot of balance and we're very happy."
Maxwell has kept his place despite the signing of highly-promising left back Lucas Digne.
The 20-year-old Digne has started only five games, while Maxwell has started nine.
"I don't think there is competition between us. I never accept this word because for me 'competition' is against the other teams," Maxwell said. "We both have a lot of qualities and that's better for the team."
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has hinted that Laurent Blanc could get a longer contract after making a successful start to the season.
Blanc's current deal runs out in June 2015, and according to a report in newspaper Le Parisien on Wednesday, he has started early talks with the club for an additional two years with an option for a further year.
"Laurent Blanc is a great coach and deserves a long contract," Al-Khelaifi said after Wednesday's 2-1 win over Olympiakos sent PSG into the knockout round of the Champions League as group winners. "I'm very happy with the work he's done and the results, too."
Blanc replaced Carlo Ancelotti after the Italian guided PSG to its first league title since the 1993-94 season.
It is so long since Lille goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama conceded a goal that he is closing in on the top five record-holders in French league history.
The Nigerian has not allowed a goal for 855 minutes.
Another clean sheet at Valenciennes will see him surpass Joseph-Antoine Bell's mark of 877 minutes (for Saint-Etienne in the 1992-93 season), Bruno Martini's total of 892 (Auxerre in 1987-88) and former Monaco goalkeeper Jean-Luc Ettori's total of 899 in 1992-93.
"I'm really enjoying it and I try to share it with my teammates," Enyeama said.
If he does not concede Saturday, then Enyeama will be on 945 minutes and just short of PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu's second-best mark of 948 from last season.
But they are all still some way behind record-holder Gaetan Huard, who went 1,176 minutes without conceding for Bordeaux during the 1992-93 season.
Second-place Lille has let in only four league goals in 14 games this season.
"It's a collective performance," Enyeama said. "I'm a part of the team and I don't pay attention to everything that's said about me."
NOT GOOD ENOUGH
Marseille has lost all five of its Champions League games and must now focus on closing the gap on Monaco in the battle for third place in the French league when it takes on struggling Montpellier on Friday.
"We take ourselves for great players and good players but in fact, we're nothing at all," Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda said following Tuesday's 2-0 loss at Arsenal. "You have to ask yourself questions when you look at the difference between Arsenal and us. We have to work hard to close the gap."
Valenciennes is mired in the relegation zone and matters have taken a turn for the worse with striker Gregory Pujol set to be out for several games after being hospitalized with a partially detached lung.
Pujol was taken off during the first half of last Saturday's match against Lyon after landing heavily on his back following a collision with Lyon players Milan Bisevac and Maxime Gonalons.
The shock of the impact meant that one of his lungs was partially detached and led to an effusion of blood and he was rushed to the hospital on Sunday morning for urgent treatment.
The 33-year-old Pujol had the best season of his career three seasons ago when he scored 17 league goals for Valenciennes. He has three goals in nine games this season.