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MIDWEEK SPECIAL: Ligue 1 Preview: 7 (2014/2015)

Ligue 1 returns for a midweek special with a measure designed to make France’s top tier’s winter break a little longer. Robert Bhamber is here as ever to take you through, game by game.

 

Tuesday: Reims (15th) vs Marseille (1st) (18:00 GMT)

League leaders Marseille travel to the Stade Auguste Delaune to take on Reims on Tuesday. The home side had made a terrible start to the campaign with a draw and three losses in their opening four games, but have since won their last two league matches against Toulouse and Lorient respectively.

However, visitors Marseille are also on a roll at the moment; they have won their last four league games and rose to the top of the table at the weekend thanks to a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Rennes. Coach Marcelo Bielsa will be expecting more of the same against a side who have struggled for most of the season.

– Reims won 1-0 at Lorient at the weekend, ending their run of eight straight away defeats.

– They have won back-to-back league matches for the first time since February.

– Marseille are unbeaten away from home in the league this season, winning two and drawing one.

– They have conceded goals in the league so far, five of which came in their first two matches.

– Last season, this match finished 1-1.

 

Tuesday: Rennes (8th) vs Toulouse (14th) (20:00 GMT)

Toulouse will be looking to rectify their terrible away form when they visit the Stade de la Route de Lorient to face Rennes. The hosts have made a decent start to the campaign, managing to take points from the likes of St Etienne and champions PSG, but they did lose 3-0 away at Marseille at the weekend. Philippe Montanier will be looking for his players to bounce back straight away by taking all three points from this game.

Going by the stats, it shouldn’t be a difficult task for Rennes, considering Toulouse have lost every one of their away games so far this season. They have been defeated by Nice, Bastia and Reims so far and face another tough looking away trip here. 

– Rennes have taken four points from six at home this season, with a 6-2 win over Evian and a 1-1 draw with PSG.

– They have scored seven and conceded three in these two games.

– Toulouse have conceded first in each of their away games this season.

– They have conceded six in total away from home, scoring just twice.

– Last season, Toulouse won this match 3-2.

 

Wednesday: Montpellier (6th) vs Monaco (16th) (18:00 GMT)

Montpellier welcome struggling Monaco to the Stade de la Mosson on Wednesday evening. The hosts have had a good season so far, winning three of their six league games and holding Lille to a goalless draw at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy at the weekend. This form has left them sixth in the table and level on points with champions PSG.

Monaco, meanwhile, have made a disastrous start to the campaign with three losses in their opening six league games. However, they did manage a 1-0 home victory over Guingamp at the weekend, which Leonardo Jardim will be hoping is a sign that their league form may be beginning to turn a corner. They certainly need to string a few wins together if they are to climb to the top end of the table any time soon. 

– Montpellier have taken six points from a possible nine at home this season.

– They have beaten both Metz and Lorient, but lost to Bordeaux on the opening weekend.

– Monaco’s only away league win so far came in Week 3, with a 1-0 victory over Nantes.

– They have lost their other two away games, going down 4-1 at Bordeaux and 2-1 against Lyon.

– Last season, this match finished 1-1.

 

Wednesday: Lyon (12th) vs Lorient (11th) (18:00 GMT)

Improving Lyon host Lorient at the Stade de Gerland in midweek. The home side are looking to continue their recent upturn in form; after three consecutive losses in the league, they have since beaten Monaco and held PSG to a draw at the Parc des Princes. Boss Hubert Fournier will be hoping for a win against a side who sit one place above them heading into the match.

Lorient, meanwhile, are on a bit of a slump after losing three of their last four league games. Defeats to Lille, Montpellier and Reims in the last few weeks have seen them fall from sixth to 11th in the league. Manager Sylvain Ripoll will want his team to get back to winning ways as soon as possible, but taking all three points away from the Stade de Gerland will be a tough ask.

– Lyon have taken six points from a possible nine at home in the league this season.

– Their only home defeat came in Week 3 as Lens managed a 1-0 victory.

– Lorient’s two wins so far this season have come away at Monaco and at home against Guingamp.

– They have scored twice and conceded four goals on the road this season.

– Last season, Lorient won this match 1-0.

 

Wednesday: Bastia (18th) vs Nantes (7th) (18:00 GMT)

Bastia continue their search for their second win of the season as they take on Nantes at the Stade Armand Cesari. The home side’s only win so far came in Week 3, when they managed a 1-0 home victory over Toulouse. Claude Makelele will be desperately hoping his side’s form picks up soon; they are currently sat in the bottom three with just six points.

Nantes, meanwhile, are on the hunt for their fourth victory of the campaign, with wins against Lens, Montpellier and Nice all in the bag. However, all of these wins came at home; Michel Der Zakarian’s side have taken just one point from six on the road so far this season.

– Bastia may be 18th in the league, but they are unbeaten at home.

– They have beaten Toulouse and have shared the points with Marseille and Lens.

– Nantes have drawn with Metz and lost to Lille away from home this season.

– They scored once and conceded three in the process.

– Last season, this match finished as a goalless draw.

 

Wednesday: Nice (17th) vs Lille (4th) (18:00 GMT)

Nice host an unbeaten Lille side at the Allianz Riviera on Wednesday. The home side have struggled recently, with three losses in their last four league games; a run that has seen them fall from fourth to 17th in the table in just four weeks. Claude Puel will be desperate for an upturn in fortune, but that looks unlikely to happen against Lille.

The visitors are undefeated in the league so far this season, with three wins and three draws. Rene Girard’s men sit fourth in the league, just one point off league leaders Marseille. A goalless draw against Montpellier saw Lille lose their spot at the summit of Ligue 1 at the weekend, so they will be looking to reclaim it by taking all three points from this match.

– Nice’s two league wins so far have both come in homes games against Toulouse and Metz.

– They did, however, lose 3-1 at the Allianz Riviera against Bordeaux in Week 3.

– Lille have taken four points from six away from home in the league this season, beating Caen and drawing 1-1 at Monaco.

– They have conceded just one league goal all season.

– Last season, Nice managed to win this match 1-0.

 

Wednesday: Evian (20th) vs Lens (13th) (18:00 GMT)

Bottom-of-the-table Evian host newly-promoted Lens at the Parc des Sports. The home side have been in terrible form this season, taking just one point from their first six games. They are already in danger of being left behind at the bottom of the table; 17th placed Nice are six points away, while second-from-bottom Guingamp are five ahead. 

Lens, therefore, will head to the Parc des Sports wanting nothing less than all three points. The promoted side sit 13th in the table after two wins, three losses and a draw this season and manager Antoine Kombouare will be hoping to take advantage of their struggling opponents to move further up the table with a win here.

– Evian’s only point this season came from a goalless draw at home to PSG in Week 3.

– They have been 20th in the table since Week 1.

– Lens have taken four points from nine on the road this season.

– They have beat Lyon 1-0 at the Stade de Gerland, held Bastia to a 1-1 draw and lost to Nantes.

– These two teams have never played each other in Ligue 1, Ligue 2 or the Coupe de la Ligue before.

 

Wednesday: Guingamp (19th) vs Metz (9th) (18:00 GMT)

Struggling Guingamp host Metz at the Stade du Roudourou on Wednesday evening. The home side have lost four of their six league matches so far this season and subsequently sit a lowly 19th in Ligue 1. They are, however, five points above bottom side Evian and just one point away from 10th placed Caen in a tight lower half of the table. 

Metz, meanwhile, sit in the top half of the table after a 3-1 win at home to Bastia at the weekend saw them rise from 17th to ninth. Both of their wins so far this season have come at their own ground, a statistic that will have to change if they are to claim all three points from this game.

– Guingamp’s two league wins this season have come away at Lens and at home to Bordeaux.

– They have scored twice and conceded four at home in the league this season.

– Metz have taken just one point from nine on the road so far.

– They held Lille to a goalless draw on the opening weekend, but have lost at both Montpellier and Nice since.

– The last time this fixture was played was in Ligue 2 in 2011/12, when Metz won 1-0.

 

Wednesday: Caen (10th) vs PSG (5th) (20:00 GMT) 

Champions PSG travel to the Stade d’Ornano looking for their first away win in the league this season. The newly-promoted hosts have exactly the opposite problem, as they have been one of the league’s best teams away from home, but have lost both of their home matches this season, without even scoring a goal. They are also winless in their last three league games, having lost to Rennes and St Etienne and drawing with Toulouse at the weekend. 

PSG may be just three points off league leaders Marseille, but they have been less than impressive so far. They have yet to win on their travels in the league and were held to a 1-1 draw at home against Lyon at the weekend. Manager Laurent Blanc knows his team are capable of much more and they can start by claiming all three points here.

– Caen have scored eight times this season, only three teams have found the net on more occasions.

– They have conceded six goals so far, four of which came from penalties.

– PSG are unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions this season.

– However, they have drawn five of those.

– The last time this fixture was played was in 2011/12, when the game ended 2-2.

 

Thursday: St Etienne (3rd) vs Bordeaux (2nd) (20:00 GMT)

The final game of the midweek fixtures comes on Thursday evening, as St Etienne host Bordeaux at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. Both teams are in good form heading into this match; they are both level on 13 points, the same amount as league leaders Marseille. The hosts have recovered from a 5-0 hammering at the hands of PSG to win their last two league games against Caen and Lens respectively. 

Bordeaux may have drawn with Bastia and lost to Guingamp recently, but wins in all of their other four league games has given Willy Sagnol an excellent start to his life as a manager. This match looks set to be the toughest test of his blossoming coaching career, but he knows a win may be enough to guide his team back to the top of Ligue 1. 

– St Etienne have been beaten just twice in their last 16 league games, with both defeats coming away to PSG.

– They have won two and drawn one of their home league games this season.

– Bordeaux were top of the league between Weeks 2-5, before being knocked off by Lille.

– They have scored 12 goals in their six league games so far this season, a record bettered only by Marseille (14).

– Last season, St Etienne won this match 2-1.

R.B.

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