Robert Bhamber returns with a comprehensive guide to this weekend’s Ligue 1 action.
Friday: Monaco (8th) vs Reims (14th) (19:30 GMT)
Monaco take on Reims in the first match of Week 12, with both teams having found form in the league in recent weeks. The hosts have taken seven points from their last three games and recently moved into the top half of the table for the first time this season. Leonardo Jardim will want more of the same here, especially with his side now just three points behind the current top four.
Reims have also taken seven points from their last three league matches and have moved away from the relegation zone as a result. They did, however, lose to Arles-Avignon in the Coupe de la Ligue in midweek after extra time. Tiredness, then, may prove to be a factor in this game, considering that Reims played 120 minutes in midweek whereas Monaco didn’t play at all.
– Monaco have failed to score in just one league game so far this season; a 1-0 loss to Nice in Week 8.
– They have conceded just six goals in their last nine league matches.
– Reims have conceded 20 times this season, only Guingamp (21) have let in more.
– They have taken just four points from 15 available on the road this campaign.
– Last season, Monaco won this match 3-2.
Saturday: Lorient (17th) vs PSG (2nd) (16:00 GMT)
Lorient face a tough task to turn around their current bad form, as champions PSG are the visitors to the Stade du Moustoir this weekend. The home side have lost six of their last seven league games and are just one point above bottom-of-the-table Guingamp heading into this game. Sylvain Ripoll knows he is under pressure to start getting results, but that looks unlikely to happen in this match.
Champions PSG will be looking to take full advantage of their opponent’s bad form when they visit this weekend, especially as they know a victory will close the gap between themselves and league leaders Marseille to just one point, for 24 hours at least. They remain unbeaten this season and have won their last two league games; it is the first time this season that they have won consecutive matches in Ligue 1.
– Lorient have lost their last three home games in the league.
– They have only picked up points in four of their 11 league matches so far.
– PSG have won two and drawn four of their away league games this campaign.
– They have only conceded seven league goals this season.
– Last season, PSG won this match 1-0.
Saturday: Lille (11th) vs St Etienne (4th) (19:00 GMT)
Lille will be looking to put an end to their losing streak when St Etienne visit the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Saturday evening. The hosts were among the pack of teams fighting at the top end of the table until recently, but three straight losses in the league have seen them fall from third to 11th. Rene Girard will be desperate to put things right, but they face pretty tough opponents in St Etienne.
The visitors have won their last two league outings and sit five points behind league leaders Marseille in fourth. Their domestic away form has been inconsistent this campaign, with three wins and two losses so far, but Christophe Galtier will be quietly confident heading into this match, considering Lille’s form in the past few weeks.
– Lille have taken 11 points from 18 at home in the league this season.
– Their only home defeat came in Week 10 at the hands of Guingamp.
– St Etienne have won each of their away league games this season in which they have scored first.
– Conversely, they have lost every league away match in which they have conceded first.
– Last season, Lille emerged 1-0 winners in this match.
Saturday: Guingamp (20th) vs Bastia (18th) (19:00 GMT)
Guingamp face Bastia at the Stade du Roudourou in a battle between two sides in the Ligue 1 relegation zone. The hosts are bottom of the league heading into this weekend, one point behind Bastia in 18th. They have lost eight of their 11 league matches this campaign and were on the end of a heavy 7-2 defeat last week against Nice. Jocelyn Gourvennec will be hoping his side can respond with an important victory against a fellow struggling side.
Bastia, meanwhile, have lost three of their last four league games, scoring just two goals in the process. Manager Claude Makelele will view this game as one his side can, and definitely need, to win in order to pull themselves up the table and away from the relegation zone. They were beaten 3-1 at home by Monaco last weekend, but did manage to beat Auxerre by the same scoreline in the Coupe de la Ligue in midweek.
– Guingamp have spent all but three weeks of this season in the relegation zone.
– Their three league wins this campaign were against Lens, Bordeaux and most recently, Lille.
– Bastia have won just twice in the league so far, against Toulouse and Nice.
– They have taken four points from 15 on the road this season.
– Last season, this match finished 1-1.
Saturday: Nice (7th) vs Lyon (3rd) (19:00 GMT)
Nice will be looking to build on last week’s impressive 7-2 win over Guingamp as Lyon visit the Allianz Riviera this weekend. The hosts were in ruthless form against the league’s bottom side last week, but know they face a considerably tougher task against Lyon. Tiredness may be a factor for some of Nice’s players though, as they played 120 minutes of football in midweek, only to get knocked out of the Coupe de la Ligue against Metz on penalties.
Lyon, meanwhile, head into this match on a seven game undefeated streak in the league, having won the last three of those matches. This run has taken them up to third in the table, five points behind league leaders Marseille. Hubert Fournier will be hoping that run continues into this weekend.
– Nice have taken 10 points from 18 at home in the league.
– They have scored seven and conceded seven in these games.
– Despite their league position, Lyon have yet to win away in the league this season.
– They have drawn two and lost two of their away league games.
– Last season, Lyon won this match 1-0.
Saturday: Metz (10th) vs Caen (15th) (19:00 GMT)
Two newly-promoted teams meet as Metz face Caen at the Stade Saint-Symphorien. The hosts have fared the better of the two teams so far, sitting 10th in the table whilst remaining undefeated on home turf. Albert Cartier will be hoping his side’s impressive home form can continue this weekend, even though his players did go all the way to penalties in midweek as they knocked Nice out of the Coupe de la Ligue.
Caen, meanwhile, haven’t been quite as successful as their opponents since their promotion to Ligue 1. They sit 15th in the league and two points above the relegation zone heading into the weekend. They won their first league game in eight outings last week against Lorient and followed this up in midweek with a 4-3 win against Clermont in the Coupe de la Ligue after extra time.
– The only visiting teams to have emerged from the Stade Saint-Symphorien with any points this season have been Nantes and Rennes.
– Metz haven’t won any of their last three league games though; the draw against Rennes was sandwiched between losses to Evian and St Etienne.
– Caen’s win last weekend took them out of the relegation zone, where they had spent the previous two weeks.
– They have drawn each of their last three league away matches.
– Last season, this match was played in Ligue 2, with Metz winning 2-1.
Saturday: Montpellier (13th) vs Evian (19th) (19:00 GMT)
Montpellier play their first league match at the Altrad Stadium this weekend, with struggling Evian the visitors. The hosts are having to play their home games away from the Stade de la Mosson for the time being due to flood damage and head into the match on the back of successive league defeats. They were also knocked out of the Coupe de la Ligue in midweek thanks to a 1-0 loss to Ajaccio, so manager Rolland Courbis will be desperate for his side to get back to winning ways here.
Evian head into this match with the exact same recent record, having lost successive league matches whilst being knocked out of the cup in midweek against Lorient. They are, however, four points worse off than Montpellier in the league table and have been in the bottom three for all but two weeks of this campaign.
– Before the flood damage, Montpellier had won three and lost two of their home league games at the Stade de la Mosson.
– Their run of three losses in a row is their worst spell of the season so far.
– Evian three league wins this campaign all came back-to-back between Weeks 7 and 9.
– Their only league away win this season came at Lorient; they have lost the other four.
– Last season, this match finished as a 1-1 draw.
Sunday: Nantes (5th) vs Rennes (9th) (13:00 GMT)
Nantes will be looking to keep their impressive form going as they welcome Rennes to the Stade de la Beaujoire on Sunday afternoon. The hosts have lost just two games all season and find themselves fifth in the league heading into the weekend, just six points behind leaders Marseille. They are unbeaten in their last six league games and also ran out comfortable 4-0 winners against Laval in the Coupe de la Ligue in midweek.
Rennes are also in decent form right now; the visitors are unbeaten in their last three league outings and have claimed major victories against Lille and Marseille (in the Coupe de la Ligue) within the past week. Philippe Montanier’s men may be four points behind their opponents in the league, but both teams will be heading into this match full of confidence given their recent results.
– Nantes have not gone six Ligue 1 matches unbeaten since December 2003-January 2004.
– Half of their league goals this season have come from dead-ball situations.
– Rennes have kept clean sheets in their last three league games.
– However, they have only scored twice in their five league away games so far this campaign.
– Last season, Rennes won this match 3-0.
Sunday: Bordeaux (6th) vs Toulouse (12th) (16:00 GMT)
Bordeaux welcome Toulouse at the Stade Chaban-Delmas just a few days after knocking them out of the Coupe de la Ligue. The hosts ran out 3-1 winners at the Stadium Municipal in midweek, but Willy Sagnol will now be focused on getting back to winning ways in the league. His side are winless in their last three league matches and have fallen from second to sixth as a result.
Toulouse, meanwhile, will surely be out for revenge following midweek’s result. The form guide is not in their favour however, as they head into this match on the back of two successive league defeats to Marseille and Lens respectively, as well as their Coupe de la Ligue failure just a few short days ago. Alain Casanova will want to turn things around as soon as possible.
– Bordeaux have not been below seventh in the table so far this season.
– They remain undefeated at home in Ligue 1 this campaign, having won three and drawn two.
– Toulouse have taken six points from 18 on the road in the league so far.
– They have scored six and conceded eight in these games.
– Last season, Toulouse won this match 1-0.
Sunday: Marseille (1st) vs Lens (16th) (20:00 GMT)
Marseille will be looking to put a week to forget behind them with a win against Lens at the Stade Velodrome on Sunday night. The host’s eight game winning streak was ended last week at the hands of Lyon and this was quickly followed up by a second defeat in midweek, this time against Rennes in the Coupe de la Ligue. Marcelo Bielsa will be looking for a response from his players, especially as PSG could have closed the gap at the top of the table to just one point by the time this match gets underway.
It has been a week of mixed results for visitors Lens; they ended a six game winless run by defeating Toulouse 2-0 in the league last weekend, but were then dumped out of the Coupe de la Ligue by Ligue 2 side Creteil in midweek. They head into this match just one point above the relegation zone, having won just three games in total all season.
– Marseille have scored 25 goals in 11 league matches so far, the best total in the division as it stands.
– They have failed to score just twice, losing on both occasions.
– Lens have taken seven points from 18 in league away matches this campaign.
– They have won two, drawn one and lost three of those games, scoring five and conceding six.
– The last time this fixture was played was in the Coupe de la Ligue Round of 16 during the 2011/12 campaign. Marseille ran out comfortable 4-0 winners that day.