Rober Bhamber previews all this weekend’s Ligue 1 action.
Friday: Rennes (11th) vs Lorient (18th) (19:30 GMT)
Week 13’s action kicks off at the Stade de la Route de Lorient as Rennes take on Lorient in a Breton derby. Rennes have been inconsistent so far this season, with four wins, four draws and four losses in their opening 12 league games and head into this match in a comfortable mid-table position. Philippe Montanier will be expecting more from his players though, especially against a struggling Lorient side.
The visitors have lost seven of their last eight league games and last week dropped into the relegation zone for the first time this season. It represents a drastic change in fortunes for Sylvain Ripoll’s side in the last couple of months; they were as high as fifth in the table at the end of August. Ripoll will be desperate to turn things around and get a win here, but the form book is most certainly not in their favour.
– Rennes’ top scorer this season, Paul-Georges Ntep, has four goals to his name – all of which were scored at home.
– Rennes have won all three home league games this campaign in which they have taken the lead.
– Lorient have scored just 10 goals in their 12 league games so far.
– They have won two and lost four away league matches this season.
– Last season, this match finished as a 1-1 draw.
Saturday: Lens (17th) vs Bordeaux (4th) (16:00 GMT)
Lens host Bordeaux at the Stade de la Licorne this weekend, with the home side looking to move up the table and away from the relegation zone. The hosts sit just one point ahead of the bottom three going into the weekend, having lost three of their last four league matches. It will be a difficult task for Antoine Kombouare’s men to take any points off Bordeaux, but their win at Lyon in Week 3 shows that they are capable of causing an upset.
The visitors, meanwhile, want all three points in order to keep up with the likes of Marseille, PSG and Lyon at the top end of the table. They are seven points behind leaders Marseille heading into this match and although no-one expects Bordeaux to be challenging for the title, they can certainly stake a claim for a European qualification spot if they maintain the form they have shown so far this season.
– Lens have won just one of their last eight league games – away at Toulouse in Week 11.
– They have taken four points from a possible 15 on home turf this campaign.
– Bordeaux have not been so high in the table after 12 games since the 2009/10 campaign.
– Only five of their 18 league goals so far this season have come in the first half.
– The last time this match was played was in the 2010/11 season, with Lens emerging 1-0 winners.
Saturday: Caen (15th) vs Nantes (6th) (19:00 GMT)
Caen will also be looking to climb away from the bottom three as they take on Nantes at the Stade Michel d’Ornano. The hosts have been on a bad run of form recently, which saw them drop into the relegation zone in Week 10. They have since moved up to 15th thanks to a 2-1 victory against Lorient, but Patrice Garande knows his side need to make winning a more regular habit if they are to avoid dropping back into the bottom three and an instant return to Ligue 2.
Nantes, meanwhile, are sitting pretty in sixth, largely due to their current seven game unbeaten run in the league. Only Monaco and Lille have beaten Nantes in Ligue 1 this campaign, so manager Michel Der Zakarian will certainly be expecting his side to take all three points in this encounter.
– Caen have won just three of their 12 league games this season.
– They have also lost all but one of their home league matches.
– Nantes have been in the top half of the table all season, their lowest position being 10th.
– They have taken eight points from a possible 15 on the road this campaign, with two wins, two draws and one defeat.
– The last time this match was played was in Ligue 2 during 2012.13, with Nantes winning 1-0.
Saturday: Bastia (19th) vs Montpellier (9th) (19:00 GMT)
Managerless Bastia host Montpellier at the Stade Armand Cesari this weekend, as they begin life post Claude Makelele. The home side dismissed Makelele after he managed just two league wins in 12 games, leaving Bastia 19th in the table. Fans will be hoping a change in manager will lead to a change in fortune for their side in the coming weeks, but it doesn’t look promising at the moment.
Montpellier, meanwhile, will be looking to take advantage of the home side’s troubles in order to win back-to-back league games for the second time this season. Two consecutive losses had seen Montpellier drop out of the top half of the table, but a win last week against Evian lifted them back into ninth.
– Bastia have lost their last two home league matches.
– They have scored just nine goals in their 12 league games so far this campaign.
– Montpellier don’t have the best away record, taking just five points from a possible 18 on the road.
– They have scored four and conceded eight in these games.
– Last season, this match finished as a goalless draw.
Saturday: Evian (20th) vs Nice (10th) (19:00 GMT)
Bottom-of-the-table Evian welcome Nice to the Parc des Sports as they look to move out of the bottom three for only the second time this season. The hosts may be bottom, but they are level on points with Lorient and Bastia and are just one point behind Lens in 17th. Evian’s season did take a massive upturn with three consecutive wins between Week 7 and 9, but have since followed them up with three consecutive losses. Pascal Dupraz will be hoping for another winning run to move them out of the highly-congested bottom quarter of the table.
Nice, meanwhile, sit comfortably in mid-table as things stand, seven points ahead of their opponents this weekend. They were unable to build on their eye-catching 7-2 win over Guingamp in Week 11, though, as they went down 3-1 at home to Lyon last weekend. Claude Puel will surely see this game as one his side should be winning and one in which they can use to further cement their position in the top ten.
– Evian’s three game winning streak between Weeks 7 and 9 contained their only league wins this season.
– They have spent 10 weeks of the 12 so far this campaign in the relegation zone, eight of which in last place.
– Nice have taken seven points from 15 in away league matches this season.
– They have scored nine and conceded eight in these games.
– Last season, Evian won this match 2-0.
Saturday: Toulouse (14th) vs Metz (8th) (19:00 GMT)
Toulouse take on high-flying Metz at the Stadium Municipal this weekend, as they look to end their current losing streak. The hosts have lost their last three league games, to Marseille, Lens and Bordeaux respectively, and have dropped from eighth to 14th in the process. Alain Casanova will want his side to get back to winning ways as soon as possible, starting with this home match against Metz.
The newly-promoted side have been a surprise package of sorts so far this campaign, sitting in eighth in the table, which is highly impressive considering Caen and Lens, the other two sides to be promoted in the summer, are 15th and 17th respectively. They head into this match on the back of a 3-2 win at home against Caen and will be looking to win consecutive league matches for the second time this season.
– Toulouse have won eight out of 15 points in home league games this season.
– They have scored seven and conceded seven in these matches.
– Metz aren’t the best travellers – they have won just one away league match this campaign, drawing another and losing four.
– Their only win on the road came in Week 7 at Guingamp.
– The last time this match was played was during the 2007/08 season; the game finished goalless that day.
Sunday: Lyon (3rd) vs Guingamp (16th) (13:00 GMT)
In-form Lyon come up against lowly Guingamp at the Stade de Gerland in Sunday’s first match. Lyon have won each of their last four league games, as well as being unbeaten in their last eight, so will head into this game as heavy favourites to win. They are currently third in the table, one point behind champions PSG in second and five behind leaders Marseille.
Guingamp, meanwhile, managed their fourth league win of the campaign last weekend, a result that lifted them out of the bottom three for the first time in six weeks. The 1-0 home success over fellow-strugglers Bastia was followed up by a 2-0 victory, again at home, on Thursday against Dynamo Minsk in the Europa League. Jocelyn Gourvennec will be hoping his team can carry that momentum into this game, but it will be a huge surprise if they get anything out of this one.
– Lyon have taken a highly impressive 18 points from a possible 21 at home so far this season.
– Their only home league defeat came in Week 3 at the hands of Lens.
– Guingamp have spent eight of the 12 weeks of the season so far in the relegation zone.
– They have yet to draw a league game this campaign; they have won four and lost eight.
– Last season, Lyon won this match 2-0.
Sunday: Reims (13th) vs Lille (12th) (16:00 GMT)
Reims take on a Lille side in troubling form at the Stade Auguste Delaune this weekend. The hosts find themselves sitting 12th in the table heading into this match, just one place and one point behind their high-profile visitors. They are unbeaten in their last four league matches, winning two of them, and only last weekend held Monaco to a creditable 1-1 draw at the Stade Louis II. Jean-Luc Vasseur will be targeting a point at least here, especially with Lille’s current form.
The visitors have won just one of their last seven league games and have lost three of their last four. This dreadful run of form has seen Rene Girard’s team tumble down the table, falling from top of the league to 12th in the space of those seven matches. Their poor league form also spread into the Europa League, as they were comfortably beaten 3-0 away at Everton on Thursday evening. Girard will be desperate to turn things around, starting by taking all three points against Reims this weekend.
– Reims have spent all but one week of this season in the bottom half, five of which were spent in the relegation zone.
– They have a decent home league record though, winning three, drawing one and losing two.
– Lille, meanwhile, have taken just four points from 15 in away league games this campaign.
– They have scored just twice in these games, conceding seven in reply.
– Last season, Reims shocked Lille with a 2-1 win in this match.
Sunday: St Etienne (5th) vs Monaco (7th) (16:00 GMT)
Sunday ends with two big matches, starting with St Etienne taking on Monaco at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in the afternoon. The hosts will be looking to win in order to keep up with the frontrunners such as Marseille, PSG and Lyon. Heading into this match, St Etienne are fifth in the league, seven points behind leaders Marseille, but only three behind second placed PSG. They are unbeaten in their last three games and on Thursday held Inter Milan to a 1-1 draw at home in the Europa League.
Monaco, meanwhile, are finally starting to get some form going in the league for the first time this season. They have now lost just once in their last seven league games, winning four of them. This run has seen them climb from 19th in the table to 7th and just three points behind St Etienne heading into this match. There is one blemish on their form book though, as they suffered a 1-0 loss away at Benfica in the Champions League in midweek.
– St Etienne have taken 11 points from 18 at home in the league so far this campaign.
– Their only home league loss came in Week 9 at the hands of Toulouse.
– Monaco have lost four league games this season, three of which came within the opening five weeks.
– Monaco have won 10 points from a possible 18 in away league games this campaign.
– Last season, St Etienne won this match 2-0.
Sunday: PSG (2nd) vs Marseille (1st) (20:00 GMT)
The last game is undoubtedly the biggest of the weekend and arguably the biggest of the season so far, as second placed PSG host league leaders Marseille at the Parc des Princes in Le Classique. The champions head into the match unbeaten, having won six and drawn six in the league and sitting four points behind their opponents in the table. They warmed up for this clash with a crucial 1-0 win over APOEL in the Champions League in midweek and Laurent Blanc will be hoping another victory follows on Sunday. They won’t be able to overthrow Marseille just yet, even with a win, but it will certainly be a game changer as far as the early title picture is concerned.
Marseille, meanwhile, got back to winning ways in the league last week after their eight game winning run was ended by Lyon. The 2-1 win over Lens wasn’t the most impressive, but it certainly steadied the ship again after the defeat to Lyon and their early Coupe de la Ligue exit. Marcelo Bielsa will not need telling how important this game is, not only for the fans, but for their season as a whole; win and Marseille put seven points between themselves and the reigning champions. However, as stated before, a loss closes the gap to just one and puts all the pressure on Bielsa’s men.
– Not only are PSG unbeaten in the league, they are unbeaten in 17 matches in all competitions this season.
– The champions have conceded only eight times in the league this campaign; the joint best record along with Nantes.
– Marseille have scored 27 goals in 12 league games so far this season, more than any other team in the division.
– They have four wins, one draw and one defeat in their six away league games this campaign.
– Last season, PSG won this game 2-0 at the Parc des Princes.