Robert Bhamber takes you through all of this weekend’s Ligue 1 encounters.
Friday: Toulouse (11th) vs Monaco (8th) (19:30 GMT)
Toulouse face Monaco at the Stadium Municipal with both teams having recently ended bad runs with a victory in their last outing. The hosts beat Nantes 2-1 in midweek, after two previous losses to Lorient and Montpellier and Alain Casanova will be looking for another win here to take his side into the top half of Ligue 1.
Monaco, meanwhile, ended their four game winless run in the league with a 2-0 victory over Lens at the Stade Louis II. That win moved them up to eighth in a highly-congested league table; Monaco are three points ahead of Toulouse heading into this game. Leonardo Jardim knows his side need to be winning games like these if they are to get back into European contention this season.
– Toulouse have lost two of their last three home league games.
– They have scored 21 league goals this season, only four teams have scored more.
– Monaco have already lost more matches (5) than they did in the whole of last season (4).
– They have taken 11 points from 24 in away league games this campaign.
– Last season, Monaco won this match 2-0.
Saturday: PSG (2nd) vs Nantes (8th) (16:00 GMT)
PSG will be aiming to go top of Ligue 1 when they face Nantes at the Parc des Princes on Saturday. The champions missed their chance to overhaul current league leaders Marseille in midweek, as they could only draw 1-1 with Lille, so Laurent Blanc will be determined to see his side claim all three points here and pile the pressure on Marseille ahead of their match against Metz on Sunday.
A trip to the home of the champions is the last thing that Michel Der Zakarian would have wanted right now. Nantes have suffered a nightmare of a week; their nine game unbeaten run in the league came to an end at the hands of Marseille last weekend and they were then defeated 2-1 at home by Toulouse on Tuesday night. It will be a tough task to avoid anything other than a third consecutive defeat here.
– PSG are unbeaten in 22 matches in all competitions this season.
– They have conceded just 11 league goals, the best defensive record in the division.
– Nantes have won 11 points from 21 available in away league games this campaign.
– They are unbeaten in away league matches this season in which they have scored the opening goal.
– Last season, PSG comfortably won this match 5-0.
Saturday: Rennes (5th) vs Montpellier (10th) (19:00 GMT)
Rennes will be aiming to extend their fantastic run of form as they take on Montpellier at the Stade de la Route de Lorient. The hosts have won each of their last four league games and now sit just two points behind third-placed Lyon in the table. They secured a 2-1 win at Nice in midweek and manager Philippe Montanier will be expecting a similar result here against an inconsistent Montpellier side.
The visitors have won just two of their last eight league matches and sit 10th in the division heading into the weekend. Manager Rolland Courbis will be hoping his side can string a few victories together in order to stop floating around mid-table and start to finally climb up the league standings, but that seems unlikely to happen this weekend. They were defeated 2-0 by St Etienne in midweek.
– Rennes are unbeaten in their last eight league outings.
– They have conceded just once during their four game winning streak.
– Montpellier haven’t won any of their last seven away league games.
– Their only win on the road this season came in Week 2 against Marseille.
– Last season, this match ended as a 2-2 draw.
Saturday: St Etienne (4th) vs Bastia (20th) (19:00 GMT)
St Etienne will be looking for their third consecutive league victory as they take on bottom-of-the-table Bastia at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. The hosts have enjoyed a successful week so far, defeating both Lyon and Montpellier and keeping clean sheets in both matches. Christophe Galtier will be expecting more of the same against lowly Bastia.
In contrast to St Etienne, the visitors have lost both of their league outings this week, succumbing 2-1 to both Reims and Evian. They are level on points with both of the other sides in the relegation zone, Caen and Lens, heading into this weekend, but manager Ghislain Printant will be hoping his side start picking up points soon so as not to be left behind at the bottom.
– St Etienne are unbeaten in their last seven league games, winning four and drawing three.
– They have conceded just two goals during this time.
– Bastia have won just one of their last six league matches.
– Their only away win in the league so far this season came in Week 10 against Nice.
– Last season, these two teams shared the points in a 2-2 draw.
Saturday: Caen (18th) vs Nice (14th) (19:00 GMT)
Struggling Caen will be looking to take advantage of an out-of-form Nice side as they meet at the Stade Michel d’Ornano. The hosts haven’t won any of their last five league matches and currently sit in the relegation zone with 14 points. They are one point away from 17th placed Guingamp going into the weekend, with manager Patrice Garande hoping for at least a draw in this match.
Nice head into this match having won just one of their last eight league outings. Claude Puel’s men haven’t won in the league since their 7-2 thrashing of Guingamp in Week 11 and he has seen his side fall from seventh to 14th as a result. They have faced two tough matches this week, going down against PSG and Rennes, so Puel will be relishing the prospect of starting the match as favourites for once.
– Caen have won just three league games all season; against Evian, Reims and Lorient.
– They suffered their heaviest defeat of the campaign in midweek, losing 5-1 away to Guingamp.
– Nice have lost four of their last five in the league.
– Their away league record this season reads: two wins, one draw and four losses.
– The last time this match was played was during the 2011/12 campaign, with the match ending as a 1-1 draw.
Saturday: Bordeaux (6th) vs Lorient (16th) (19:00 GMT)
Bordeaux will be aiming to keep up with the leading pack in the league as they take on Lorient at the Stade Cheban-Delmas. The home side sit sixth in the league heading into the weekend, just two points behind third-placed Lyon. They have beaten Lille 1-0 and been held to a goalless draw at Metz this week during a busy spell of Ligue 1 football.
Lorient, meanwhile, have ended their recent terrible run of form; embarking on a three match unbeaten run in the league. Sylvain Ripoll’s side lost eight out of their nine games between Weeks 5 and 13, but have since beaten Lens and Toulouse and most recently held league leaders Marseille to a draw in midweek.
– Bordeaux have not dropped lower than seventh in the league all season.
– They are unbeaten at home in the league this campaign, winning five and drawing two.
– Lorient have taken nine of the 24 points available in away league games so far this campaign.
– They have scored eight and conceded 13 on the road.
– Last season, Bordeaux won this match 3-2.
Sunday: Evian (13th) vs Lyon (3rd) (13:00 GMT)
Evian will be aiming for a fourth consecutive league victory as Lyon visit the Parc des Sports on Sunday afternoon. The hosts have beaten Nice, Guingamp and Bastia in their last three games, rising from the bottom of the table to 13th in the process. Pascal Dupraz will see his side move into the top half of the table for the first time this season with a win, but they face a tough task against one of the league’s leading teams.
Lyon, meanwhile, need the points in order to remain within touching distance of Marseille and PSG. The visitors sit five points off the top of the league heading into the weekend, although they lost ground recently due to their 3-0 loss away at St Etienne. They only just bounced back with a last-minute 2-1 win over Reims in mid-week and Hubert Fournier will be hoping for an easier victory this weekend.
– Evian have conceded just one goal in their last three league matches.
– They have won 13 points from 24 available in home league games so far this season.
– Lyon have only won one of their seven league away games.
– They have scored seven and conceded 10 on the road.
– Last season, Evian won this match 2-1.
Sunday: Lens (19th) vs Lille (15th) (16:00 GMT)
Lens will be hoping to move out of the bottom three as they face under-performing Lille at the Stade de France. Lens have lost six of their last eight league outings and sit 19th in the table, one point behind Guingamp in 17th. They managed a valuable 2-0 victory over Metz last weekend, but then lost to Monaco in midweek by the same scoreline.
Lille, meanwhile, defied their league form to put in an excellent performance against champions PSG in midweek, holding them to a 1-1 draw. However, it is still seven league games without defeat for Rene Girard’s men, who sit 15th in the table heading into the weekend, with just three points more than their opponents this weekend.
– Lens have spent seven weeks of this season in the bottom three.
– They have conceded seven goals in their last five league games.
– Lille’s last league win came in Week 8, at home against Bastia.
– They have lost each of their last five away league matches.
– The last time this fixture was played was during the 2010/11 campaign, with Lille running out 4-1 winners.
Sunday: Reims (9th) vs Guingamp (17th) (16:00 GMT)
Reims will be looking to bounce back from their defeat to Lyon in midweek as they welcome Guingamp to the Stade Auguste-Delaune. The hosts lost their first league game in seven outings against Lyon, going down 2-1 thanks to a last-minute own goal, and manager Jean-Luc Vasseur will want his players to respond positively by taking all three points in this fixture.
Guingamp, meanwhile, will be aiming to win consecutive league games for the first time this season. They surprised everyone by thrashing fellow-strugglers Caen 5-1 in midweek and Jocelyn Gourvennec will be hoping for a similar performance and scoreline from his players in this game. They sit 17th in the table heading into this match, one point above the relegation zone.
– Reims have won their last four home league games.
– They have won every home league match this season in which they have scored first.
– Guingamp have won two and lost five of their seven away games in the league this season.
– They are yet to draw a game in Ligue 1 this campaign.
– Last season, this match finished 1-1.
Sunday: Marseille (1st) vs Metz (12th) (20:00 GMT)
The last match of the weekend sees current league leaders Marseille take on Metz at the Stade Velodrome. The hosts know that they may well be second by the time this match gets underway; PSG will go top if they avoid defeat against Nantes, so will be under pressure to get all three points here. Marcelo Bielsa will be expecting a better performance from his players than he got in midweek, when they could only draw 1-1 at Lorient.
Metz, meanwhile, have won just one of their last eight league games, against Caen in Week 12. They did, however, manage to hold Bordeaux to a goalless draw at the Stade Saint-Symphorien in mid-week and Albert Cartier would settle a similar scoreline from this match.
– Marseille have spent the last 11 weeks at the top of Ligue 1.
– They have scored 33 goals in the league this season, the best record in the division.
– Metz have the worst away record in the league, with one win, one draw and six defeats from their eight games on the road.
– They have scored just once away from home this season, conceding 12.
– The last time this match was played was during the 2007/08 campaign, when Marseille won 3-1.