Robert Bhamber previews another Ligue 1 weekend.
Saturday: Nantes (9th) vs Bordeaux (5th) (16:00 GMT)
Nantes will be hoping to end a run of three successive league defeats when they face Bordeaux in the Atlantic derby at the Stade de la Beaujoire. Losses to Marseille, Toulouse and PSG in the past couple of weeks have seen Nantes lose ground at the top end of the table, falling from fifth to ninth. They managed to take the lead at the Parc des Princes last weekend, but eventually fell to a 2-1 defeat.
Bordeaux, meanwhile, are heading into the derby needing all three points to keep within touching distance of the leading pack in Ligue 1. They sit fifth in the table, four points away from Lyon in third, who managed a 3-0 win over Caen on Friday night. Willy Sagnol’s men won 3-2 against Lorient in their last league outing.
– Nantes have won just one of their last six league games.
– They have not managed to score more than two goals in a league game this season.
– Bordeaux have not dropped below seventh all season.
– However, they have conceded 20 goals, more than any other club in the top nine heading into the weekend.
– Last season, this match ended as a goalless draw.
Saturday: Montpellier (8th) vs Lens (18th) (19:00 GMT)
Montpellier will be looking to build on last weekend’s surprise 4-0 victory over Rennes as they take on Lens at the Altrad Stadium. Rolland Courbis’ men shocked everyone when they dismantled Rennes in the league last Saturday and Courbis will surely be hoping for a repeat performance here. However, given Montpellier’s inconsistency, this seems unlikely.
Struggling Lens have won just four league games all season and currently sit inside the bottom three, two points away from Lorient in 17th. However, they have shown signs of improvement in recent weeks, with a 2-0 win over Metz and by holding Lille to a 1-1 draw at the Stade de la Licorne last Sunday.
– Montpellier’s inconsistent form has seen them win four, lose four and draw two of their last 10 league games.
– They have kept clean sheets in all but one of their league wins this season.
– Lens have spent the last five weeks in the relegation zone.
– They have lost each of their last three away league games.
– The last time this match was played was during the 2010/11 season, when Lens won 4-1.
Saturday: Reims (10th) vs Evian (14th) (19:00 GMT)
Reims will be aiming to avoid a third consecutive defeat as they tackle Evian at the Stade Auguste Delaune. Losses to Lyon and Guingamp in the past couple of weeks have seen Reims loosen their grip on a top half position, slipping from eighth to 10th in the table. Jean-Luc Vasseur will be hoping his side can get back on track here and claim all three points.
Meanwhile, Evian’s resurgence hit a roadblock last weekend in the form of Lyon. Their run of three wins on the bounce was ended after Lyon emerged 3-2 winners in a close game at the Parc des Sports. Their spell of good form did manage to give them some breathing space from the bottom three, they currently sit four points ahead of 18th placed Lens, but Pascal Dupraz will be aware that his side cannot afford lose games consistently.
– Reims have won 16 points from 27 available in home league games this season.
– However, they have yet to win at home this season in a game in which they have conceded first.
– Evian have managed to two league wins on the road this campaign.
– They have scored seven and conceded 14 on their travels.
– Last season, Reims won this match 1-0.
Saturday: Bastia (19th) vs Rennes (6th) (19:00 GMT)
Bastia will come up against a Rennes side looking to get back to winning ways when they meet at the Stade Armand Cesari on Saturday. The hosts have struggled this season; they have lost their last three league matches and sit 19th in the table, above bottom-side Caen on goal difference only. Ghislain Printant has yet to see his side win a match, something he needs to change as soon as possible.
Rennes, meanwhile, saw their fantastic eight match unbeaten streak finally come to an end last weekend, and in emphatic fashion too, as they were demolished 4-0 on home turf by Montpellier. Philippe Montanier will now be looking for a response from his players in this match, with three points needed to keep up with the likes of Bordeaux and St Etienne who sit just above them in the table.
– Bastia have won just three league games all season; at home against Toulouse and Montpellier and away at Nice.
– They have spent seven weeks of the season in the relegation zone.
– Before losing to Montpellier last weekend, Rennes had won each of their last four league games.
– They have won three, drawn three and lost three on the road in the league this season.
– Last season, Bastia won this match 1-0.
Saturday: Lorient (17th) vs Metz (13th) (19:00 GMT)
Lorient will be hoping to put some distance between themselves and the bottom three with a win against Metz at the Stade du Moustoir. Despite their lowly league position, the hosts have lost just one of their last four matches, narrowly going down 3-2 away at Bordeaux last weekend. Wins against Lens and Toulouse, as well as a 1-1 draw with Marseille, have seen Lorient rise from the foot of the table to 17th in recent weeks and manager Sylvain Ripoll will hope his side can increase the current two point gap between themselves and the bottom three.
Metz, meanwhile, have suffered a drastic loss of form as of late, winning just one of their last nine league outings. This run of results has seen them fall from fifth to 13th in the division and a comprehensive 3-1 defeat at Marseille last time out didn’t help their cause either. Manager Albert Cartier needs his side to get back on form soon, especially if they want to avoid getting sucked into a fight for survival in the second half of the season.
– Lorient have won just two of their eight home league games this season, against Guingamp and Lens.
– They have scored seven and conceded seven in those eight games.
– Metz have the league’s worst away record this season, taking just four points from a possible 27 on the road.
– Their only away win came in Week 7, against Guingamp.
– The last time this match was played was during the 2007/08 season, when Lorient won 2-0.
Sunday: Nice (11th) vs St Etienne (4th) (13:00 GMT)
Nice will be hoping that St Etienne suffer from a Europa League hangover when the teams meet at the Allianz Riviera on Sunday afternoon. The hosts won their first game in six league outings last weekend, as they emerged 3-2 winners away at Caen, and manager Claude Puel will be hoping that that result can kick-start a run of good form for his side.
St Etienne, meanwhile, head into this match on the back of a long, disappointing trip to Ukraine. They fell to a 1-0 defeat against Dnipro on Thursday, which meant they finished bottom of their group and crashed out of the Europa League. However, their league form makes for much better reading; they are unbeaten in their last eight outings and have won their last three games without conceding a goal. Christophe Galtier will hope that continues here.
– Nice’s win over Caen was their first in the league since their 7-2 thrashing of Guingamp in Week 11.
– They have failed to win any of their last five home league games, drawing two and losing three.
– St Etienne have not dropped out of the top half of Ligue 1 since January 2013.
– They have conceded just 12 goals in their opening 17 games, the joint-best record in the division along with PSG.
– Last season, St Etienne won this match 1-0.
Sunday: Guingamp (16th) vs PSG (2nd) (16:00 GMT)
Guingamp face the unenviable task of trying to prevent PSG going top of the league when they meet at the Stade du Roudourou. The hosts have recorded a couple of impressive results recently; a 5-1 win over Caen and a 3-2 victory away at Reims have seen them move off the bottom of the table and up to 16th. However, manager Jocelyn Gourvennec knows his side face a tough task to take anything from this match against the champions.
Meanwhile, PSG will be looking to overhaul Marseille at the league’s summit, for a few hours at least, with a victory here. The capital club lost their first match in all competitions earlier this week as they were beaten 3-1 by Barcelona in the Champions League, so Laurent Blanc will want his players to bounce back and show their character in this game.
– Guingamp have won three and lost six at home in the league this season.
– They have lost all five home matches in which they conceded first.
– PSG remain undefeated in the league and have won four and drawn five on the road.
– They have conceded just 12 goals in their opening 17 games, the joint-best record in the division along with St Etienne.
– Last season, Guingamp held PSG to a 1-1 draw in this match.
Sunday: Lille (15th) vs Toulouse (12th) (16:00 GMT)
Lille will be aiming to finally end their dreadful run of form when they take on Toulouse at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy. The hosts haven’t won any of their last eight league outings and currently sit 15th in the league, just three points above the relegation zone. On top of this, they were comprehensively beaten 3-0 at home by Wolfsburg on Thursday, crashing out of the Europa League as they finished bottom of their group. Rene Girard needs to turn things around quickly.
Toulouse, meanwhile, have lost three of their last four league games. Alain Casanova’s men have spent the season so far floating aimlessly in mid-table, never threatening to break into the leading pack but good enough to avoid being sucked into the group with those struggling at the bottom of the league. They lost 2-0 to Monaco last time out but Casanova will hope his side can take advantage of Lille’s bad form to take all three points here.
– Lille’s last league win came in Week 8, at home against Bastia.
– They have taken 13 points from a possible 24 in home league games this season.
– Toulouse have won three and lost six on the road in the league.
– They have scored nine and conceded 13 goals in these games.
– Last season, Lille won this match 1-0.
Sunday: Monaco (7th) vs Marseille (1st) (20:00 GMT)
Monaco will be looking to replicate their Champions League success in the league as table toppers Marseille visit the Stade Louis II. The hosts qualified for the last 16 of the competition as group winners in midweek and manager Leonardo Jardim will be hoping that his side can continue this success in domestic action. They have won their last two league games, against Lens and Toulouse, but Marseille will provide a much tougher challenge.
The visitors head into the weekend one point clear of PSG at the top of the league, but may find themselves second by the time this match gets underway. Therefore, it is vital that Marcelo Bielsa’s men take all three points from this contest, as they look to stay one step ahead of the current champions, as well as Lyon, in the race for this season’s title.
– Monaco have not been higher than seventh in the league all season.
– They have won 12 points from 24 available at home.
– Marseille have scored 36 goals in their 17 league games so far; the best goal-scoring record in the division.
– They have spent the last 12 weeks at the top of Ligue 1.
– Last season, Monaco won this match 2-0.