Robert Bhamber takes you through a comprehensive preview of this weekend’s Ligue 1 action after a successful mid-week for French sides in Europe.
Friday: Reims (19th) vs Bordeaux (2nd) (19:30 GMT)
The action kicks off on Friday evening as Reims host Bordeaux at the Stade Auguste Delaune. The hosts have lost their last two league games, conceding eight goals in the process, and have slipped into the bottom three as a result. While the loss to in-form Marseille in Week 7 was widely expected, the manner of their 3-0 loss away at Metz last week would have alarmed boss Jean-Luc Vasseur and he will be demanding a better performance from his players on Friday.
Bordeaux, meanwhile, head into this match knowing a win will take them back to the top of Ligue 1, for 24 hours at least. They have responded well to the 2-1 loss away at Guingamp in Week 5 and are unbeaten in their last three league games since, keeping to within two points of league leaders Marseille.
– Reims have conceded 19 times this season – the highest tally in the league.
– They have won just two of their last 10 league home games.
– Bordeaux have already spent three weeks on top of the league so far this season.
– Eight different players have scored for Bordeaux in the league this season – no other team has had more individual goalscorers.
– Last season, Reims won this match 1-0.
Saturday: Caen (13th) vs Marseille (1st) (16:00 GMT)
Caen welcome league leaders Marseille to the Stade Michel d’Ornano on Saturday afternoon. The newly promoted side started the season with two wins in their opening three games, but things have not gone their way since. They are winless in their last five and have two tough games in the pipeline; Marseille this week and a trip to Bordeaux after the international break.
The situation couldn’t be any different for the visitors, with Marcelo Bielsa’s team currently on a six game winning streak in the league. They overcame their toughest test of the season last week with a 2-1 victory against St Etienne and anything less than a seventh successive win this weekend would be a major surprise.
– Caen have conceded eight goals so far this season, half of which were penalties.
– They have the worst home record in the division, having lost all three of their home games so far this campaign.
– Marseille’s six game winning streak is their best run in the league since a similar spell between August and September 2012.
– They are unbeaten away from home in the league this season; winning three and drawing one.
– The last time these two teams played each other at the Stade Michel d’Ornano was in the Coupe de la Ligue quarter-finals in 2011/12. Marseille won the match 3-0.
Saturday: Rennes (15th) vs Lens (14th) (19:00 GMT)
Rennes will be looking to end their losing streak as they take on Lens at the Stade de la Route de Lorient. The home side have lost each of their last three league outings, against Marseille, Toulouse and Bordeaux respectively. Philippe Montanier will be hoping that a home game against a newly-promoted side can provide the perfect platform for his side to return to winning ways.
Lens have the exact same amount of points as their opponents this weekend (eight), but sit one place higher in the league due to their superior goal difference. Antoine Kombouare’s men are winless in their last four league matches after losing against St Etienne and Evian while sharing the points in matches with Bastia and, most recently, Caen.
– Rennes have won just two league games this season; at home against Evian and away at Caen.
– They have conceded eight goals in their last three games, scoring just once in reply.
– Lens have also won only two league games so far; away at Lyon and at home against Reims.
– They have taken four points from 12 on the road this campaign.
– The last time this fixture was played was during 2010/11, with Rennes coming out 2-0 winners.
Saturday: Bastia (16th) vs Lorient (17th) (19:00 GMT)
Two teams desperate for points meet at the Stade Armand Cesari as Bastia take on Lorient. Claude Makelele has seen his team win just once in the league so far, with Bastia currently on a five game winless run. The home side have drawn half of their league games this season, so Makelele will be hoping his side can start turning draws into wins in the coming weeks.
Visitors Lorient are in a similarly bad situation. They have fallen from sixth to 17th in the league recently, having lost each of their last four games, to Montpellier, Reims, Lyon and Evian respectively. Manager Sylvain Ripoll will be hoping that playing a side in just as bad a situation as them can provide a good opportunity to end their losing streak and start to climb back up the table.
– Bastia have scored just seven goals in their eight league matches so far.
– Despite what their league position might suggest, they are unbeaten at home so far this season, winning one and drawing three.
– Lorient haven’t scored in any of those four league defeats, conceding eight goals without reply.
– They have won three points from 12 on the road this campaign.
– Last season, Bastia comfortably won this match 4-1.
Saturday: Nice (8th) vs Montpellier (7th) (19:00 GMT)
An in-form Nice side will be looking to continue their recent run of good results as they play Montpellier at the Allianz Riviera. The hosts have won three of their last four league games, producing shock victories over Lille and Monaco in their previous two. These results have taken them from 17th to eighth in the table and manager Claude Puel will want to climb even higher by taking all three points again this weekend.
Montpellier, meanwhile, have been inconsistent in their eight games so far this season, having won four, lost three and drawn the other. They overcame Guingamp 2-1 at home last week and will need to put a string of victories together if they are to sustain a position in the top half of the table. They will especially want to win this game for manager Rolland Courbis, who was hospitalised after a minor heart attack earlier this week.
– Nice have taken nine points from 12 at home this season, losing only to Bordeaux.
– All four of their wins this season have been by a one goal margin.
– Montpellier have won four points from nine on the road so far.
– They have beaten Marseille, drawn with Lille and lost to Nantes away from home this campaign.
– Last season, this match ended 2-2.
Saturday: Evian (18th) vs Metz (5th) (19:00 GMT)
Resurgent Evian go head-to-head with in-form Metz at the Parc des Sports, with both sides looking to extend their run of good form. Having won none of their first six games of the season, the hosts have won their last two league games, beating Lens 2-1 at home before winning 2-0 away at Lorient last weekend.
Metz, meanwhile, have won four of their last five league games, the only stumble coming in a tight 1-0 loss away at Nice. Their good form has seen them climb to fifth in the league, only five points behind league leaders Marseille, but Albert Cartier knows that this fixture will now no longer be as easy as it looked a couple of weeks ago.
– Evian climbed off the bottom of the table for the first time this season thanks to last week’s win at Lorient.
– The 2-0 win at the Stade du Moustoir was only their second clean sheet of the season.
– Metz have conceded just three goals in their last five league games.
– They have beaten Guingamp, drawn with Lille and lost to Montpellier and Nice away from home this season.
– The last time this fixture was played at Evian was in Ligue 2 during the 2011/11 season, with Evian winning the game 4-3.
Sunday: St Etienne (6th) vs Toulouse (11th) (13:00 GMT)
St Etienne will be looking to get back to winning ways when they host Toulouse at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Sunday afternoon. Les Verts are without a win in their last two league games, after drawing with Bordeaux and losing at Marseille last week. They have fallen five points off the top as a result, a gap that Christophe Galtier won’t want to see getting any bigger over the coming weeks.
Toulouse, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last three Ligue 1 matches and held champions PSG to a creditable 1-1 draw at the Stadium Municipal last weekend. They also recently recorded their first league away win of the campaign, winning 3-0 at Rennes during Week 7.
– St Etienne have not been out of the top half of Ligue 1 since January 2013.
– They are unbeaten at home in the league so far, winning two and drawing two.
– Toulouse have conceded 11 goals so far this season.
– Only Andre-Pierre Gignac (8) of Marseille has scored more goals than Toulouse’s Wissam Ben Yedder (5) in the league this season.
– Last season, Toulouse won 2-1 at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
Sunday: Guingamp (20th) vs Nantes (9th) (16:00 GMT)
Guingamp will look to move off the foot of the table with a victory over Nantes at the Stade du Roudourou. The hosts have lost six of their eight league games so far this campaign and last week fell to the bottom of Ligue 1 thanks to the combination of their defeat at Montpellier and Evian’s victory over Lorient.
Nantes will be hoping to take advantage of Guingamp’s bad form and claim all three points in their quest to move further up the table. The visitors are unbeaten in their last three, having beaten Nice at home and then drawn with Bastia and Lyon. They are, however, still waiting for their first away win of the season.
– Guingamp have won just two games in the league this season; away at Lens and at home against Bordeaux.
– They have conceded 12 league goals so far, scoring four in return.
– Nantes have drawn away at Metz and Bastia, but lost at Lille in Week 5.
– They have scored just once on the road and conceded three times.
– Last season, Guingamp won this match 1-0.
Sunday: Lyon (10th) vs Lille (3rd) (16:00 GMT)
Two heavyweights of Ligue 1 clash at the Stade de Gerland on Sunday afternoon, with Lyon taking on Lille. The hosts have been in decent form of late; they are unbeaten in their last four league games, beating Monaco and Lorient while sharing the points with PSG and Nantes. However, manager Hubert Fournier will be looking to make a major statement of intent by overcoming a Lille side that have lost just once in the league this season.
The visitors responded to that loss, a 1-0 defeat away to Nice, with a narrow win over Bastia last weekend. The former league leaders have slipped four points behind current leaders Marseille in recent weeks, so Rene Girard will be hoping his team can claim an impressive victory here in order to keep the gap between them and Marcelo Bielsa’s men as tight as possible.
– Lyon have taken nine points from 12 at home in the league so far, losing only to Lens in Week 3.
– They have scored eight goals at home in Ligue 1 this season, conceding just two in the process.
– Lille have won one, drawn one and lost one on the road in the league this season.
– They beat Caen, drew 1-1 at Monaco before losing at Nice recently.
– Last season, this match ended as a goalless draw.
Sunday: PSG (4th) vs Monaco (12th) (20:00 GMT)
The last game of the weekend is also the biggest, as champions PSG host last season’s runners up Monaco at the Parc des Princes. The capital club are heading into this match full of confidence on the back of their impressive 3-2 victory over Barcelona in the Champions League in midweek. However, their league form hasn’t been quite as spectacular; they may be unbeaten in their eight league games so far, but five of them have been draws.
Monaco, meanwhile, held Zenit St Petersburg to a goalless draw on Wednesday, a result that leaves them in a strong position in their group. The word strong can’t be used to describe their league position though, as four losses in their opening eight games have left Leonardo Jardim’s side languishing in 12th. Given their current form, Monaco fans probably won’t be expecting to win this game, but, as Lyon proved recently, it is possible to take at least one point from the home of the champions.
– The champions are yet to top the league this season; they are five points behind Marseille heading into the weekend.
– They have scored 14 times so far, a figure only bettered by Marseille and Bordeaux.
– With four defeats, Monaco have already lost as many games as they did in the whole of last season.
– They have scored just seven times in the league this campaign, half the amount of their opponents.
– Last season, this match ended 1-1.