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Your Guide to the Ligue 1 Weekend 23 (2014/15)

Robert Bhamber is back to preview every single Ligue 1 game this weekend for your enjoyment. 

 

Friday: PSG (3rd) vs Rennes (10th) (19:30 GMT)

PSG can move to within one point of league leaders Lyon with a victory against Rennes at the Parc des Princes on Friday evening. The champions will be hoping to take advantage of playing before their rivals by piling the pressure on Hubert Fournier’s side and they head into this match on the back of last weekend’s impressive away win over St Etienne.

Rennes, however, are in terrible form right now, failing to win any of their last six league outings. This run of results has seen Philippe Montanier’s side fall away from the European qualification spots, into 10th place. They suffered a heavy 4-1 defeat at home to relegation candidates Caen last weekend and the fixture list isn’t about to get any kinder for Rennes; after this match against the champions, they have to face Marseille next weekend.

– PSG are the only Ligue 1 side to remain unbeaten at home in the league this season.

– They have scored 21 goals in their 10 home league matches so far, conceding only five.

– Rennes have taken just two points from the last 18 available.

– They have three wins, four draws and four defeats on the road this season.

– In the reverse fixture in Week 5, Rennes held PSG to a 1-1 draw at the Stade de la Route de Lorient.

 

Saturday: Marseille (2nd) vs Evian (16th) (15:30 GMT)

Marseille will be looking to put their inconsistent league form behind them as they take on Evian at the Stade Velodrome. The hosts have won three and drawn two of their last five league outings and have been overhauled by Lyon at the top of the table as a result. Last weekend’s loss at Nice summed up their poor form of late and Marcelo Bielsa knows his side must start stringing wins together if they are to sustain their title challenge.

Evian, on the other hand, will head into this match full of confidence after ending a six game winless run in the league last weekend. Their 1-0 victory at home to Toulouse was their first three points since the beginning of December and was enough to move them out of the bottom three for the first time this year. With Marseille’s form patchy at best right now; this might be the perfect time for Pascal Dupraz’s side to take on the L’OM.

– Marseille have lost three of their last four games in all competitions.

– They do, however, retain a good home record, having won 10 and lost just one of their 11 home league matches this season.

– Evian currently have the league’s worst defensive record, having conceded 38 goals in 22 matches so far.

– They have won two and lost nine of their away league games this season.

– In the reverse fixture in Week 5, Marseille beat Evian 3-1 at the Parc des Sports.

 

Saturday: Nantes (9th) vs Lille (13th) (19:00 GMT)

Both Nantes and Lille will be looking to get back to winning ways when they clash at the Stade de la Beaujoire on Saturday evening. The hosts are without a win in three league outings and suffered a heavy 4-0 loss away to Montpellier last weekend. Michel Der Zakarian will be looking for a response from his players as they aim for all three points here.

Lille, meanwhile, have lost their last two league matches, to Lorient and Monaco respectively, and remain stuck in mid-table as a result. They have won just seven league games in what has been a turbulent season for Rene Girard’s men and will be looking to avoid a third consecutive loss this weekend.

– Nantes have failed to score in their last three league games.

– They have won four, drawn five and lost two of their 11 home league matches so far this campaign.

– Lille haven’t won any of their last nine away league outings.

– They haven’t conceded a single goal in any of their seven league victories this season.

– In the reverse fixture in Week 5, Lille overcame Nantes 2-0 at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

 

Saturday: Toulouse (17th) vs Reims (11th) (19:00 GMT)

Toulouse take on Reims at the Stadium Municipal as they look to avoid dropping into the relegation zone for the first time this season. The hosts have been on a dreadful run of form as of late, with just two wins from their last 13 league outings. This run of results has seen Alain Casanova’s men fall from eighth to 17th in the table, where they sit just one point above the bottom three.

Reims, meanwhile, are sitting comfortably in mid-table, but no wins in their last three league games may be of concern to manager Jean-Luc Vasseur. Losses against St Etienne and Caen was followed up by a goalless draw at home to Lens last weekend, and the boss will be anxious to get back to winning ways sooner rather than later. 

– Toulouse have failed to win any of their last four home league games.

– They have scored just twice in their previous six league matches.

– Reims have taken nine points from a possible 30 on the road this season.

– This is their worst run of results in the league since the opening four weeks of the campaign, where they drew one and lost three of their first four matches.

– In the reverse fixture in Week 5, Reims beat Toulouse 2-0 at the Stade Auguste Delaune.

 

Saturday: Metz (20th) vs Nice (8th) (19:00 GMT)

Bottom-of-the-table Metz welcome in-form Nice to the Stade Saint-Symphorien on Saturday evening. The home side fell to last place after a 2-0 loss away to league leaders Lyon last weekend, where they are two points behind Toulouse in 17th. Albert Cartier’s side have now lost eight of their last 10 league outings.

Nice, however, are in a rich vein of form right now, having won their last three league games on the trot. Victories over Lorient and Bordeaux were followed up by an even more impressive win against title challengers Marseille last weekend. Claude Puel’s men have moved into the top half of the table as a result and they will be looking to solidify that position with a fourth consecutive league win against Metz.

– The last time Metz won a league game was back in Week 12; a 3-2 victory at home to Caen.

– However, they have won all three home league games this season in which they scored the first goal.

– Unsurprisingly, this is Nice’s best run of league form this season.

– They have lost just one of their last five league outings; 2-0 to Lens in Week 19.

– In the reverse fixture in Week 5, Nice beat Metz 1-0 at the Allianz Riviera.

 

Saturday: Lens (19th) vs Bastia (14th) (19:00 GMT)

Lens will be looking for their first win in four as they tackle Bastia at the Stade de la Licorne. Lens have returned to league action after the winter break with two successive 2-0 losses to Guingamp and Lyon and a goalless draw against Reims last weekend. They sit 19th in the table, two points from safety, although that might not matter if they do indeed have to return to Ligue 2 next season as per the Administrative Tribunal’s decision.

Bastia, meanwhile, will be looking to move further clear of the bottom three by taking all three points here this weekend. The visitors sit 14th in the table, two points above 18th placed Caen. They are now unbeaten in their last five league games, holding both Toulouse and Bordeaux to draws in their last two outings.

– Lens have spent 12 of the 22 games this season in the bottom three.

– Their last league win came in Week 19 – 2-0 at home against Nice.

– Bastia have taken just six points from a possible 30 on the road this season.

– They have lost every away league game this season in which they conceded first.

– In the reverse fixture in Week 5, these two teams drew 1-1 at the Stade Armand Cesari.

 

Saturday: Lorient (15th) vs Montpellier (6th) (19:00 GMT)

Lorient take on an in-form Montpellier side at the Stade du Moustoir this weekend. The hosts have lost four of their last six league games and sit 15th in the table, just two points clear of the relegation zone. A 3-2 loss away to Guingamp last weekend did nothing to help their cause and manager Sylvain Ripoll will want his side to put some distance between themselves and the bottom three as soon as possible.

Montpellier, on the other hand, are in fantastic form right now, having won their last three league outings. They demolished Nantes 4-0 at home last weekend and will be expecting yet another victory when they travel to Lorient on Saturday. They now sit sixth in the league on 35 points.

– Lorient have won four, drawn two and lost five of their 11 home league games this season.

– They have scored 12 and conceded 10 in these matches.

– Montpellier are unbeaten in their last six league matches, winning four of them.

– All four of their away league losses this season have been after they conceded the opening goal.

– In the reverse fixture in Week 5, Montpellier beat Lorient 1-0.

 

Sunday: Caen (18th) vs St Etienne (4th) (13:00 GMT)

A resurgent Caen welcome St Etienne to the Stade Michel d’Ornano on Sunday afternoon. The hosts have revived their hopes of surviving in Ligue 1 in the last couple of weeks, after consecutive 4-1 victories over Reims and Rennes respectively. They have risen from the bottom of the table to 18th, just one point behind Toulouse.

St Etienne, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat at home to PSG. That result ended a 12 league game unbeaten streak for the visitors and meant that St Etienne lost ground in the race for the league’s Champions League qualification positions. Heading into the weekend, St Etienne are four points behind PSG and Marseille and eight behind league leaders Lyon, although these totals are likely to have increased even further by the time this match gets underway.

– Caen have recorded back-to-back league wins for the first time this season.

– They had won just one league game in 17 attempts before beating Reims two weeks ago.

– St Etienne have lost just four of their last 31 league games.

– They have won all five away league games this season in which they opened the scoring.

– In the reverse fixture in Week 5, St Etienne beat Caen 1-0 at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

 

Sunday: Bordeaux (7th) vs Guingamp (12th) (16:00 GMT)

Bordeaux will be hoping to return to winning ways when they host Guingamp at the Stade Chaban-Delmas. The home side are without a win in their last five league outings, a run of results which has seen them lose ground on the league’s front runners and left them seventh in the standings. A lack of goals has been a major problem for Willy Sagnol’s side recently.

Guingamp, meanwhile, have won five of their last seven league games and have steered themselves clear of the relegation zone in the process. The visitors, who were bottom of the league at the end of November, now sit in 12th position, a comfortable seven points above the bottom three. Jocelyn Gourvennec will be hoping his side can take advantage of Bordeaux’s recent poor form and take all three points in this match. 

– Bordeaux have scored just two goals in their last five league games.

– Their two home league losses this season have both come in their most recent home games, against Lyon and Nice.

– Guingamp have lost just one of their last seven league outings – 2-1 away to Marseille in Week 21.

– They have taken 10 points from a possible 30 on the road this season.

– In the reverse fixture in Week 5, Guingamp beat Bordeaux 2-1 at the Stade du Roudourou.

 

Sunday: Monaco (5th) vs Lyon (1st) (20:00 GMT)

The weekend’s final match is undoubtedly the biggest, as the league’s two most in-form sides clash at the Stade Louis II. The hosts are unbeaten in their last seven league outings, winning all but one of them and have recovered from their early season troubles. They now sit fifth in the table, nine points behind their opponents this weekend and just five behind the likes of Marseille and current champions PSG.

Lyon, meanwhile, have won each of their last seven league matches, opening up a four point lead at the top of the table as a result. They haven’t conceded a goal in their last five league games and are also the league’s highest scorers this season. Manager Hubert Fournier will know that victory here is vital, as PSG and Marseille may both have closed the gap at the top to just one point by the time this match gets underway.

– Monaco haven’t conceded a goal in their last seven league games.

– Fifth is the highest that Monaco have been in the table all season.

– Lyon have lost just one of their last 18 Ligue 1 games, a run that stretches back to September.

– They have taken 15 points from a possible 30 on the road this season.

– In the reverse fixture in Week 5, Lyon beat Monaco 2-1 at the Stade de Gerland.

R.B.

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