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Toulouse in with a fighting chance

Ligue 1 Talking Points writer Paul Bathurst takes a look at whether a rejuvenated Toulouse side under the new management of Pascal Dupraz can make the unlikeliest of escapes from Ligue 1 relegation.

A few weeks ago I wrote about Toulouse’s probable relegation, my suggestion was that new manager Pascal Dupraz did not have enough time to implement his ideas in order to successfully fight off an undesirable departure to Ligue 2.

After a 2-0 victory at home to Caen this weekend, TFC have now claimed 7 points from a possible 12 since their fresh managerial appointment. 7 points in just 4 games is not relegation form in any sense, it is more like top half form in fact and if they can continue in this manner, I estimate that they have a more decent chance at survival than many might have predicted.

Reims and Gazelec Ajaccio are realistically their direct competition for the final relegation spot. Troyes as we know are well and truly through the trapdoor, a situation which was finally made official at the weekend, but with Dupraz’s men just four points behind those two sides above them, they will fully believe they can pull off a great escape.

Having lost both of their previous games in Ligue 1, Reims and Gazelec are out of form at the most crucial stage of the campaign. When Dupraz was appointed, Toulouse were 8 points from safety and with that deficit now halved in just 4 games, both sides above will be looking nervously over their shoulders.

Le Tef face Bastia at home next, a side with generally terrible away form and comparatively no pressure on their shoulders with nothing to play for, which is followed by an away trip to a Lorient side in a similar position.

Both of these fixtures represent a realistic opportunity of maximum points for a side very much in form. Both of their direct relegation opponents are in poor form, and are now firmly under pressure.

I’m confident that if Toulouse do indeed claim 6 points in their next two, that they will be within 1 or 2 points of either Reims or Gazelec. After falling to a 1-2 defeat against Rennes just a month back with two last minute goals, the majority of fans would have been resigned to the drop. Dupraz has come in and given them hope, could they really pull themselves back from the brink?

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