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Ligue 1 Preview Gameweek 3

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With a number of teams in unexpected league positions going into the third round of Ligue 1 fixtures, it looks as though some of these games could be season-defining.

Our French Ligue 1 expert Mark Sheppard takes us through the previews of the weeks action coming up

Montpellier v Paris Saint-Germain
Date 21/08/2015 – Venue – Stade de la Mosson – Kick Off 19:30 (UK Time)

It’s a clash between the top of the league and the bottom of the league as champions PSG travel to Montpellier on Friday. Montpellier have struggled this season; losing to Angers and Rennes and are yet to score a goal. They have no new injury concerns for this upcoming match but manager Rolland Courbis could well shuffle his team in an attempt to find a winning formula. They are lacking in front of goal in addition to being unable to prevent other teams from scoring; something they’ll need to correct for this game.

PSG have started the season as expected, winning their first two games, scoring goals and keeping two clean sheets. Zlatan Ibrahimovic could still be out with an injury, as could Marquinhos who is recovering from a thigh injury. It may also be too early for Angel Di Maria to be involved as he is lacking match fitness, but he was introduced to Les Parisians before the match against Gazélec last Sunday.

Lyon v Rennes
Date 22/08/2015 – Venue – Stade de Gerland – Kick Off 16:00 (UK Time)

Lyon will look to keep in sight of PSG when they host Rennes on Saturday, as they are only two points behind the leaders after a much needed win at Guingamp. While it looks like Alexandre Lacazette and Nabil Fekir will retain their place in the starting eleven, there is strong competition for the third attacking position between new signings Mathieu Valbuena and Claudio Beauvue. Despite losing his place to Valbuena last weekend, Beauvue scored his first goal for Les Gones as a substitute and will be hoping to start this match.

Rennes are just two places below Lyon in 9th following their win at home to Montpellier, but they will need to be resilient against a growing Lyon side. Giovanni Sio will be hoping to add another goal to his tally in this game, making it look like a promising attacking spectacle from both teams.

Bastia v Guingamp
Date 22/08/2015 – Venue – Stade Armand Cesari – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Both of these teams have had very different starts to the season with Bastia in 5th after a win and a draw, and Guingamp in the bottom three on the back of two 1-0 losses. Bastia are still without the suspended Brandao, so Christopher Maboulou is expected to keep his place in the team. The latest injury news is Gilles Cioni, Julian Palmieri and Sadio Diallo who were announced last week.

Guingamp need a win to kick-start their season as they are currently in 18th place, above Marseille and Montpellier who aren’t expected to stay in the bottom three much longer. To avoid dropping to the bottom of the table at this early stage they need to start scoring goals, as it is evident they are missing their top goal scorer from last season, Claudio Beauvue. They have no injuries or suspensions for this match so Jocelyn Gourvennec has no issues with his team selection.

Gazélec Ajaccio v Angers
Date 22/08/2015 – Venue – Stade Ange Casanova – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Angers have found life back in the top flight much easier to adapt to than their hosts as they’ve had an unbeaten start to the season, beating Montpellier and drawing with Nantes. Gazélec sit just one place above the relegation zone in 17th with one point after drawing with fellow promoted side Troyes. They are another side who are yet to find the net this season and will be looking to put this right as this is a game they should be winning.

With Angers already putting in some great performances against some stronger teams, they will also be seeing this game as one which could stretch their unbeaten beginning of the season even further. They are currently 4th in the league standings and are yet to concede a goal so the confidence will definitely be with Angers ahead of the match with Gazélec. Having avoided injuries and suspensions in their game last weekend against Nantes, the strongest Angers team is available and they will be looking to gain all three points and boost their goal difference this Saturday.

Nantes v Reims
Date 22/08/2015 – Venue – Stade de la Beaujoire – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Nantes and Reims have both had great starts to this year’s Ligue 1 campaign, currently unbeaten and heading in the right direction. Nantes are in 8th despite not actually scoring a goal through one of their own players; an own goal gave them a victory against Guingamp and they earned a draw against Angers in their second game. They have no new injury news, but with Emiliano Sala still sidelined they may stick with the same 4-4-2 formation as last week.

Reims will be looking to continue their 100% record which sees them in 2nd place after impressive victories over Bordeaux and Marseille. They have held a strong defensive line in their first two games and with the goals coming from both defenders and strikers; it is no wonder they are gaining some excellent results. Nicolas de Preville will be looking to get on the score sheet once again and with his team playing so well, manager Olivier Guegan has no real difficulties with his selection.

About Mark Sheppard

I am an 18-year-old Journalism and Media student at De Montfort University, Leicester. I enjoy writing, especially about sport because my interests involve football, snooker, rugby, F1 and tennis.

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Photo Credit: CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images.


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