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Ligue 1 Preview Gameweek 25

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European contenders clash and relegation candidates battle; the next round of fixtures in France’s top flight of football features some key games.

Monaco v Nice Date 06/02/2016 – Venue – Stade Louis II – Kick Off 13:00 (UK Time)

The first game of the weekend is between Monaco and Nice and it is a big match in the race for the European spots. The hosts are 2nd in the league table and seem to have got over their slip-up against Angers with a victory over Bastia on Tuesday. There are no concerns over the side that started the previous game so Leonardo Jardim may name an unchanged side.

Nice are hanging onto their place in the top six and they look to have bounced back after their defeat at Caen. Les Aiglons could still be without Mathieu Bodmer who is recovering from a knock, but other than this there is no relevant team news for Nice.

Angers v Lyon Date 06/02/2016 – Venue – Stade Jean Bouin – Kick Off 16:00 (UK Time)

Angers have been faced with some tough encounters in recent weeks, specifically the game against Monaco which they made look simple with a 3-0 win. They face Lyon on Saturday; a side that have been in poor form since just before Christmas. The hosts are 4th in the league and the three points would continue to put pressure on Monaco. Discipline and the avoidance of injuries have helped Angers and they have another fully fit squad available for this game.

Lyon need to start a run of form because they are being dragged into a surprise relegation battle as the weeks go on. In 10th place, they remain three points behind the top six and only eight ahead of the bottom three; a poor position considering they should be aiming for a Champions League place. Bakary Kone is the most recent absentee with a heel injury but Les Gones have almost a full squad available for selection.

Bastia v Troyes Date 06/02/2016 – Venue – Stade Armand Cesari – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

After their defeat at Monaco on Tuesday, Bastia will be looking to bounce back quickly and there is no better team to face than bottom of the table Troyes. Francois Ciccolini’s side are 15th in the table and they have won three and lost three in their last six outings. Florian Marange may still be out of action with a heel injury; the defender has been involved in 15 of Bastia’s league matches this season.

The likelihood of Troyes being immediately relegated to Ligue 2 is increasing as the weeks go by and they need to get a win against Bastia if they are to stand any chance of a revival. There are no concerns over the regular Troyes starting eleven, so their strongest side is expected to play at the Stade Armand Cesari.

Caen v Reims Date 06/02/2016 – Venue – Stade Michel d’Ornano – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Caen take on Reims in another big game for both sides. The hosts will be looking to expand on their already-impressive season and move further into the top six. They currently sit 6th in the standings and another three points would give them a bit of breathing space from 7th place. The absence of Jonathan Delaplace and Alaeddine Yahia may prove difficult for Caen.

A string of losses and draws have seen Reims slide further down the table with each fixture but they are now 16th after their huge win against Angers. It will be a tricky match for the visitors but they stand a chance of putting back-to-back wins together. The injuries to Theoson Siebatcheu and Anthony Weber have contributed to Caen’s struggle and they may still be sidelined for this encounter.

Gazélec Ajaccio v Guingamp Date 06/02/2016 – Venue – Stade Ange Casanova – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Relegation contenders Gazélec and Guingamp meet at the Stade Ange Casanova in a six-pointer of a match. The visitors have won some important games in recent weeks, particularly against Bastia and Toulouse, but they face another test on Saturday as they look to get away from the bottom three. Nicolas Benezet may be forced to sit this game out with injury and he could be a big miss for Guingamp.

Gazélec have had to put their good run in the back of their minds after going five games without a win, which has seen them drop down to 17th. Gregory Pujol remains the only name on the list of absentees for Thierry Laurey’s side.

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Lorient v Montpellier Date 06/02/2016 – Venue – Stade du Moustoir – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Lorient may be 12th in the league but they are far from safe in the fight to stay in Ligue 1; a loss against Montpellier would see them pulled right back into the mix. Les Merlus have done well to avoid injuries since before the new year and this means the majority of the squad is in contention for a place in the starting line-up.

Montpellier’s five losses in their last six games has seen them fall into the bottom three and another defeat would mean they’d drop further into the danger zone. They face a potentially tough game at the Stade du Moustoir but their recent match on the road resulted in an emphatic 4-0 victory at Gazélec. Jerome Roussillon may still be out of action with his calf injury for Montpellier.

Toulouse v Nantes Date 06/02/2016 – Venue – Stadium Municipal – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Toulouse face Nantes in a key game for both sides. The hosts remain 19th in the league but have fallen six points behind the safety point after four consecutive losses. Les Pitchouns welcome a Nantes side who that’s done well to avoid defeat for a couple of months. No new injury concerns or suspensions means Toulouse have their first team available to play.

Nantes will be full of confidence after making it two successive wins in the week with a victory over Gazélec and they have a great chance of making it three against another struggling side. Les Canaris are 7th in the league table and a win could see them climb as high as 4th. The same starting eleven is expected to feature at the Stadium Municipal on Saturday.

Lille v Rennes Date 07/02/2016 – Venue – Stade Pierre-Mauroy – Kick Off 13:00 (UK Time)

Lille’s victory over Caen in the week may be a sign of better things to come as they ended a five-match streak without a win. Les Dogues are currently 14th in the standings, just four points above the bottom three so they still have a long way to go. It will be a tough game even on home soil, but with no absentees and Rennes’ previous two losses, Lille will be feeling the better of the two sides going into this one.

Visitors Rennes have struggled to score goals in recent weeks, losing to Bordeaux and Saint-Étienne in the last two without finding the net. They are 9th in the league table but the three points at Lille could see them rise to 4th if results elsewhere go their way. Rennes will be lifted by the fact Fallou Diagne returns after completing his suspension.

Bordeaux v Saint-Étienne Date 07/02/2016 – Venue – Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux – Kick Off 16:00 (UK Time)

Bordeaux’s good run of form ended quite drastically in the week as they suffered a 3-0 loss at Lyon. Les Girondins are 11th and while they have the teams below them breathing down their neck, a win could see them back in contention for a European spot. There are no new concerns over the Bordeaux team after already struggling with numerous injuries, but Willy Sagnol may make some changes after a disappointing performance last time around.

Saint-Étienne’s narrow victory against Rennes on Thursday was enough to propel them back into the top six and they will aim to use those three points as a building block to kick-start their season. They are playing Bordeaux at a good time in the season with Les Girondins falling short at Lyon. A lack of notable absentees means Les Verts can push on for a strong finish to the season.

Marseille v Paris Saint-Germain Date 07/02/2016 – Venue – Stade Vélodrome – Kick Off 20:00 (UK Time)

The big game of the weekend is at the Stade Vélodrome where Marseille welcome championship-bound PSG. Les Parisians’ unconvincing performance against Lorient will give the hosts a bit of hope going into Sunday’s match as they continue to search for a European place. Les Olympiens have gone a couple of months unbeaten in the league and are now 8th, just two points short of the top six. Florian Thauvin will not feature for Marseille after he was sent off in the previous fixture against Montpellier.

It would take a complete catastrophe for PSG to fail to win the league now but they will still aim to go the season unbeaten. Laurent Blanc’s side face their toughest test yet at a stadium which can offer a hostile environment for the opposition. Marco Verratti is the only doubt for the league leaders as he is recovering from a knock.

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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