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Ligue 1 Preview Gameweek 26

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The latest round of Ligue 1 fixtures includes big matches at both the top and the bottom of the league.

Rennes v Angers Date 12/02/2016 – Venue – Roazhon Park – Kick Off 19:30 (UK Time)

The first game of the weekend sees Rennes face Angers, in a surprise battle for a place in the top six. Both sides have been on the end of a dip in form in recent weeks and will look to get back to winning ways on Friday evening. After some tough fixtures, Rennes have gone three games without a win after losing to Bordeaux and Saint-Étienne and drawing with Lille, slipping to 9th. Yacouba Sylla has been ruled out of this game with a knee injury, alongside Mexer who has a foot problem.

Angers have lost two games in a row and have dropped to 5th as a result, holding onto a place in the top six by just one point. Last week’s heavy defeat to Lyon was a bit of a reality check for Angers and they need to get some points on the board if they are to avoid finishing any lower than mid-table. Thomas Mangani is suspended for the visitors as he was dismissed in the match last weekend.

Paris Saint-Germain v Lille Date 13/02/2016 – Venue – Parc des Princes – Kick Off 16:00 (UK Time)

PSG will be looking to make it 35 Ligue 1 games without defeat as they welcome Lille to the Parc des Princes on Saturday. Les Parisians have a 24-point lead at the top of the table and with Lille struggling for form, it looks as though it might be another one-sided affair in the French giants’ favour. There are no recent additions to PSG’s list of absentees, meaning the side that started the game against Marseille will probably be named again.

In 15th place, Lille won’t like the look of a trip to the capital in an attempt to avoid falling even closer to the bottom three. If results don’t go in their favour, Les Dogues could be within one point of the danger zone by the end of the weekend. Sofiane Boufal is out with a suspension after being sent off in the previous match against Rennes.

Gazélec Ajaccio v Troyes Date 13/02/2016 – Venue – Stade Ange Casanova – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

A great opportunity for Gazélec to make some ground on the teams above them comes against the league’s bottom side, Troyes. The hosts are 17th after going six games without a win and with Lille playing at PSG, Gazélec desperately need maximum points haul in this match. John Tshibumbu is the only doubt for Gazélec after going off injured last week.

It’s getting more and more difficult to see a fightback from Troyes and as they face another side around them in the league, it can be said if they don’t win this match they are as good as relegated. Bottom of the league and 16 points from safety with only 13 games to go, they are in a very tough position to recover from. More bad news for the visitors is that Matthieu Saunier may be sidelined with a knock, while Brayan Perea and Fabien Camus are suspended.

Guingamp v Bordeaux Date 13/02/2016 – Venue – Stade du Roudourou – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Just two points separate 11th place Bordeaux from 13th place Guingamp and three points from Saturday’s encounter would do either side’s campaign the world of good. Les Girondins were looking to establish a strong push for a place in the top six, but heavy defeats against Lyon and Saint-Étienne means they have dropped back down to mid-table and have to start again. Bordeaux still have a long list of absentees; the most recent of which being Cheick Diabate after getting sent off in the previous match.

This game could really define Guingamp’s season as they sit five points behind the European spots, but only five points above the relegation zone. With the teams below them having the potential to pick up points this weekend, they are in desperate need of a win. They have done well against the teams around or below them in recent weeks, avoiding defeat in the last six outings, but they need to take their performances to the next level now. The hosts may still be without Nicolas Benezet and Jonathan Martins Pereira through injury, while Younousse Sankhare and Lionel Mathis are still suspended.

Montpellier v Toulouse Date 13/02/2016 – Venue – Stade de la Mosson – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Another big game at the bottom of Ligue 1 is between Montpellier and Toulouse at the Stade de la Mosson. They are both 18th and 19th in the league standings respectively, with five points separating them so the outcome of this match is huge. Toulouse need the win to avoid potentially being nine points from safety by the end of the weekend, but mainly to close the gap on Montpellier. William Matheus’ knee injury and Martin Braithwaite’s ankle sprain may keep them on the sideline for les Pitchouns.

Montpellier’s last seven games has involved five defeats; the 4-0 thrashing of Gazélec being the only notable performance. A relegation battle is the last thing Montpellier should be involved in but a loss to Toulouse could see them in real danger of a tense finish to the season. No recent injuries or suspensions gives Frederic Hantz a lot of choice in his team selection.

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Nantes v Lorient Date 13/02/2016 – Venue – Stade de la Beaujoire – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

An intriguing tie between Nantes and Lorient takes place at the Stade de la Beaujoire. The hosts are flying at the moment; avoiding defeat in the last couple of months. A win for Les Canaris could see them rise form 7th up to as high as 4th and it is a big possibility against a Lorient side who is struggling to find the winning formula. Kolbeinn Sigthorsson is the only doubt for Nantes as he is recovering from flu.

Lorient have won just twice in their last ten games and a disappointing result against Montpellier last weekend saw them end the weekend in 12th place. It will be a difficult match against a resilient Nantes team, but with only Francois Bellugou out through suspension, Les Merlus will be hoping to end an inconsistent run of form.

Reims v Bastia Date 13/02/2016 – Venue – Stade Auguste Delaune – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Bastia travel to the Stade Auguste Delaune to face Reims in another massive game at the bottom of Ligue 1. The hosts are just 16th and three points above the bottom three, but wins against Angers and Caen showed signs of a revival. Jaba Kankava is suspended for Reims, while David N’Gog may also be missing due to an illness.

The visitors’ inconsistent run of four wins and three defeats in their last seven games leaves them in 14th, but a win against Reims will take them five points above of their opposition. They are only five points above the relegation zone, which means in this game would give them a bit of breathing space. Jean-Louis Leca remains the only notable absentee for Bastia, as he is forced to sit out with a suspension.

Lyon v Caen Date 14/02/2016 – Venue – Stade des Lumieres – Kick Off 13:00 (UK Time)

The first of Sunday’s matches is at the Stade des Lumieres where Lyon host Caen. After a disappointing couple of months in the league, Les Gones look to be back to their best with consecutive 3-0 wins against Bordeaux and Angers, taking them back into the top six. They face a tough test in this game against a Caen side that has shown the ability to cause an upset this season. Lyon will be without Aldo Kalulu and Rafael, who have both been ruled out with injuries.

Caen are only below Lyon due to a weaker goal difference, sitting 8th in the league table. A couple of disappointing results gives the visitors something to think about however, after defeats to Lille and Reims who are both fighting for their Ligue 1 status. A win would most probably take Caen back into the top six, but they will have to do it without the injured Alaeddine Yahia and Ismael Diomande.

Saint-Étienne v Monaco Date 14/02/2016 – Venue – Stade Geoffroy-Guichard – Kick Off 16:00 (UK Time)

The big game of the weekend takes place at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, where Saint-Étienne welcome Monaco in the battle for a Champions League place. Les Verts are 4th after wins against Rennes and Bordeaux, and they are currently six points behind Monaco so a win would really put the pressure on their European rivals. Christophe Bahebeck may have to miss this game through a knee problem, as will Kevin Monnet-Paquet who is recovering from an ankle issue.

As PSG have already run away with top spot, Monaco have got to try and hold on to 2nd place. They face a huge test at Saint-Étienne who are challenging them for a place in next season’s Champions League. Leonardo Jardim’s side has a loss to Angers in between four victories in their last five games, so they are in good form heading into this encounter. Fabio Coentrao is out of action after fracturing his foot last weekend.

Nice v Marseille Date 14/02/2016 – Venue – Allianz Riviera – Kick Off 20:00 (UK Time)

Another key game this weekend is between Nice and Marseille at the Allianz Riviera; two sides battling for a place in the top six. Last week’s defeat to PSG ended Marseille’s unbeaten run as they fell to 10th, so they will have to start again if they are to make the European places at the end of the campaign. No new injury concerns or suspensions means Michel has almost his full squad available for selection.

Despite last week’s defeat to Monaco, Nice are holding onto their position of 3rd in the league, just above Saint-Étienne on goal difference. While they are in no danger of falling out of the top six this weekend, a loss would really put them under pressure of losing their European spot as Les Olympiens would close the gap on them to two points. One enormous loss for Nice is star man Hatem Ben Arfa, as a hamstring strain could keep him out for over four weeks.

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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