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Ligue 1 Preview Gameweek 27

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The 27th round of Ligue 1 fixtures starts on Friday and there are some big games as the battle for survival and European football is beginning to shape up.

Bordeaux v Nice Date 19/02/2016 – Venue – Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux – Kick Off 19:30 (UK Time)

Last weekend, Bordeaux’s win over Guingamp saw them move up to 9th, within one win of the top six. They take on Nice in the first match of this weekend. The hosts lost heavily against Lyon and Saint-Étienne before coming out victorious at the Stade du Roudourou and this will be a much tougher test for Les Girondins. Enzo Crivelli is ruled out of this one with a suspension, while Bordeaux were dealt another blow with Jaroslav Plasil’s knee sprain keeping him on the sideline for six weeks.

Nice may have failed to win in their last two outings but they remain 3rd in the league on goal difference. Les Aiglons are faced with yet another difficult game after playing Monaco and Marseille in their previous two, but a win would keep the pressure on Monaco. Hatem Ben Arfa will still be injured; this is a huge contributor to Nice’s dip in form as he has been the star man for the majority of the season.

Paris Saint-Germain v Reims Date 20/02/2016 – Venue – Parc des Princes – Kick Off 16:00 (UK Time)

PSG will be full of confidence after beating Chelsea 2-1 at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday in the Champions League. Laurent Blanc’s side are becoming a real force, especially at home, meaning Reims are going to find it extremely hard to get a result on Saturday. Les Parisians can afford to drop two points a game until the end of the season and they will still win the title, so they are just looking to maintain their unbeaten record. It was announced on Wednesday that Ezequiel Lavezzi would be moving to Hebei China Fortune, but PSG have no concerns over the side.

A disappointing home defeat to Bastia left Reims in 17th place, just two points above the danger zone. With Gazélec potentially picking up points this weekend, the visitors could be in the relegation zone by Saturday evening. Hamari Traore is suspended for Reims, while Theoson Siebatcheu, Anthony Weber and David N’Gog may all still be out with injuries.

Angers v Montpellier Date 20/02/2016 – Venue – Stade Jean Bouin – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Hosts Angers have dropped down to 8th after suffering three consecutive defeats for the first time this season. If they don’t get a win against Montpellier it would be unlikely that they’d hang on to their surprise finish in the league table. Stephane Moulin’s side have been plagued with suspensions in the last couple of weeks, with Cheikh N’Doye, Romain Saiss, Gilles Sunu, Pierrick Capelle and Thomas Mangani all spending their last week on the touchline in this game.

The visitors got a much needed win against Toulouse in the last game to give themselves a small bit of breathing space from the bottom three. Unlike Angers, Montpellier have spend the majority of the campaign around the relegation zone, so the job to avoid the drop is far from over. Montpellier will be without the suspended Jonas Martin for the trip to Angers, but there are no issues with last week’s starting line-up.

Bastia v Nantes Date 20/02/2016 – Venue – Stade Armand Cesari – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Bastia take on Nantes in what could prove to be a big game for both sides. The hosts are currently 12th and seven points above the danger zone, meaning a win on Saturday would be a big step to ruling themselves out of a relegation dogfight at the end of the season. Back-to-back wins against Troyes and Reims, keeping two clean sheets in the process, suggests Bastia are on their way up. Sebastien Squillaci is out of action with a calf injury, while Gilles Cioni has been ruled out for up to five weeks with a jaw fracture.

This game is important for Les Canaris for very different reasons. Michel Der Zakarian has led Nantes on an incredible unbeaten run, guiding them to 6th in the league at a good stage in the season. Even a point in this match could see them move up in the table, whereas a win could set them as high as 3rd. Adrien Thomasson is suspended for the visitors, but there are no further concerns over Nantes’ side.

Lorient v Guingamp Date 20/02/2016 – Venue – Stade du Moustoir – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Guingamp have had their fair share of big games in recent weeks in their bid to escape a relegation battle. This continues on Saturday as they travel to the Stade du Moustoir to face Lorient. They went six games without defeat until last weekend’s home loss to Bordeaux, so they will look to start another good run of form against Les Merlus. Christophe Kerbrat and Lionel Mathis have been ruled out with suspensions, while Dorian Leveque has been added to the injury list with a thigh problem.

Lorient sit one place above Guingamp in 14th, due to their superior goal difference. Just two wins in ten means the hosts need a win to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle; only four points separates them from the bottom three. Yann Jouffre and Lamine Gassama remain the only Lorient absentees as they are both suspended.

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Monaco v Troyes Date 20/02/2016 – Venue – Stade Louis II – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Troyes managed to get a win at Gazélec last weekend but the harsh reality of the fixture list means they now face a trip to 2nd place Monaco, so it is unlikely they’ll follow that result with another one. With the gap between Troyes and safety being 15 points, the probability of survival is minimal; however they can play for pride and end the season on a high, maybe even overtaking Toulouse above them. Just Matthieu Saunier remains doubtful for the visitors as he is still getting over a knock.

Monaco have a six-point lead over 3rd place, so the three points from this game would put them in a great position to go on and secure Champions League football for next season. A strong defence has been key to Monaco’s rise in form; keeping six clean sheets in their last nine games. Joao Moutinho is reportedly suspended for this encounter and he would be a big miss for the hosts, while Fabinho may also miss this game through a suspension. As for the recent injuries, only Bernardo Silva remains sidelined with a thigh injury.

Toulouse v Gazélec Ajaccio Date 20/02/2016 – Venue – Stadium Municipal – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

A huge game at the bottom of the league takes place between Toulouse and Gazélec, as both sides are struggling to keep hold of their Ligue 1 status. The hosts are 19th, just six points behind the visitors in 18th, and after winless runs for both teams this one is difficult to call. Tongo Doumbia is out for Toulouse with a thigh injury, while William Matheus is still recovering from a knee problem.

Gazélec have failed to win in their last seven attempts and they will be very despondent after losing at home to Troyes in the previous game. This is a big opportunity for them with Reims facing a tough test at the Parc des Princes, so the three points at the Stadium Municipal is a must. Kader Mangane is suspended for the visitors, while Jeremie Brechet has recently been ruled out with an injury.

Marseille v Saint-Étienne Date 21/02/2016 – Venue – Stade Vélodrome – Kick Off 13:00 (UK Time)

One of the bigger games of the weekend takes place at the Stade Vélodrome, where Marseille welcome Saint-Étienne. Les Olympiens are 11th in the league; they have lost just once in their last ten to PSG, but seven draws means they aren’t making progress in the league. A win on Sunday would close the gap on Saint-Étienne to just two points, though it wouldn’t be enough to get into the top six. Brice Dja Djedje has been recently sidelined with quadriceps strain for Marseille, so he won’t be available for the next few weeks.

Les Verts seem to have overcome their inconsistent run of form by taking seven points from their last three games. They sit 4th in the league standings, only behind Nice on goal difference as they look to hunt down Monaco for a spot with Europe’s elite next season. Nolan Roux is the latest name to be added to the injury list for Saint-Étienne.

Caen v Rennes Date 21/02/2016 – Venue – Stade Michel d’Ornano – Kick Off 16:00 (UK Time)

Another side who has a great chance of moving into the top six this weekend is Rennes, who are currently just outside in 7th place. They travel to Caen, who were close to the European spots, but three successive defeats has seen them slide down to 10th. The hosts have lost seven of their last ten matches, but a win on Sunday would make a lot of ground up on those in the top six. Emmanuel Imorou is the only notable absentee for Caen as he is still battling his injury.

Rennes’ narrow victory over Angers last week may turn out to be a crucial one as they are both pushing for a surprise place in European football. They have lost just twice in recent weeks, to fellow contenders Bordeaux and Saint-Étienne. Yacouba Sylla is suspended and won’t be available for Rennes, while Mehdi Zeffane is out with gastroenteritis, and Mexer and Juan Quintero both have foot problems.

Lille v Lyon Date 21/02/2016 – Venue – Stade Pierre-Mauroy – Kick Off 20:00 (UK Time)

The final game of the weekend is between Lille and Lyon, who have both had disappointing seasons in comparison with their usual standards. Les Dogues have been most substandard as they are only 13th with six wins to their name. Lille are just four points above the bottom three but have shown promise in their last four outings, gaining impressive results against Marseille, Caen, Rennes and PSG, who are all above them in the league table. Mounir Obbadi is a miss for Lille in this match, as the midfielder has been involved in 20 of their games throughout the campaign.

Lyon look to be on the rise and their sudden surge of form has come at a good time in the season. They are now 5th in the table after three consecutive victories, scoring ten goals in those games against Bordeaux, Angers and Caen, as well as keeping two clean sheets. Les Gones are only seven points behind Monaco in 2nd place, so if they can establish a consistent run of form they may retain Champions League football for next season. There are no concerns over the side that thrashed Caen 4-1 last time around, therefore Bruno Genesio may name an unchanged side for the encounter.

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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