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Ligue 1 Preview Gameweek 28

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As the end of the season draws near, the fate of certain Ligue 1 sides is beginning to take shape.

Nice v Bastia Date 26/02/2016 – Venue – Allianz Riviera – Kick Off 19:30 (UK Time)

The opening match of the weekend is at the Allianz Riviera where Nice welcome Bastia. Despite going three games without a win, Nice have kept hold of their league position of 3rd, but Saint-Étienne are only behind on goal difference. Les Aiglons were held to a goalless draw against Bordeaux in the last match and they face a potentially difficult encounter versus Bastia on Friday. There are no concerns over the Nice starting eleven from last week; Hatem Ben Arfa remains the only notable absentee.

Bastia’s back-to-back wins will give Nice something to think about going into this one, especially after the five wins in their last eight also came with clean sheets. They are 14th in the league and a win could see them climb into the top half of the table. Julian Palmieri is suspended for Bastia, while Julian Palmieri and Sebastien Squillaci are still injured.

Montpellier v Lille Date 27/02/2016 – Venue – Stade de la Mosson – Kick Off 16:00 (UK Time)

Two sides that would usually be competing for a place in the lower region of the top six have found themselves having to win almost every week just to get away from the bottom three. Montpellier take on Lille in what is a big game for both sides, but mostly for the home side. They are 15th in Ligue 1, just four points above the danger zone, and the three points would take them above their opponents Lille who sit in 12th. Montpellier played some of their best football of the season in the first half against Angers last week and they will be looking to replicate that on home turf. They will be without the suspended Bryan Dabo and Laurent Pionnier who is struggling with a thigh injury.

Lille’s situation is marginally better, as they are six points ahead of the bottom three, but a loss at Montpellier could drag them right back into the mix. Les Dogues have gone unbeaten in five, even after playing Marseille, PSG and Lyon, so they will be expected to pick up another result at the Stade de la Mosson. Mounir Obbadi is out of action for Lille with a rib injury and Florent Balmont could face a number of weeks on the sideline with a broken nose.

Guingamp v Angers Date 27/02/2016 – Venue – Stade du Roudourou – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Angers have dropped out of the top six after losing four straight games. They have a huge opportunity to get back to winning ways as they travel to play strugglers Guingamp. Last week’s defeat at home to Montpellier was extremely disappointing for Angers as a poor first half gave them very little hope for a result as they went 3-0 down before half-time. They are 9th in the league, but three points could see them sneak back into the European places. Yoann Andreu is reportedly injured for the visitors, as is Said Benrahma.

With only a three point gap between them and the relegation zone, Guingamp need to start winning if they are going to avoid the drop. They have been on the end of the harshness of Ligue 1 because even though they went six games without defeat, two consecutive losses has seen them fall back into a relegation battle to 16th. Guingamp’s defence needs to sharpen up because despite scoring five goals in their last two games, they have conceded eight. Lionel Mathis is suspended for the match, while Jeremy Sorbon is supposedly injured.

Reims v Bordeaux Date 27/02/2016 – Venue – Stade Auguste Delaune – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Both Reims and Bordeaux were in a similar situation just over a month ago, but their recent form couldn’t be more different as the hosts have dropped into a relegation dogfight, while Les Girondins have risen to European contention. Reims are 17th, level with Gazélec on goal difference, but only a points is between them and the bottom three. Alexis Peuget is the latest injury to Reims’ list with an abdominal problem keeping him out of this one.

Bordeaux are just two points short of the top six, but after the start to the season they had, gaining a place in a European competition next season would be a great achievement. They were impressive in the win over Guingamp, but Nice were able to contain Les Girondins last week to keep them in 10th place. Bordeaux are now without Andre Biyogo Poko and Jaroslav Plasil amongst their long list of sidelined players.

Toulouse v Rennes Date 27/02/2016 – Venue – Stadium Municipal – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Toulouse should be capitalizing on Gazélec and Reims dropping points, but they can’t seem to get more than one point every couple of games at best. They face Rennes this weekend, in the hope of closing the seven-point gap to safety. Les Pitchouns are still 19th in the league standings, as they have been for a number of weeks now but while they are still in touch with the teams above them, the hope of survival is still on the cards. A case of flu has hit the Toulouse team, as Issa Diop and Etienne Didot may be unavailable due to the illness.

Visitors Rennes are still holding onto the hope of making the top six, but they sit 8th going into this round of fixtures with only one point to make up. A strong campaign is appearing to diminish as Rennes have lost to Bordeaux, Saint-Étienne and Caen in their last five games, although they have had a run of tough fixtures. There are no concerns over the side that faced Caen last weekend.

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Troyes v Lorient Date 27/02/2016 – Venue – Stade de l’Aube – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Troyes need five wins just to close the gap to safety and with so few games remaining it looks as though their fate may already be decided. They managed to play with a strong spirit at the Stade Louis II last weekend, but it wasn’t enough to get a result as they suffered a 3-1 defeat. Benjamin Nivet is still suspended for the hosts but this is the only recent news regarding the Troyes side.

It’s been an inconsistent few weeks for Lorient as they struggle to make any progress as they lurk in the middle of the table. Les Merlus did manage to recover from the Nantes loss with a victory over Guingamp last weekend, albeit by a narrow margin in a seven-goal thriller. That victory took Lorient to 13th in the league and they will look to move into the top half of the table with a victory on Saturday against Troyes. They will have to do it without the injured Benjamin Moukandjo and the suspended Lamine Gassama and Didier Ndong.

Nantes v Monaco Date 28/02/2016 – Venue – Stade de la Beaujoire – Kick Off 13:00 (UK Time)

Nantes are in a fantastic position considering they didn’t play last week due to the postponement of their game against Bastia. Les Canaris held on to the last place in the top six, meaning the game in hand almost makes this encounter with Monaco a bonus match. No injuries or suspensions and a week rest for the regular starters meaning the usual line-up is expected from Nantes.

The routine win against Troyes allowed Monaco to extend the gap between them in 2nd place and the teams below them. After losing to Angers, Monaco have gone four games without a defeat which suggests they haven’t been fazed. Nabil Dirar remains out of selection with a suspension and Bernardo Silva’s injury means he will also be unavailable.

Gazélec Ajaccio v Marseille Date 28/02/2016 – Venue – Stade Ange Casanova – Kick Off 16:00 (UK Time)

The tough fixtures keep on coming for Gazélec as they welcome Marseille to the Stade Ange Casanova. A game like this is the last thing the hosts want after plummeting into the bottom three once again; eight games without a win leaves Gazélec in 18th place, but they are still just one point from the safety mark. Issiaga Sylla is the latest addition to the list of absentees after picking up a suspension.

Les Olympiens struck a very late goal to snatch a point against Saint-Étienne last weekend and it’s fortunate Michy Batshuayi is still scoring goals otherwise they would be a lot lower than 11th in the league. Marseille will look to take advantage of a Gazélec side short on confidence, as they aim to push for their place in Europe next season. Nicolas N’Koulou is suspended and Brice Dja Djedje is set to spend another week on the sideline through injury.

Saint-Étienne v Caen Date 28/02/2016 – Venue – Stade Geoffroy-Guichard – Kick Off 16:00 (UK Time)

One of the more intriguing ties of the weekend is at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard where Caen travel to Saint-Étienne in a match that could set the tone for the battle for the European spots. Les Verts have moved up to 4th after going four matches unbeaten and they will look to extend this run on home soil. It will be a tough test against strong opposition, especially without the injured Jeremy Clement and Benjamin Corgnet.

Caen may be one of the surprise candidates for a spot in the top six but they have proved to be a resilient side this season. They sit 7th in the league, level on points with Nantes who do have a game in hand. Three points against Les Verts would be huge for Caen; not only would it see them rise into the European spots but they could even go as high as 3rd. The only issue for the visitors is that Nicolas Seube and Damien Da Silva will miss the game through suspension.

Lyon v Paris Saint-Germain Date 28/02/2016 – Venue – Stade des Lumieres – Kick Off 20:00 (UK Time)

Both of these sides comfortably qualified for the Champions League last season and although PSG have dominated once again, Lyon have struggled and may have to settle for the Europa League at the very best. Les Parisians just have 11 more games to keep up their unbeaten league record and this has been a very successful season for Laurent Blanc’s side. They don’t have too many tough league fixtures remaining and the title is almost secured. The only issue for the game at Lyon is that Angel Di Maria may be forced to sit out with a hamstring problem that he picked up last weekend against Reims.

Lyon had to play with just nine men on the field in the previous game where they lost to Lille. Christophe Jallet and Clement Grenier were the ones to be dismissed so they will miss this encounter with the champions, alongside Corentin Tolisso who is struggling with a hamstring problem. Les Gones had comfortably won three in a row before last week’s defeat and they will look to start another run while they are 5th in the table. It may have to start after this weekend however, as PSG are looking unbreakable at the moment.

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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