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Ligue 1 Preview Gameweek 33

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The significance of each game is growing as the weeks go by, particularly for the sides struggling at the bottom of Ligue 1.

Montpellier v Lyon Date 08/04/2016 – Venue – Stade de la Mosson – Kick Off 19:30 (UK Time)

The opening game this weekend is at the Stade de la Mosson where Montpellier take on Lyon. Momentum is with the visitors after they closed the gap on Monaco to three points last week, edging them closer to retaining their place in the Champions League next year. Les Gones have won seven of their last nine games, moving up to 3rd as they recovered their form at the right time of the season, giving them an advantage over a despondent Montpellier team. Jeremy Morel is out of action with an ankle problem, while Aldo Kalulu could also miss out with an adductor strain.

Montpellier would usually be contending for a place inside the top six at this stage of the season but a five-game unbeaten run and a point at the Parc des Princes still wasn’t enough to get them away from the bottom three. La Paillade sit 16th, just four points above the drop zone and the sides below them have much easier games at the weekend. Kevin Berigaud may not feature after picking up a calf injury and Mathieu Deplagne is also a doubt for Montpellier.

Guingamp v Paris Saint-Germain Date 09/04/2016 – Venue – Stade du Roudourou – Kick Off 16:00 (UK Time)

After drawing with Manchester City in the Champions League, PSG now face a trip to Guingamp in the hope of adding more gloss to their stellar league campaign. Les Parisians’ previous game was a 4-1 thrashing over Nice and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in such fine form; they could cause Guingamp all sorts of problems on Saturday. There are no concerns over the PSG side regarding injuries or suspensions, but there may be one or two changes as Laurent Blanc may have an eye on Tuesday’s trip to the Etihad Stadium.

Guingamp have gone three games without defeat and established a six point gap between themselves in 15th and the danger zone. The last outing was a draw against Montpellier to ensure they remained two points clear of their relegation rivals. Benjamin Angoua is a doubt for the hosts, but there are no more recent injury or suspension concerns for Guingamp.

Angers v Gazélec Ajaccio Date 09/04/2016 – Venue – Stade Jean Bouin – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

The final meeting between newly-promoted Angers and Gazélec has a large amount of importance for both sides. The hosts’ season objective is already complete as they are 9th, virtually safe from relegation and competing for a place in the top six; Gazélec however, are in 18th fighting for their top flight status. Angers left it late to defeat Troyes last weekend and they will be looking for a more comfortable performance on home turf. Goran Karanovic remains the only notable absentee as he is recovering from an adductor strain.

With Montpellier facing a tough fixture this week, it is imperative Gazélec take a point from this match at the very least. The Corsicans enjoyed a small run of good form before losing to European contenders Saint-Étienne and Nice; they will look to get back on track against a team they should be beating if they want to stay up. Alexandre Coeff is the only player missing for the visitors as he may spend another week on the sideline with a thigh problem.

Caen v Lorient Date 09/04/2016 – Venue – Stade Michel d’Ornano – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Caen looked to be in a strong position last weekend, but a shock loss to Toulouse saw them drop to 8th, still only two points short of the European spots. They face a Lorient side who are winless in their last four matches. The home side’s last two losses have come against teams in the bottom three, suggesting they are struggling too much to make the top six. A reason for this could be the absence of Vincent Bessat; the midfielder was involved in 30 games before his injury in mid-March and he could still be sidelined for this encounter.

In losing to Angers and Lyon, Lorient have conceded eight goals so their shaky defence continues to be their downfall. Fortunately for Les Merlus, Caen aren’t a side that have the ability to score loads of goals but they will still have to be weary in Saturday’s match. The visitors are 14th in Ligue 1, just six points above the relegation zone so they are far from safe going into the final six games. Vincent Le Goff is the most recent doubt for Lorient.

Reims v Nantes Date 09/04/2016 – Venue – Stade Auguste Delaune – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

If Reims are going to begin a strong push to evade relegation, it has to start on Saturday when they face an inconsistent Nantes side. The hosts are currently safe in 17th thanks to their superior goal difference, however continuous defeats will leave them looking over their shoulders. With Montpellier facing a difficult game against Lyon, Reims need to use that to their advantage and get the three points. Olivier Guegan will be without the injured Franck Signorino, while Prince Oniangue is getting closer to a return.

After two consecutive defeats without scoring, Nantes have fallen away from the top six and are now four points behind in 10th. Les Canaris will look to use the despondency of the Reims side to their advantage, but they’ll also have to consider the danger a team fighting for their lives can pose. Alejandro Bedoya will be a big loss for Nantes as he sits out with an ankle injury.

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Saint-Étienne v Troyes Date 09/04/2016 – Venue – Stade Geoffroy-Guichard – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

The recent fixtures have been kind to Saint-Étienne after a poor run of form and they are now finally getting back on track with wins against Montpellier and Gazélec. They face another struggling side this weekend in Troyes, who were relegated last week. While this could be seen as a comfortable three points, Les Verts will still have to be at their best because Troyes have nothing to play for, therefore they can play without pressure. Saint-Étienne are 6th and will be looking to leapfrog Nice should Les Aiglons drop points. Florentin Pogba could miss this game for the hosts after returning late from international duty.

The game may be up for Troyes as their return to Ligue 2 was confirmed last weekend but they can still play for pride. Currently on 14 points, they should be aiming for at least 20 to save some dignity in what was a poor season back in the top flight. They might have to do it without Chris Mavinga and Quentin Othon however; both of whom are recovering from injury.

Toulouse v Bastia Date 09/04/2016 – Venue – Stadium Municipal – Kick Off 19:00 (UK Time)

Hosts Toulouse will be more confident of survival after beating Caen last weekend, but the remaining games are hugely important as they still have it all to do. They sit 19th and only four points behind their rivals; Saturday’s game could be the turning point in their season if they were to get the victory. Bastia are a tricky side to play against with a more resilient defence, but Les Pitchouns have to win their remaining home games to stand any chance of staying up. Somalia remains the only absentee for the hosts, meaning Pascal Dupraz has a lot of choice in his team selection.

Bastia are as good as safe; the visitors are 11th in the league standings and have a 10-point buffer from the bottom three. In fact they are only five points behind the top six, so a number of strong performances might set them up for a high finish to the campaign. Last weekend’s win over Marseille will have done Bastia the world of good, giving them the belief of attaining a further three points at the Stadium Municipal. Florien Raspentino has been added to the injury list with an adductor problem, alongside Jesper Hansen who has injured his hand.

Lille v Monaco Date 10/04/2016 – Venue – Stade Pierre-Mauroy – Kick Off 13:00 (UK Time)

One of the more intriguing ties this weekend takes place at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Sunday where European chasing Lille welcome Monaco, who are only just holding onto their Champions League spot. Les Dogues are 7th after winning four successive games; the key to their success has been a strong defence, conceding only 24 goals despite spending the majority of the season in the bottom half of the table. Monaco are really going to have to work for a result against Lille as they will be tough to break down on home soil. Eric Bautheac is the only notable absentee for the home side as he is reportedly injured.

Monaco’s home defeat to Bordeaux last week gave them something to think about as they saw Lyon and Rennes close the gap. They missed out on Champions League football this season and with Lyon in such excellent form, they’ll have to be at their best to gain a place in next season’s competition. The sign of faltering may be due to the absence of Joao Moutinho, as the Portuguese international has missed three weeks after injuring his ankle.

Nice v Rennes Date 10/04/2016 – Venue – Allianz Riviera – Kick Off 16:00 (UK Time)

The game of the weekend takes place at the Allianz Riviera where high-flying Rennes travel to Nice in the hope of heaping more pressure on their rivals. The visitors overtook Nice last week, rising to 4th and closing the gap on Monaco to just four points in the process. A win on Sunday would make such a bold statement and if Monaco drop more points again, Rennes would become the favourites to make the Champions League alongside Lyon. No new injuries or suspensions gives Rolland Courbis plenty of options for his team selection, although the same starting eleven that beat Reims is expected to start for the away side.

Nice’s run of three consecutive wins ended last week with a reality check at the Parc des Princes, where they were thrashed 4-1 by champions PSG. While Rennes don’t have Zlatan Ibrahimovic to cause Les Aiglons continuous problems, they have a lot of attacking threat and it’s going to be a real test for the hosts. With Hatem Ben Arfa back in the side after recovering from his injury, Nice may pick up where they left off before the game at PSG.

Marseille v Bordeaux Date 10/04/2016 – Venue – Stade Vélodrome – Kick Off 20:00 (UK Time)

Two sides who have very little to play for meet at the Stade Vélodrome in the final match of this round of fixtures. Marseille should be more concerned about avoiding relegation than pushing for a place in the top six; Les Olympiens are only six points above the drop zone in 14th after a disappointing campaign. Bordeaux are currently three points above Marseille in 13th so the outcome of this game is a difficult one to call. Romain Alessandrini is suspended for Marseille, while Benjamin Mendy could miss another game through injury.

It’s a very good time for Bordeaux to play Marseille, as the victory at the Stade Louis II will give Les Girondins a large amount of confidence. Before the game against Monaco, Bordeaux had failed to win in their previous five outings so they will hope this is a turning point in their season to achieve a more respectable finish. There are no concerns over the side that started the game last weekend, so an unchanged Bordeaux starting line-up is expected to face Marseille.

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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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