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Ligue 1 Preview Gameweek 35

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Every point is vital now as the Ligue 1 sides enter the final three games of the season.

Nice v Reims Date 22/04/2016 – Venue – Allianz Riviera – Kick Off 19:30 (UK Time)

Champions League chasing Nice welcome relegation contenders Reims in the opening match of the weekend as the sides meet at the Allianz Riviera. The hosts are 4th and have lost just one of their last six games, to the champions PSG. The visitors’ form is quite the opposite; winning just once in their previous six as they sit two points above the danger zone in 17th. Les Aiglons have no injuries in their side and they are one of the surprise contenders for the Champions League, and a win on Friday would heap the pressure on the teams above them.

After Reims lost to Troyes in the previous fixture, a trip to the Allianz Riviera looks quite daunting as they look for the three points. Relegation rivals Gazélec have a very winnable game against Bastia so Reims need a result to avoid falling into the bottom three this weekend. Jaba Kankava is reportedly suspended for the away side, while Odair Fortes is recovering from an injury.

Toulouse v Lyon Date 23/04/2016 – Venue – Stadium Municipal- Kick Off 16:30 (UK Time)

After three games without defeat, Toulouse face a tough test against Lyon. Les Pitchouns were fortunate not to win their last game against Lorient as they conceded in stoppage time, but they remain 19th and just three points from safety with a superior goal difference. Only Aleksandar Pesic is sidelined for Toulouse with a calf problem.

Lyon are unbeaten in seven outings but they dropped points against Nice last week meaning they fell below Monaco to 3rd. Les Gones have just got to win their remaining games and count on a slip-up from Monaco to head straight into the Champions League, but this is a potentially difficult game for the visitors as Toulouse are scrapping for their Ligue 1 status. A loss for Lyon is Maxwel Cornet, as he misses this match through suspension.

Marseille v Nantes Date 24/04/2016 – Venue – Stade Vélodrome – Kick Off 16:00 (UK Time)

The encounter between Marseille and Nantes has a large amount of importance because the hosts are considered to be in a relegation battle. Les Olympiens are just six points above the drop zone in 15th place, meaning they just need to win two of the remaining four games to evade the drop. They would usually be expected to beat Nantes but their form at the Stade Vélodrome this season has been nothing short of woeful. Injuries are keeping out Lassana Diarra and Mauricio Isla for Marseille but Nicolas N’Koulou should be back after completing his suspension.

After four defeats in a row, scoring just one goal in the process, Nantes’ surprise pursuit of a top six finish may well be over but they can still achieve a high league position. Les Canaris are 10th in the Ligue 1 standings and a top half finish would be a great achievement. If they are going to win at Marseille, they’ll have to do it without the suspended Johan Audel, while the injury bug has hit Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, Wilfried Moimbe, Lorik Cana and Remy Riou.

Gazélec Ajaccio v Bastia Date 24/04/2016 – Venue – Stade Ange Casanova – Kick Off 16:00 (UK Time)

A big game at the bottom of the table comes at the Stade Ange Casanova. The match has no relevance to Bastia’s campaign, whereas it is a must-win for Gazélec as they remain two points from safety in 18th. With Reims facing a difficult game at Nice, it is imperative the hosts take advantage should they drop points. Roderic Filippi is suspended for Gazélec, while Jeremie Brechet and Amos Youga have been added to the injury list.

Bastia have a chance of moving into the top half of the table this weekend if they get the three points at Gazélec. They need to change their form if they are going to win however as the visitors have lost their last two games against Toulouse and Saint-Étienne, failing to score in both games as they fell to 12th in the table. Bastia have no new injury concerns or suspensions in their side.

Guingamp v Caen Date 24/04/2016 – Venue – Nouveau Stade du Roudourou – Kick Off 16:00 (UK Time)

The fate of Guingamp and Caen is pretty much decided; the hosts are almost safe from relegation as they sit 14th while Caen remain six points behind the top six in 9th. The momentum will be with Guingamp going into this one as their last game was a 3-0 win at Rennes, one of their most impressive performances of the season. They will look to replicate this on home soil when Caen visit on Saturday. Sloan Privat will be sidelined with a knee problem, while Yannis Salibur may also miss out with a foot injury.

Caen will be fairly low on confidence after they were thrashed 6-0 by PSG last weekend. While they are in no danger of relegation, they will be disappointed to finish in the bottom half of the table after an impressive first half of the campaign. While they can’t climb the table this weekend, they can put some pressure on the top six with three points. A big loss however will be Andy Delort who is struggling with a back injury, while Damien Da Silva looks to miss out through injury as well.

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Montpellier v Troyes Date 24/04/2016 – Venue – Stade de la Mosson – Kick Off 16:00 (UK Time)

A win for Montpellier on Sunday may just see them safe, but Troyes’ victory against Reims last weekend will give the hosts something to think about. La Paillade won their last game against Nantes and stayed 16th, well in touch with the sides above them. The victory ended a five-match winless run for Montpellier and they will be hoping for a strong finish to the campaign, beginning with a win at home to Troyes. Morgan Sanson is the latest absentee for the hosts as he is reportedly injured.

Troyes are already relegated but they are able to have a say in who joins them in Ligue 2. They caused an upset last weekend by beating Reims and they will look to provide another twist in the relegation battle by winning at the Stade de la Mosson. There are no concerns over the side that faced Reims last time around, so an unchanged starting eleven can be expected.

Saint-Étienne v Lorient Date 24/04/2016 – Venue – Stade Geoffroy-Guichard – Kick Off 16:00 (UK Time)

In their hunt for Champions League football, Saint-Étienne face another must-win game on Sunday as they welcome Lorient. Les Verts have won four successive games, keeping clean sheets in all of them, so it’s going to be a tough ask for Lorient to get anything at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. A win could see the home side move from 5th to 3rd, putting pressure on Monaco who kick-off later the same evening. No new absentees means Saint-Étienne can name the same starting line-up that beat Bastia last week.

Lorient’s last-minute equaliser against Toulouse last weekend may give them a slight bit of confidence, even if their performance didn’t. Les Merlus moved up to 11th after snatching a late point so a top half finish is still on for them. Only Vincent Le Goff remains absent for the trip to Saint-Étienne.

Rennes v Monaco Date 24/04/2016 – Venue – Roazhon Park – Kick Off 20:00 (UK Time)

One of the big games in the European battle this weekend is between Rennes and Monaco at Roazhon Park. The hosts were in a great position just a couple of weeks ago but losses to Nice and Guingamp has cast doubt over a top six finish, as they dropped to 7th. This is a difficult game to call because even Monaco’s performances of late have been lacking assurance, something their league position would suggest otherwise. Yoann Gourcuff has recently been ruled out for Rennes with a back injury so he will miss out on Sunday.

The pressure is on Monaco in these last four games as Lyon, Nice and Saint-Étienne are all in pursuit and within four points. They got a much needed win against Marseille last week, following back-to-back defeats against Bordeaux and Lille. Elderson Echiejile is suspended for this encounter, while Monaco could also be missing Adama Traore and Fabio Coentrao for the trip to Roazhon Park.

Lille v Angers Date 27/04/2016 – Venue – Stade Pierre-Mauroy – Kick Off 17:30 (UK Time)

Another clash in the race for the top six doesn’t take place until Wednesday when Angers travel to Lille. After six consecutive wins, Lille have moved up to 6th and look in control to finish in the European spots. Their last victory was a comfortable 4-2 at Gazélec and Les Dogues are now scoring goals as well as remaining tight at the back. Renato Civelli is suspended for Lille, while Marko Basa has recently been ruled out with an injury.

Four games without defeat for Angers has put them back in contention for a surprise top six finish. They sit three points behind Lille in 8th, so a win on Wednesday would really make the battle for the European places interesting heading into the final three games. Angers impressively won at Bordeaux last time around and they will look to use that momentum to get a win at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy. Ismael Traore is suspended for the game however, while Olivier Auriac joins Vincent Manceau on the injury list.


The final game in this round of fixtures is between Bordeaux and Paris Saint-Germain, but this isn’t due to be played until May 11th.

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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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