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Ligue 1 Preview Gameweek 37

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The penultimate round of Ligue 1 fixtures faces a number of tasty ties that could settle the European spots and the relegation places.

Bastia v Angers Date 07/05/2016 – Venue – Stade Armand Cesari – Kick Off 20:00 (UK Time)

Bastia travel to Angers on Saturday with both sides hoping for a top half finish to the season. This is a less likely outcome for the hosts as they are without a win in their last five games; the previous match being a goalless draw against Caen. They are 14th in the league and could move up three places with a win. A number of key players are missing for Bastia however, as Mathieu Peybernes and Floyd Ayite are sidelined, while Brandao’s hamstring problem and Julien Palmieri’s knee pain keep them out. All of whom have had influential roles in Bastia’s campaign.

Angers were looking to sneak into the top six again after spending nearly three quarters of the season there, however last weekend’s loss to Marseille ended those hopes. The defeat to Les Olympiens was their first in six games, meaning they remained 8th in the league. The only absentee for Angers is Vincent Manceau who misses out with an adductor problem.

Bordeaux v Lorient Date 07/05/2016 – Venue – Nouveaux Stade de Bordeaux – Kick Off 20:00 (UK Time)

In a similar scenario, neither Bordeaux nor Lorient have anything to play for but to remain higher in the league. A win for Lorient would take them above Bordeaux in the league standings, whereas a victory for the latter could take them into the top half of the table with a game in hand. The hosts play PSG on Wednesday, but will aim to get through the visit of Lorient with three points first. Les Girondins are now without the option of Mauro Arambarri for this encounter as he recently picked up an adductor strain.

Lorient have just suffered back-to-back defeats to Saint-Étienne and Lille, failing to score in both matches, meaning Bordeaux will be the favourites for this game. A win would take Les Merlus from 14th to above Bordeaux on goal difference, giving them hope of a high finish going into the final day. The news that Abdul Waris and Zargo Toure will miss the game is a blow for Lorient.

Gazélec Ajaccio v Paris Saint-Germain Date 07/05/2016 – Venue – Stade Ange Casanova – Kick Off 20:00 (UK Time)

An important match for Gazélec comes at the weekend when they welcome PSG to the Stade Ange Casanova. The hosts have got themselves in the driving seat for the upcoming relegation battle and any result against the Ligue 1 champions would be a bonus. They currently sit 17th, one point above Reims and three points above Toulouse in the drop zone. With both relegation rivals facing winnable games, there could still be a couple more twists and turns for Gazélec. A big miss for the home side is Mohamed Larbi who is recovering from injury and will join Jeremie Brechet on the sidelines.

PSG could create a 30-point gap between them and 2nd place within the next week as they have a trip to Gazélec before playing their game in hand against Bordeaux. Les Parisians’ last four games have been routs, winning all four, scoring 16 goals in the process and conceding just one. Blaise Matuidi is the only absentee for PSG, who is recovering from a knee injury.

Lille v Guingamp Date 07/05/2016 – Venue – Stade Pierre-Mauroy – Kick Off 20:00 (UK Time)

While Guingamp have nothing to play for after securing their Ligue 1 status, Lille are chasing a place in Europe next season and are just a matter of points behind Nice and Saint-Étienne. The hosts are on a remarkable run of form and despite their poor results in the first half of the season, they thoroughly deserve a spot in Europe after winning seven of their last eight matches. Star man Sofiane Boufal’s season is over though after picking up a meniscus injury and this is a huge blow for Les Dogues.

The visitors may have lost to Monaco last time around but their status as a Ligue 1 side is safe after results elsewhere went in their favour. They sit 15th, but a top half finish is still possible for Guingamp but they would be relying on a number of sides dropping points. They have the opportunity of possibly ending Lille’s European hopes this weekend, something which may spur them on. Lars Jacobsen will be out with a toe injury, while Yannis Salibur’s foot problem will keep him on the sidelines for Guingamp.

Lyon v Monaco Date 07/05/2016 – Venue – Stade des Lumieres – Kick Off 20:00 (UK Time)

The game of the weekend is at the Stade des Lumieres where Lyon take on Monaco, where the winner would almost guarantee a place in next season’s Champions League. Both sides are level on 62 points going into this one, with the hosts having the advantage of a superior goal difference in 2nd place. Les Gones are the in-form team after avoiding defeat in their last nine outings; a win over Gazélec last weekend kept Lyon in the driving seat, however a loss to Monaco could see all their hard work unravel. Two losses for Lyon are Corentin Tolisso with a hamstring strain, and Mathieu Valbuena with a thigh problem.

Monaco let an eight point lead over 3rd slip less than two months ago, but they remain in contention with Lyon, despite only picking up seven points from their last five games. During that inconsistent run was a home loss to Bordeaux and a heavy defeat at Lille, casting doubt on their right to claim 2nd spot. Fabinho is suspended for the visitors, while Jeremy Toulalan is struggling with a hip injury.

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Marseille v Reims Date 07/05/2016 – Venue – Stade Vélodrome – Kick Off 20:00 (UK Time)

A couple of weeks ago, relegation-threatened Reims would have been more confident ahead of the trip to Marseille, but Les Olympiens’ victory over at Angers last time around will give the visitors something to think about. Marseille were considered to be in a relegation dogfight before last weekend but the win at the Stade Jean Bouin confirmed their Ligue 1 status. They will however be without Jacques-Alaixys Romao for this match, as the midfielder is serving his suspension.

Currently sitting 18th in the relegation zone and on the end of three consecutive defeats, Reims needs wins and a trip to the Stade Vélodrome isn’t an ideal fixture, however Marseille’s poor home form will give the away side some encouragement. The defeat to Troyes a few weeks ago was really disheartening for Reims and they will have to get over that quickly if they are to survive in the top flight. Hamari Traore is suspended for Reims, but there are no more recent concerns in the side.

Montpellier v Rennes Date 07/05/2016 – Venue – Stade de la Mosson – Kick Off 20:00 (UK Time)

A positive for Montpellier is that they have avoided relegation, however it hasn’t been a great season for La Paillade as they would usually be contesting for a European spot. Rennes could still make it, but they need to win both of their remaining games and hope Nice and Lille don’t pick up any points. The visitors have gone right off form though, scoring just once in their last four games in a draw against Monaco. In amongst those four games were 3-0 defeats to Nice and Guingamp as well as a 4-0 loss at the Parc des Princes, seeing them drop to 7th in the table. A big loss for Rennes is Kamil Grosicki, who is recovering from a muscular problem.

Three successive wins ensured Montpellier climbed to 11th in the league standings, meaning they are still on for a top half finish following a disappointing campaign. They could still finish as high as 7th in the league, which would mask the fact La Paillade have been far from their best this season. The only player remaining on Montpellier’s injury list is Paul Lasne, whose cruciate ligament injury has kept him on the sidelines since October.

Nantes v Caen Date 07/05/2016 – Venue – Stade de la Beaujoire – Kick Off 20:00 (UK Time)

Nantes and Caen sit 9th and 10th in the league respectively and with nothing to play for; this match is simply about bragging rights of who can finish in a higher league position. Les Canaris ended a run of five matches without a win last weekend, as they impressively beat Nice to keep them in the top half of the table. The hosts will be without Yacine Bammou and Oswaldo Vizcarrondo for this match as they are suspended, while Johan Audel has picked up an injury and could miss the game.

On the other hand, Caen are without a win in five and their previous two games have been draws against Guingamp and Bastia. It is unfortunate for the visitors that they can no longer make the top five, as it has affected their form in recent weeks. There are no recent injuries or suspensions in Caen’s side.

Nice v Saint-Étienne Date 07/05/2016 – Venue – Allianz Riviera – Kick Off 20:00 (UK Time)

Another big game comes at the Allianz Riviera where Nice welcome Saint-Étienne. Both sides currently hold onto a European place, with the hosts in 5th, one point behind the visitors in 4th; however this could all change come the end of the weekend with Lille waiting to take advantage. Les Aiglons lost their last game to Nantes, so they will understandably be a bit shaky heading into this encounter. A boost for the hosts is that they have no concerns over the team.

Saint-Étienne’s turn in form came at the most opportune time as they have taken 16 points from the last 18 available, seeing them climb into the top four. A loss at the Allianz Riviera could be costly however, as both Lille and Nice could overtake them and sneak into the European spots. It could well go down to the last day, but the three points at Nice would put them in a great position to see it through. Loic Perrin is suspended for the visitors, while Moustapha Bayal Sall and Kevin Monnet-Paquet have recently picked up injuries.

Toulouse v Troyes Date 07/05/2016 – Venue – Stadium Municipal – Kick Off 20:00 (UK Time)

When Troyes were relegated it looked as though Toulouse may swiftly follow but a good string of results has given them a fighting chance of staying up. Les Pitchouns have remained 19th but after Gazélec and Reims have struggled to pick up points, they are now just three points from safety with a stronger goal difference. Last week’s draw against Saint-Étienne will give Toulouse heaps of confidence to set up a tense final day in the Ligue 1 relegation battle. There are no concerns over the Toulouse side that faced Les Verts last time around.

Troyes’ season has been far from exciting but they have the chance of taking Toulouse down to Ligue 2 with them on Saturday. The visitors have only had a victory over Reims to shout about in the last ten games, but they would like to end the season on somewhat of a high. Alois Confais is the latest absentee as he is forced to sit out with a suspension.

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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