• Friday, 10 April 2009

    Ligue 1 week 31

    Nancy v Valenciennes
    Auxerre v Bordeaux
    Nice v Lorient
    Le Mans v Sochaux
    Toulouse v Nantes
    Le Havre v Caen
    Rennes v St Etienne
    Marseille v Grenoble
    Lille v PSG
    Lyon v Monaco

    Massive game in the north of the country this week when PSG go to Lille. Lille really are the coming force in the game, inspired by teenage Belgian wonder Eden Hazard whose performances have pricked the interest of the continental big boys. They're on a terrific run and it's probably about the best time to meet their rivals who have been patchy at best lately. Two other potentially pivotal games on Sunday where Lyon host Monaco who were abysmal in sliding to defeat to Rock Bottom Le Havre (that's now their official title, incidentally). Surely Lyon will win that one, but Marseille have the chance to go top, at least for a few hours, when they meet Grenoble at the VĂ©lodrome. Marseille went down 2-0 in Donetsk in midweek, but Grenoble have begun to fall away after reversing an alarming decline in mid-season and Marseille should win that one.

    Bordeaux look to maintain their title hopes at the Abbe-Deschamps in Auxerre where they'll find a stubborn side to get past. Without Fernando Cavenaghi, Bordeaux aren't the free-scoring side they once were, but Marouane Chamakh, despite publicly stating time and again how keen he is to leave, has stepped up to the plate and Yoann Gourcuff continues to be excellent. Toulouse have just slipped away, but they remain formidable at home where Nantes pay a visit this weekend. They're in trouble, Nantes, and should be easy pickings.

    Nancy too are in big trouble and face a home game against Valenciennes, who now reside in the cushy echelons of mid-table. Away win, one would think. St Etienne also remain mired in the bottom three, but Sochaux showed last week that one win can make a world of difference and should Les Verts get something out of the game at Rennes, everything changes once again. Sochaux went above Le Mans with their win last week and the two meet on Saturday with points meaning so much in a congested lower tier. Another win for Sochaux and they'll fancy they're safe, but the same applies to Le Mans and this could prove cagey. Massive game at the bottom in the north where Caen go to Le Havre. With that win last week, it's arguable that Le Havre will approach this in a greater frame of mind than their near neighbours. A win is vital for Le Havre, while Caen will treat it as one that they mustn't lose. High stakes indeed.

    The only game with little riding on it is Lorient's trip to Nice. Both sides are stuck firmly in mid-table and unlikely to challenge for European places, though Lorient just need to eke out a few more points to avoid any chance of being sucked into trouble at the foot of the table.

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