• Friday, 3 April 2009

    Ligue 1 week 30

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

    Two wins in the week mean Raymond Domenech is safe for the time being. Whether this is a good thing is less clear. Two men are keeping him in a job at the moment, Franck Ribéry and Yoann Gourcuff. Gourcuff and his Bordeaux side welcome Nancy to the Jacques Chaban-Delmas with Les Girondins three points off the pace. Nancy lie a single point above the drop zone and it's the travails of those below them that are keeping them safe for now, but it still doesn't look good and is far too close for Lorrainian comfort.

    Lyon's lead is a single point, but a trip to Le Mans shouldn't trouble Les Gones much. Indeed, their away form is better than that at the Gerland and they will expect to win this and win it well. Marseille are second and they go to St Etienne in the final game of the weekend. With Les Verts seemingly unable to buy a win, Marseille will be confident of a win, especially with a good run of form behind them. Toulouse are also in good form and should dispose of Caen with ease while Lille have come from almost nowhere to be in with a real chance. They can compound Nantes' misery by chalking up another win. PSG's two recent losses have dropped them to fifth and they need to get back on track against Nice this weekend. The Cote d'Azur side are up and down in form, but remain strong contenders for European football next season. It's the sort of game Paul Le Guen needs his charges to win if they're to be in with a shout of honours in a few weeks time.

    Rennes too are chasing the European dream while their opponents this week, Sochaux, remain in trouble. A few weeks ago, Sochaux looked the most likely to pull away from danger, but not any more. They're playing badly and look finished. It can be done though, pulling oneself clear. Valenciennes, Grenoble and Auxerre have all done it and Auxerre go to Valenciennes this week. Auxerre's Polish stars had a mixed week of international football, but Ireneusz Jelen was on the scoresheet twice and his form has been instrumental in AJA's revival. Valenciennes have their own talisman in Jean-Claude Darcheville and the week off will have helped him recover enough to lead the line here. Grenoble welcome Lorient to the Stade des Alpes with the two sides level on points, but coming at it from opposing angles. Grenoble are on the up while Lorient, who looked realistic Europa League contenders at one stage, are going the other way.

    Finally, Le Havre make the long trip to the diametrically opposite corner of the country to take on Monaco. Monaco were in trouble until recently. A run of fixtures against other sides at the wrong end have helped them ease clear and they'll pull another three points out here.

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