• Saturday, 25 September 2010

    Ligue 1 round 7 previews

    Caen v Bordeaux
    Montpellier v Arles
    Lorient v Monaco
    Nice v Rennes
    Auxerre v Nancy
    Marseille v Sochaux
    Lyon v St Etienne
    Brest v Valenciennes
    Toulouse v Lille
    Lens v PSG

    The most successful side in French history take on the most successful in the modern era in the most intriguing Derby du Rhone in many years. Since their heyday, St Etienne have gone into these games much the poorer relation, but for the first time since they last won the title 29 years ago, Les Verts face Lyon sitting at the top of the table. Moreover, Lyon sit one place outside the relegation zone after a frankly awful campaign so far. They spent big, most notably on Yoan Gourcuff, but it simply hasn't clicked yet and the pressure is building on Claude Puel. It's at the Gerland and it should be fascinating.

    Toulouse slipped to second last week after drawing a blank as their striker crisis bites. Selling André-Pierre Gignac on deadline day perhaps wasn't the wisest move and January can't come quick enough, especially given Xavier Pentecote's long-term injury. Daniel Braaten filled in then fell out with Alain Casanova. They're at home to Lille this weekend, sure to be a tough test of Les Violets credentials. Rennes, in third, go to the south coast to face Nice where they're odds on to record a win which could send them top should Toulouse and St Etienne fail to win their respective games. Caen could also go top should results fall their way and they manage to beat Bordeaux. Pre-season, you'd say this was a nailed on three points for Jean Tigana's side, but the way both sides have performed this year so far, the points could easily be staying in Normandy. In this unpredictable season, it's a brave person who calls it.

    Marseille are beginning to get going, belatedly, but face Sochaux this weekend with the Montbéliard club riding high in fifth. PSG are right on OM's heels and have a trip to Lens this week which is a tricky prospect at the best of times, even if the sang et or are struggling a bit. Auxerre and Arles remain the only sides without a win and Arles won't break that run in Montpellier, but AJA will fancy their chances at home to Nancy. Elsewhere, Monaco go north to Lorient and Brest have a home game with Valenciennes.

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