It’s crunch time in Ligue 1 as the teams prepare for Sunday’s penultimate round of the season with issues at both the top and bottom still to be decided. The title race is mathematically a four-way battle, although Lille are firmly in the driving seat and need four more points to clinch the championship.
At the bottom, five teams are separated by four points in the fight to avoid the drop with Nimes and Nantes entering the weekend hoping to escape the last two relegation spots this weekend.
PSG Praying for a Miracle
Starting at the top and Paris Saint-Germain’s hopes of an eighth title in nine years took a potentially fatal blow last week when being held to a 1-1 draw by Rennes. That result leaves the defending champions three points behind leaders Lille in second, with third-placed Monaco a further two points back and Lyon six points off the pace in fourth.
With the championship looking beyond their grasp and having failed to achieve European glory, the knives are already out for PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino as he prepares his side to face Reims at home. The Argentine only took charge six months ago but is understood to be facing the prospect of being sacked at the end of the season.
Anything other than a win over Reims would heap further pressure on the ex-Spurs boss and it’s no given that they’ll take care of business at
2/17 having lost three of their last five league matches at home. Reims also won on their last trip to the capital but have little to play for in this one having already secured their Ligue 1 status.
Should PSG fail to beat Reims, then Lille will be crowned champions for the first time in 10 years if they can win at home to St Etienne. Les Dogues enter the game having won five of their last six matches, comfortably seeing off Lens 3-0 last time out. That was their 20th clean sheet of the season but they might find it tricky to contain a Les Verts side who have netted in 10 of their last 11 leagues games away from home.
Any goal St Etienne do get is likely to only be a consolation with Lille in such strong form and the visitors could have a tough time slowing down veteran Turkish striker Burak Yilmaz, who has five goals in his last four games. He’s
11/10 to score anytime, while a Lille win and both teams to score is
Nantes Can Cut the Mustard at Dijon
Three straight wins have given Nantes hope of staying up and they have golden opportunity to move out of the relegation playoff spot when they face basement dwellers Dijon. The fate of the Owls was sealed last month and they appear to have thrown in the towel since being relegated, losing the last three by at least a three-goal margin.
Nantes picked up a big 3-0 victory over Bordeaux last week and now head out on the road, where they have produced some of their best performances of late. Antoine Kombouaré’s side have won four of their last six away from home and having been free-scoring of late – notching at least twice in five of the previous six – they are working backing at
59/50 to cover the -1.5 Asian Handicap.
Marseille Marching Towards Europe
It’s been a disappointing season overall for Marseille but they could secure a consolation prize of Europa League football with two more wins. L’OM’s away form has been their Achilles heel, with their performances at the Stade Velodrome keeping them in top-five contention. They welcome in an Angers side with nothing to play for on Sunday and Stéphane Moulin’s side have been on the beach recently, losing five in a row without scoring before turning over the dreadful Dijon last week. They could slip back into their old ways this weekend and having failed to score in eight of 18 aways games, a Marseille win to zero at
*All odds correct at time of writing.