Ligue 1 football will return on Friday after a two-week hiatus due to the international break, with the clubs competing in Europe braced for a frenetic period before Christmas.
Squad depth is likely to be tested to the maximum for Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille, Rennes, Lille and Nice, who will all play each midweek before the brief respite over the festive period.
The recent international matches have served only to frustrate club coaches, with Lille boss Christophe Galtier particularly incensed after midfielder Renato Sanches picked up a thigh injury in a friendly against Andorra then Zeki Celik suffer an ankle issue against Russia.
Let the war of attrition commence.
Ligue 1 Match of the Weekend: Monaco vs Paris Saint-Germain
On Friday night, Monaco will have their crack at defending champions Paris Saint-Germain.
Thomas Tuchel’s side might be on an eight-match winning streak, but their eyes will be focused on the midweek match against RB Leipzig, which is one they cannot afford to miss. With numerous players struggling with injury in the build up to this game, including Neymar, Moise Kean and Mauro Icardi, he goes south with a depleted side.
At least Kylian Mbappe was able to play a few minutes with France in midweek and should be ready to face his former club.
Monaco, meanwhile, have rediscovered some form after moving to a 4-4-2 formation, with Kevin Volland pushed forward to support Wissam Ben Yedder. The latter misses this game due to Covid-19, and head coach Niko Kovac is keeping everyone guessing as to who he aligns with the German.
Additionally, flying right-back Ruben Aguilar is banned, meaning that PSG are not the only side with headaches before this big encounter.
Ligue 1: Match Day 11
Rennes and Bordeaux will get the action underway with a clash in Brittany early on Friday, with the hosts aiming to regain some form after struggling during a busy period of fixtures.
Brest’s home match with Saint-Etienne is the only game on Saturday as Marseille’s clash with Nice has been postponed because of a coronavirus cluster in Patrick Vieira’s ranks.
Metz will try to stretch their seven-match undefeated run when they go to Nantes in the earliest of Sunday’s kick-offs.
The three multiplex games on Sunday afternoon largely showcase the sides fighting relegation. Reims will aim to maintain their recent resurgence against Nimes, while Montpellier start as strong favourites to overcome Strasbourg at home. In the other fixture, winless Dijon host Lens.
Lyon then take centre stage for their trip to Angers, with Rudi Garcia’s side knocking on the door of the top three after an improved run of late.
Finally, Lille play host to lowly Lorient. Christophe Galtier’s side, though, will be without five regulars for the match, including in-form striker Burak Yilmaz, who is banned.
Ligue 1 Player to Watch: Romain Perraud – Brest – £0.87
Romain Perraud has been arguably the standout left-back in Ligue 1 this season. With three goals and three assists for Brest, he has formed a strong partnership down the left flank with impressive youngster Romain Faivre.
The former Nice full-back should see Saturday’s match against Saint-Etienne as a great opportunity to further enhance these statistics. The visiting side have lost their last six and are depleted defensively, although Mathieu Debuchy may be fit enough to feature in this encounter.
Brest are on a high after a 3-2 win over Lille, and they have been at their best when playing on the front foot. Expect, then, a proactive approach from them in this clash, which should suit Perraud.