Ligue 1 Preview: Match Day 12

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While the footballing world mourned the passing of Diego Maradona, Marseille were quietly writing unwanted history as they became the first team to lose 13 successive matches in the Champions League.

Their performance against Porto in midweek was a miserable one, with head coach Andre Villas-Boas effectively admitting in the aftermath of the game that his side have found themselves out of their depth.

At times they have escaped with some mediocre displays domestically but that has not been the case abroad, and it now seems they will settle their focus on finishing well in the league rather than chasing third in their Champions League group.

That process begins on Saturday against Nantes in Match Day 12 of Ligue 1.

Ligue 1 Game of the Weekend: Paris Saint-Germain vs Bordeaux

There is not a clear standout match of the weekend in Ligue 1, but the one in which most eyes will be trained is Paris Saint-Germain’s clash with Bordeaux.

Thomas Tuchel’s side showed plenty of character – an attribute they allegedly lack – in midweek as they battle to an essential 1-0 win over RB Leipzig in the Champions League. Another vital fixture in that competition awaits in midweek against Manchester United and it is likely they will focus their resources on that game.

With Neymar not properly fit, he is liable to be on the bench for this encounter, while numerous other changes are possible too. 

Having lost three games already, the pressure is mounting on the Parc des Princes outfit, but even with a much-changed team they should be favourites to see off a Bordeaux outfit who will simply be happy with survival this season.

Inspired by Hatem Ben Arfa, they sprung a shock in Rennes last weekend and are aiming for another on Saturday night.

Rest of the Weekend

The Ligue 1 action for the weekend kicks off in Strasbourg on Friday, where Thierry Laurey surely finds his job on the line after a dreadful start to the season. The visitors are Rennes, whose performances have plunged since the beginning of the Champions League calendar.

Saturday’s early fixture sees Marseille take centre stage as they try to close the gap on PSG to three points – and they will have a game in hand. Then comes PSG’s chance to respond later that night.

Lyon will be the first team to take to the field on Sunday when they entertain Reims, while Monaco will try to keep up their strong run of form against Nimes in the best of the multiplex games.

Also playing on Sunday afternoon are Lens, who face Angers, Lorient, who host Montpellier, and Metz, who welcome dangerous Brest to Lorraine.

Ligue 1’s two Europa League representatives play in the later games. First, Nice and Dijon go head to head on the Riviera and then Lille are Saint-Etienne’s guests, with Les Verts seeking to avoid an eighth successive loss.

Ligue 1 Player to Watch: Kevin Volland – Monaco – £0.67p

One of the reasons that Monaco have won their last three matches has been Kevin Volland being given a more central role in the team. He was initially peripheral in a 4-3-3 formation but since he has been moved up front in a 4-4-2, his game has transformed. 

The 28-year-old has four goals and an assist in his last two home matches and was decisive against PSG last time out as Monaco completed an incredible comeback.

With Wissam Ben Yedder possibly returning and Ruben Aguilar in the mix, too, Monaco should be even stronger this weekend and are playing a fragile opponent.

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About Author

A football journalist specialising in the French and Scottish game, Robin has been writing professionally for over a decade. His career highlights include attending World Cups in Brazil and Russia, and Euro 2016 in France.

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