Ligue 1 Preview: Match Day 13

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Beyond Paris Saint-Germain, who continue to lead the league by seven points, Ligue 1 is developing into the most unpredictable of Europe’s top divisions.

Only nine points differentiate Angers in second place to bottom club Nimes, who have a game in hand. Their total of 20 points might be halfway to their season-long aim, but in most seasons it would not be enough to have them in the top four at this point, testimony to the inability of anyone to put together a run of note.

Amid this maelstrom of unpredictability, even PSG have proven to be vulnerable, incredibly losing 2-1 at Dijon last weekend. It was their third loss of the season already – as many as newly promoted Brest.

What fresh twists will occur in Matchday 13?

Ligue 1 Match of the Weekend: Marseille vs Lyon

There is little doubt as to the highlight match of the weekend’s action in Le Championnat, with Sunday’s Olympico between Marseille and Lyon set to play a critical role in the fortunes of both clubs this season.

Undoubtedly two of France’s outstanding clubs, neither is enjoying the season they might have wished, with Marseille fourth in the division and Lyon languishing in 10th.

For new OL boss Rudi Garcia, who has overseen three successive victories, albeit in rather unconvincing fashion, it marks an unexpectedly quick return to Stade Velodrome, where he was jettisoned in the summer after failing to secure European qualification.

His arrival might have been greeted coolly in Lyon, but the signs are that he has them better organised at the back, albeit still over-reliant on Memphis Depay going forward. And the Dutchman is unlikely to play this fixture after sustaining a muscular injury in the 3-1 Champions League win over Benfica in midweek.

Marseille’s unspectacular form, meanwhile, is highlighted by the fact that French sports daily L’Equipe rates them as the poorest performers in the top flight so far this term.

Rest of the Weekend:

Preceding that match, Nice open the weekend up against Bordeaux on Friday, before PSG travel to Brittany to tackle Brest in Saturday’s early kick off.

Dijon will try to create another shock when they go to Monaco, while Lille host aa Metz side reeling from the news that Kevin N’Doram and Manuel Cabit both miss out after being involved in a serious car accident last Sunday.

On Sunday, meanwhile, Rennes host Amiens before Nantes seek to get back to winning ways against Saint-Erienne, while Montpellier host Toulouse in a Languedoc-Roussillon derby.

Ligue 1 Player to Watch: Wylan Cyprien (£2.12)

Nice’s home match against Bordeaux offers up promising dividend opportunities, not least because it is one of only five eligible fixtures on a silver matchday.

To that end, home midfielder Wylan Cyprien is the man to keep tabs on. Last weekend, the £2.12 midfielder took the honours on Sunday’s gold matchday, picking up dividends as star man, having led Patrick Vieira’s men to a 2-0 victory over Reims.

The 24-year-old midfielder is the hub of Nice’s play and is a vital player both in terms of their build up, set pieces and goal scoring. He has netted four times already in Ligue 1 this season, while he has a couple of assists to his name and is the player everything flows through in Vieira’s system.

If he plays well, Nice, who are set to have a full squad minus only the injured Alexis Claude-Maurice, will be tough to stop


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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