Ligue 1 Preview: Match Day 16

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Paris Saint-Germain saw their lead at the summit of Ligue 1 cut to just five points by Marseille over the weekend, and by the time the capital side play Nantes on Wednesday, they could find themselves just two clear of Andre Villas-Boas’ side.

While heavy rain on France’s Mediterranean coast prevented the defending champions from playing Monaco – a match that is likely to be moved to mid-January – the postponement has at least given France’s top flight the illusion of having a possible title race.

OM, though, have to produce the goods in the second midweek round of matches this season in what is a period that will test the depth of each club.

Ligue 1 Match of the Round: Lyon vs Lille 

Lyon’s Tuesday night fixture at home against Lille takes top billing in round 16, with the two Champions League clubs having both endured tricky starts domestically.

While neither OL or their northern counterparts have hit the heights they managed last season, they are only two points shy of Champions League football next season and a victory in this encounter would represent a major boost to their morale as they chase that.

Lyon are hopeful that Memphis Depay may be back from injury ahead of this match, with the mercurial Dutchman sorely missed in recent fixtures, though France international full-back Leo Dubois may be out for the rest of the season after a serious knee injury sustained as he came on in the 2-1 win over Strasbourg at the weekend.

Meanwhile, Lille are seeking an unlikely away success given that no Ligue 1 side has struggled as much on the road this season as Christophe Galtier’s. They have just two points to their name when travelling. 

Loic Remy is set to return to the fold for the northern side, who continue to lean heavily on the goals of Victor Osimhen for success. It was his penalty that gave them a deserved 1-0 win over Dijon last weekend.

Rest of the Round

It’s third against second at Stade Raymond Kopa, where Angers play host to in-form Marseille on Tuesday. While OM produced their best performance of the season, they still struggled past Brest 2-1 at the weekend, while their hosts have won six of eight on home turf this term.

Bordeaux will try to keep their positive run of form going against second-bottom Nimes, but will have to do without the suspended Aurelien Tchouameni, while Brest host Strasbourg.

Wednesday’s matches see bottom side Toulouse host Monaco, who surely have the edge after their weekend postponement, particularly as their hosts are depleted by injury and suspension in their defence.

Nice will try to build upon their fine performance in defeating Amiens 3-1 at the weekend at injury-hit Saint-Etienne, while Montpellier go chasing a rare away win against struggling Dijon.

Amiens will tackle Reims at Stade de la Licorne and Metz face Rennes.

The round climaxes with Paris Saint-Germain hosting Nantes.

Ligue 1 Player to Watch: Myziane Maolida – Nice – £0.73)

In a bid to shake his side out of their offensive lethargy, Patrick Vieira made some surprising changes at the weekend. He gambled on young winger Myziane Maolida and midfielder Arnold Lusamba, and this decision proved pivotal as they overcame Amiens.

Both were involved in all of the goals, with former Lyon youth Maolida showing signs of the player who had once commanded immense hype and a transfer fee of €10 million. 

The 20-year-old has done precious little to justify the noise that once surrounded him, with his weekend goal his first since leaving the Rhone giants. His overall performance, though, was hugely encouraging, suggesting that the prospect, who has lain dormant for a year, could be about to blossom. 

Given his success at the weekend and his lack of game time, he will surely not be rotated out of the starting XI to face Saint-Etienne on Wednesday. Although the home side do not concede often, they are ravaged by injuries and appear to be there for the taking by a Nice side whose confidence should be renewed.

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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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