Ligue 1 Preview: Match Day 17

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A full card of fixtures in Ligue 1 on Wednesday will bring a wretched 2020 to a close in France’s top flight.

If there have been concerns over club finances brought about by a combination of the coronavirus crisis and the Mediapro television deal breaking down, at least on the field there has been excitement generated by the beginnings of a title race.

Lille continue to lead the way in Ligue 1 after their 0-0 draw against Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday, while Lyon remain firmly in the hunt after an impressive 4-1 away win over Nice at the weekend.

All three teams can still finish 2020 top of the tree, with that honour decided this week.

Ligue 1 Match of the Round: Montpellier vs Lille

Lille’s tricky end to the year continues on Wednesday where they visit Montpellier, the side lying sixth in the standings.

Christophe Galtier’s side have been the subject of a takeover over the past few days, but fans have been assured by new president Olivier Letang that – as far as possible – the squad will be retained.

The unit in the coach’s possession is designed to be playing three games a week due to their European commitments, and with few injury issues in their ranks, they travel to Stade de la Mosson in good spirits. Renato Sanches, however, misses out again.

Montpellier, meanwhile, could only draw 2-2 at Brest. Arguably a bigger concern, though, is their home form, losing four of their last five in their own backyard. They will likely be without key man Teji Savanier for this encounter. 

Rest of the Round

As was the case last Wednesday, fixtures have been split into five early games and five late games. 

The highlight of the earlier kick offs is arguably Rennes’ hosting of in-form Metz. After crashing out of the Champions League, Julien Stephan’s side have rediscovered their winning touch, getting the better of Marseille on Friday night.

Elsewhere, unpredictable Bordeaux play Reims, Nice will try to get back on track against struggling Lorient and injury-ravaged Nimes face Dijon. The other fixture, which features Lens and Brest, has the potential to be a spectacular affair.

Most of the big guns are held back for the later kick offs, with PSG facing Strasbourg and Lyon slated to play Nantes.

Marseille will attempt to keep the pressure up on the top three by winning in Angers, while Monaco and Saint-Etienne is the other game on the midweek card.

Ligue 1 Player to Watch: Martin Terrier – Rennes – £0.48

It has been a tough start to the season for Rennes winger Martin Terrier, who arrived in the summer from Lyon with high expectations. So far, he has failed to live up to those.

However, there were signs during his cameo appearance in Lorient on Sunday that could be about to change. When he arrived on the field, Rennes instantly became more vibrant, he scored one goal and might have had another.

He has surely earned his right to be rotated into the team and this is his opportunity to make a big statement before the close of hostilities for the year.

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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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