Ligue 1 Preview: Match Day 19

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The Christmas break is rapidly approaching in France, with clubs having the opportunity for a fortnight off following the weekend’s action.

Critically, when they return, they will have the opportunity to strengthen their squads, with various teams around the league looking to do so due to a variety of different reasons.

Lyon, for example, have been hit hard by a succession of long-term injury issues, most notably to Memphis Depay, and suddenly looked very short as they attempt to get a Champions League challenge back on course.

Elsewhere, it is the sides at the bottom of the league who are likely to be most adventurous, with Toulouse, particularly needing a shot in the arm. Everyone, though, will be eager to finish 2019 on a high first.

Ligue 1 Match of the Weekend: Monaco vs Lille

Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim finds his job under pressure once more, despite an improved run of results from his side in the league. 

Performances, though, have not necessarily followed. Last weekend’s stale scoreless draw in Angers was a lamentable watch, while the thumping Coupe de la Ligue loss at the hands of Lille on Tuesday only served to place a greater weight on his shoulders.

He has the opportunity to respond against the same opponents immediately on Saturday as Monaco chase a seventh successive home victory in the league.

Lille, meanwhile, have rediscovered their best over the course of the last month. Excluding a Champions League loss at Chelsea, in which they played with a virtual reserve team, they have won five in succession, taking out the likes of Lyon and Montpellier along the way.

Victor Osimhen is a doubt for the visiting side following a heart scare in midweek, but with Loic Remy bagging two in that game, they have shown they have the firepower to trouble the hosts.

Rest of the Weekend

Every game will be played at 19:45 GMT on Saturday this weekend, with leaders Paris Saint-Germain seeking to continue their good run against out-of-form Amiens.

Marseille may have seen their winning streak broken in Metz last time out but remain in good touch and will expect to see off struggling Nimes at Stade Velodrome.

Upwardly mobile Rennes play host to a Bordeaux side moving in the opposite direction and sturdy Reims welcome inconsistent Lyon, while Nantes host Angers in another clash between top-half sides.

At the other end of the standings, Nice will seek to push away from the drop zone by overcoming a Toulouse side that has now lost its last eight games, while Dijon tackle Metz in a clash between two clubs fighting to avoid a play-off spot.

Montpellier will seek to regain some momentum after a recent lull when Brest visit Stade de la Mosson, while Strasbourg will seek to take advantage of fatigued Saint-Etienne in Alsace.

Ligue 1 Player to Watch: Nemanja Radonjic – Marseille – £0.71

Marseille have had problems filling their wing positions this season, but Nemanja Radonjic may just help them to solve that headache. Highly rated when he joined from Red Star Belgrade in 2018, the only impression the 23-year-old made in his first season was a negative one.

He has since been rejuvenated by Andre Villas-Boas, netting his first goal for the club against Toulouse on November 24 after coming off the bench.

Since then, he has arrived into play late on four further occasions and has scored three goals, including a late winner against Brest. With his confidence high and the opposition weak, this is surely an ideal opportunity to start the winger for the first time since October and just the third time this season.


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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