Ligue 1 Preview: Match Day 29

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Coronavirus remains the main talking point across France, with the League having announced that all matches will take place behind closed doors for at least the next month.

As the world of sport becomes increasingly impacted by the illness, notably with Juventus player Daniele Rugani’s positive test for the disease, which throws into major doubt Lyon’s ability to face the Turin side next week, it becomes increasingly doubtful that these fixtures will even take place.

The first professional French match to suffer came in Strasbourg last week, with Racing’s fixture against Paris Saint-Germain postponed at the last minute over concerns that the packed stadium could aid the easy spread of COVID-19

PSG responded in fine style by overcome Dortmund 2-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday to move through to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2016, though their achievement and strong display continues to be understandably overshadowed by off-field events.

Ligue 1 Match of the Week: PSG vs Nice

Following a mature European display on Wednesday, it’s back to league duty for Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday, with a home encounter against Patrick Vieira’s in-form Nice side.

Goals from Neymar and Juan Bernat allowed Thomas Tuchel’s men to chalk up a fourth-successive win as they overcame Dortmund in midweek, propelling them through to a quarter-final that may never be played.

PSG’s overall display was a strong one, with the defensive aspects of their team especially impressive. Presnel Kimpembe and Marquinhos were terrific at the heart of the defence, while Idrissa Gueye shored up the midfield, while further forward Kylian Mbappe missed out due to a viral infection that proved not to be COVID-19.

On Sunday, they will again play in front of an empty Parc des Princes, with Nice the guests.

Led by Kasper Dolberg’s double, Vieira’s team picked up derby honours against Monaco last weekend thanks to a 2-1 home win. They rode their luck to get the points, with their opponents twice hitting the bar.

While Nice are four undefeated, they will travel without Youcef Atal and Wylan Cyprien, who both remain injured, as they attempt to enhance their European aspirations.

Ligue 1: Elsewhere in Round 29

Lyon kick-off the weekend’s action with a home match against Reims. Rudi Garcia’s men are still slated to play Juventus next Tuesday, but that fixture has to be under grave doubt due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Wobbling Marseille will kick-off early on Saturday against Montpellier. Andre Villas-Boas’ side have won only one of their last three fixtures and tackle one of the division’s best home teams.

On Saturday night, Lille are the only one of the leading sides in action, with the Champions League hopefuls set to visit Brest.

Otherwise, relegation is the main issue up for debate late on Saturday. Amiens’ home match against Angers is an especially big fixture, while Dijon face a tricky trip to Strasbourg, Nimes go to out-of-sorts Nantes, and Metz will journey to a Toulouse side whose relegation fate already seems decided.

In-form Rennes journey to Bordeaux on Sunday, while luckless Monaco – they have hit the woodwork five times in two matches – play host to Saint-Etienne.

Ligue 1 Player to Watch: Loic Remy – Lille – £0.31

Available for just 31p, veteran attacker Loic Remy finds himself in a run of form for Lille the type of which he has not enjoyed for many years.

Having finally managed to get himself fit for a sustained period of time, the former Lyon, Marseille and Chelsea forward has rediscovered his eye for goal, returning seven in just 20 Ligue 1 matches.

While all of these have been scored at home, he remains on an upward curve, and with Lille having won their last three away matches, they will travel to out-of-form Brest confident of recording a seventh win in eight games.

Having netted three in his last three, Remy will be confident he can add to that tally in Brittany.


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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