OUR man in France is Julien Laurens and today he's looking at two Saturday games.
Julien is a London-based sports correspondent for Le Parisien and a veritable French football expert. He writes in French and English for a number of esteemed publications and is a regular on BT Sport as well as contributing to Unibet.
Lyon v Amien (Sat 4pm)
Lyon host Amiens on Saturday afternoon and have great momentum carrying them. They overtook Marseille in third place thanks to a better goal difference after their thrashing of Metz last weekend (5-0) and have won each of their last four league games, scoring 11 goals and conceding only two.
They are high on confidence and even have Nabil Fekir back after he missed the last few weeks through injury. It is a big boost to have him back. Lyon have played in a 4-3-1-2 formation in the last game to accommodate him on his return and to be able to play Memphis Depay up front as well. He was outstanding in that position last weekend in Metz, scoring once and setting up four more.
He will play up front again on Saturday, probably alongside Mariano Diaz. They could complement each other quite well too. Manager Bruno Genesio has all his players available and his team have showed great character this season. Lyon are seven points behind Monaco, in second but a win for l’OL combined with a defeat of Monaco in Paris on Sunday and they would be back just four points behind. Lyon have never faced Amiens at home in Ligue 1 ever before but the home side will be wary of Amiens’ decent record away from home in the league this season.
Amiens are pretty sure to stay up which is a wonderful achievement after being promoted only in the summer and having a limited squad. But they have done really well this season and now they play without any pressure. They still want to put on a good display against a top club.
- Lyon 3, Amiens 1 (19-2, Unibet)
- Depay to score first (39-10, Unibet)
- Lyon win and btts (9-4, Unibet)
Rennes v Metz (Sat 7pm)
Rennes host Metz on Saturday evening at the Roazhon Park. The home side are 5th in the table, leading the race for a 5th place finish which would take them into the Europa League next season.
They are doing a very good job since manager Sabri Lamouchi took over just before Christmas. They are solid at the back and creative up front. They were unlucky to only get a point against Monaco at home 10 days ago for example, but they were also a bit unlucky to only get a point away at Nice last weekend (1-1).
They have been really good and are heavily favoured this weekend when they face the team bottom of the table. Lamouchi has pretty much all his squad available for this game. He should line up his team in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Khazri either as the false 9 up front or behind the striker Diafra Sakho.
Rennes have not lost in the league since the beginning of February against Guingamp, a run of eight games in a row (four wins and four defeats). They are really high on confidence and momentum going into this game, but have not been good at home this season with six losses already (six wins, three draws). However, they have not lost at home in the league against Metz in 18 years!
For Metz, time is running out for a miraculous escape. They are bottom of the table, seven points from Troyes in 18th, the playoff place, and eight behind Toulouse in 17th. They need points and quickly if they want to keep their hopes of staying up.
But they are on a terrible run of results. Their last win was at the end of January, 10 matches ago. In the mean-time, they got thrashed twice 5-0 by Paris SG and Lyon. They need a positive response after the heavy defeat against l’OL last weekend but I don’t think they will get it.