OUR man in France is Julien Laurens and he's looking at Lyon v Caen and Toulouse v Marseille.
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 Caen (Sun 4pm)
Lyon host Caen three days after their good win away at CSKA Moscow (1-0) in the Europa League last 16 first leg. They came back really late from Russia in the early hours of Friday morning and won’t have much time to prepare for this game. They will be a bit tired as well but the win in Moscow was huge for their confidence.
Lyon have been struggling in the league recently with no win in their last six games (three draws and three defeats) for the first time in 40 years! They only got a draw last weekend at Montpellier but a win is needed this weekend.
Les Gones have to get back to winning ways and get points on the board. They are fourth in the table but five points behind Marseille in third and nine behind Monaco in second. Their objective was to finish second but it looks like a long shot now.
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Captain and best player Nabil Fekir is still missing. He missed the game in midweek too. The team should play in a 4-3-3 formation with Depay, Diaz and Traoré as a front three. Lyon want their revenge after being beaten by Caen in the French Cup quarter finals last week (1-0). They have only lost one in their whole history at home in the league against Caen.
But Caen are in good form at the moment. Their win against Lyon at home in the cup was huge for them. They are also doing well in the league (12th) with only one loss in their last four league matches. Their away form this season has been a worry though with just three victories all season, and so I think Lyon will win on Sunday.
- Lyon 2, Caen 0 (13-2, Unibet)
- Depay to score first (23-5, Unibet)
- Lyon win both halves (5-2, Unibet)
Toulouse v Marseille (Sun 8pm)
Marseille, who travel to Toulouse on Sunday evening, put on a great display on Thursday in the Europa League against Athletic Bilbao (3-1). Dimitri Payet was on fire in this game and Marseille were really impressive. They have been in very good form lately, apart against Paris when they got beaten twice in four days.
However, the bad news from midweek is the injury of Florian Thauvin. The French international has been Marseille best player this season, especially in the league. He should be out for this game and it would be a huge blow for the team. In his absence, Payet and Lucas Ocampos, who scored twice in midweek, have to step in.
Kostas Mitroglou is also out. Marseille are currently 3rd in the table, only four points behind Monaco now and five ahead of Lyon. They are still very much in the hunt for the second place but they will have to be very strong to catch Monaco. It starts in Toulouse where they haven’t lost in the league in over 10 years.
However, Toulouse’s form has been good since new manager Mickael Debeve took over. They snatched a draw at home against Monaco two weeks ago despite being 3-1 down with just 15 minutes to go.
They are only 17th in the table, just above the relegation zone but they have a bit of momentum going into this game with only one loss (against Paris) in their last five league matches.