OUR man in France is Julien Laurens and tonight he's looking at Lyon v Nantes and Monaco v Amiens.
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 Nantes (Sat 4pm)
Lyon host Nantes on Saturday afternoon at the Groupama Stadium. L’OL have won their last six league matches. They have cut the gap between themselves in third and Monaco in second to just two points, and they have great momentum going into this game.
The players and the manager are confident they can overtake Monaco before the end of the season to finish second and qualify directly for the Champions League next season. The manager has Mariano Diaz available again after he missed their last game against Dijon away, where the Lyon attack was exceptional, even without Diaz.
hey have scored 18 goals in their last five games in Ligue 1, including two 5-0 wins. Their new 4-3-1-2 formation has been a great success and gets the best out of Nabil Fekir in the number 10 role. Memphis Depay has also been excellent up front, a new position for him. Lyon are looking to score more on Saturday against Nantes, who are very solid defensively. Their home record against them is excellent as they have not lost at home against them since 1996.
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On the other hand, Nantes are still playing to finish fifth and qualify for the Europa League next season. They are ninth in the table but only four points behind Nice in fifth. They believe they can do it, although they know it won’t be easy.
Getting a win in Lyon would be fantastic. However, they will be without Emiliano Sala, their best player and striker, who is suspended. Diego Carlos, their best defender, is also out, so it is a very weakened Nantes team which will travel to Lyon on Saturday. I think Lyon will make it seven wins in a row.
Monaco v Amiens (Sat 7pm)
Monaco host Amiens on Saturday evening in a crucial game. Monaco are in crisis after two heavy defeats in a row in Ligue 1: 7-1 away in Paris and 3-1 away in Guingamp. They are still second in the table but just one point clear of Lyon and Marseille.
L’OL and l’OM are on fire though and Monaco have to bounce back and get back to winning ways if they want to stay in second and qualify directly for the Champions League next season. They are just not playing well at the moment and their key players are not performing either.
Leonardo Jardim was critical of his players all week and he expects a response on Saturday. He wants his players to fight harder and up their level. He will have his captain and striker Radamel Falcao back in the team after he missed the defeat in Guingamp last weekend.
Djibril Sidibé is still out injured, as are Keita Baldé and Stevan Jovetic, while Jemerson is suspended after being sent off last weekend. Monaco have been solid at home, with just on loss all season against Paris but this is maybe the biggest game of their season. They cannot afford to drop any more points until the end of the season.
For their first season ever in the top flight, Amiens have defied all the odds by staying up. They are 13th in the table with 40 points and are safe. It is a great achievement. They want to finish as well and high as possible but this is a tricky game for them. They know Monaco need to win and they will have no pressure at all but I still think Monaco are on a mission to win and they will.