OUR man in France is Julien Laurens and he's looking at Marseille v Metz.
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.
Marseille v Metz (Fri 7.45pm)
Marseille, currently third in the table, host bottom side Metz on Friday evening at the Stade Velodrome. It is a huge opportunity for l’OM as Lyon and Monaco, currently second and third, face each other on Sunday evening. So Marseille can take advantage of them facing each other and put pressure on them with a win on Friday.
Marseille drew 2-2 with Monaco last weekend and they are on a good run of form: only one loss in their last 18 league matches and eight league games without a defeat at home now as well. They are playing well and are strong at the moment. Manager Rudi Garcia has pretty much his all squad available, except Jordan Amavi, still out injured. But the team has coped well without him on the left hand side.
The 4-2-3-1 formation is working very well with Payet on the left, Sanson in the centre and Thauvin on the right. Up front, Valère Germain is doing very well and has now scored in each of his last four games. Marseille have lost only once at home this season, back in September. They have an excellent record at home against Metz.
However, the visitors are in the form of their lives! They have lost just once in their last six league matches with four wins and one draw! They have great momentum going into this game. There is new life in the team and they really believe they can stay up.
They are only six points behind Troyes in 18th now. They have Dossevi out injured but they have done well without him. Manager Frederic Hantz has moved striker Nolan Roux on the left and he has been on fire since, scoring and assisting. Metz have nothing to lose on Friday and will fancy their chances. But I think Marseille will be too strong.