OUR man in France is Julien Laurens and he's looking at Toulouse v Monaco.
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.
Toulouse v Monaco (Sat 4pm)
Monaco have a huge opportunity to widen the gap between them and Marseille and Lyon, if they can win this weekend. With two huge games for Marseille, away at Paris SG, and Lyon, against St Etienne, the French champions could take advantage to extend their lead in second place.
They are a point clear of Marseille in third and six clear of Lyon in fourth. They are currently on a great run of form with four wins in a row in Ligue 1 (13 goals scored, one conceded) and no league defeat since the end of November. They deserve to be in second place in the table and they will be hard to overtake. They can’t make any mistakes though and this is a tricky trip.
Monaco have been good away from home so far (6 wins 3 draws, 3 losses). They will be without Radamel Falcao, still injured, but everyone else is available. Stevan Jovetic is back after a small injury last weekend and is in contention to start up front with Keita Baldé. Thomas Lemar is back to his best as well in the number 10 role and Monaco look very strong. They lost in Toulouse last season (3-1) but it was only their second loss there since 2001, so they usually do well over there.
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For the home side, this will be another fight in their relegation battle. They are 16th in the table, just one point above Amiens in 18th. They are doing better under new manager Mickael Debeve (2 wins, 1 draw and 1 defeat against Paris SG). Max-Alain Gradel has been their best player this season and has been decisive recently.
However, I think it will really tough for them against Monaco and I expect them to be beaten.