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Football

Lyon stand in way of Monaco revival

Monaco have defeated Nantes and Toulouse in their last three games (Agency photo)

Spotlights fall squarely on Monaco’s January arrivals Naldo, Gelson Martins, Cesc Fabregas and manager Leonardo Jardim when the principality club hosts Olympique Lyon in a collision between French Ligue One’s diminished giants.

Former Sporting Lisbon winger Martins arrived on loan from Spanish giants Atletico Madrid and has been an instant hit, by being involved in six goals as the 2017 champions have climbed to two positions above the relegation zone.

Jardim’s calming influence since replacing sacked club legend Thierry Henry has helped Monaco to victories over Nantes and Toulouse as well as a gutsy draw at high flying Montpellier. But in multiple former titlists Olympique Lyon the Portuguese gaffer faces his toughest test. Bruno Genesio’s visitors are in fine fettle and come into this fixture on the back of an inspired Champions League goalless draw with European heavyweights FC Barcelona.

Another January recruit, Cesc Fabregas, who arrived on a free transfer from London club Chelsea, has also been among the goals. Jardim will however be hoping Brazilian Naldo, has put behind a nightmarish start to his loan from Schalke that saw him twice receive marching orders.

Burkina Faso winger Bertrand Traore, Maoussa Dembele and Memphis Deepay will carry Lyon’s attacking threat.

Runaway leaders Paris Saint Germain are expected to make light work of Nimes despite the continued absence of injured forwards Neymar and Edinson Cavani.

Ligue One top scorer Kylian Mbappe Lottin is the man to watch after he plundered his 20th goal of the season in PSG’s 5-1 victory over Montpellier on Wednesday night

Christophe Galtier’s second placed Lille Metropole face a daunting trip to France’s Alscace region where hosts Strasbourg always give a good account of themselves.

Strasbourg’s South African forward Lebo Mothiba and Lille’s Ivory Coast wing dynamo Nicholas Pepe are the stars to focus on as the visitors try to bounce back from last weekend’s goalless stalemate at home to Montpellier.

Ligue One Fixtures:

FRIDAY: 

-Dijon v Saint Etienne @9:00pm

-Strasbourg v Lille Metropole @10:45pm

SATURDAY: 

-Paris SG v Nimes @7pm

-Guingamp v Angers @10pm

-Amiens v Nice @10pm

SUNDAY:

-Montpellier v Reims @5pm

-Toulouse v Caen @5pm

-Nantes v Girondin Bordeaux @5pm

-Rennes vs Marseille @7pm

-Monaco v Olympique Lyon @11pm

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