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Rivals Lyon, St. Etienne intensify battle for Ligue One final Champions League spot

Two of the three Champions League spots are almost sorted in Ligue One. Champions PSG have already sealed their participation in Europe’s ultimate club showpiece while Lille look ever increasingly likely to join them.

That leaves the third and final spot up for grabs. The two team vying for it are eternal rivals Lyon and Saint Etienne who sit third and fourth respectively.

Lyon have their fate in their own hands as they currently hold a three point advantage over Etienne. On the weekend, Bruno Genesio’s side have a chance to brighten their chances of finishing third and also close in on second, when they host Lille.

The problem for Lyon has been the fact that they keep on blowing hot and cold. Last week, they scrapped to a 3-2 come-back victory over Bordeaux, their second victory in as many games.

However, it would be no surprise if they failed to beat Lille on Sunday, like they have done all season, exhibiting high levels of inconsistency.

Against Lille, Genesio’s side comes up against an adventurous and fearless team who have won admirers all season. Last week, they crashed Nimes 5-0 with their forward trio of Loic Remy, Jonathan Bamba and Nicholas Pepe all on the score-sheet.

This promises to be a thrilling encounter, one that Saint Etienne will be following closely.

Etienne too will have their hands almost full on the same day as they travel away to Monaco at the Stade de Luis II.

Etienne know that they cannot afford any slip ups if they are to stand any chances of progressing to the Champions League next season. Currently, Jean-Luis Gasset’s side are the most in-form team in Ligue One having won four of their last five fixtures, including all of the last three.

Last week, they ran out 2-0 convincing winners at home to Toulouse with Robert Beric scoring a brace.

Against Monaco, they face a side that still has relegation concerns to take care of. Leandro Jerdim’s side have somehow failed to escape the relegation dog-fight as they keep on dropping vital points.

Currently seated in 16th, Monaco are coming off a 2-2 draw away to Rennes in a game that they trailed 2-0 at some point.

A win over Etienne may be the catalyst to ensuring Monaco doesn’t drop into the second tier at the close of the season but with Champions League top of the priority list for the visitors, a classic may as well be on the cards.

French Ligue One action gets underway on Friday with Rudi Garcia’s Olympique de Marseille away to deteriorating Strasbourg.

After a run of poor results that have seen them win only two of their last six, Marseille look likely to miss out on Champions League football as they currently sit 6th, 8 points off third spot.

This past weekend, they lost 2-1 at home to Nantes, a result that left the Marseille faithful calling for Garcia to be sacked. It looks likely that the Frenchman will eventually lose his job at the end of the season but taking care of a Strasbourg side that has not won in four, will be the main focus for now.

Elsewhere, PSG who have also won only once in four games, host Nice. In-form Montpellier are at home to Amiens while rock-bottom Guingamp takes on Caen in a relegation six pointer.

The French Ligue One fixtures this weekend

Friday, 03-05-2019

-Strasbourg vs Marseille @9:45pm

Saturday, 04-05-2019

-PSG vs Nice @6pm

-Bordeaux vs Angers SC @9pm

-Reims vs Nimes @9pm

-Guingamp vs Caen @9pm

Sunday, 05-05-2019

-Montpellier vs Amiens @4pm

-Nantes vs Dijon @4pm

-Toulouse vs Rennes @4pm

-Monaco vs Saint Etienne @6pm

-Lyon vs Lille @10pm

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