Olympique Marseille are slowly but steadily relinquishing Champions League football next season as a string of bad results have seen them drop into 6th on the standings.
With just three games to play in the season, Rudi Garcia’s side find themselves in a desperate situation as they are now required to take all 9 points from their last games and pray the three teams above them falter, so as to return to Europe’s ultimate club showpiece.
Poor is the right word to use when describing Marseille’s form of late as they have won only two of their last 7 Ligue One games and are currently 8 points off the top three.
The 1-1 draw away to out of form Strasbourg last week further highlighted what a trying season it has been for one of French football’s most adored sides.
On Sunday, they have a chance to close in on the Champions League when they host third placed Lyon at the Orange Velodrome Stadium.
The Choc des Olympiques, like the rivalry is commonly know in France, will have adverse effects on who finishes third as Saint Etienne is also waiting to pounce on Lyon’s woes.
Unlike Marseille, Lyon seem to be picking form of late having taken 7 out of a possible last 9 points with victories over Angers, Bordeaux and then a draw at home to high-flying Lille.
With 37 victories as compared to Marseille’s 36, Lyon go into the game as slight favourites but like the recent Choc des Olympiques have proved, small margins are set to decide who win the contest.
The French Ligue one week-36 action will begin on Friday night with another mouth-watering fixture pitting 4th placed Saint Etienne hosting Montpellier (5th) at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
With Lyon away to Marseille on Sunday, Jean Louis Gasset’s side have a chance to temporarily go 3rd as they currently sit only a point behind Bruno Genesio’s side.
However, they face one of Ligue One’s most in-form clubs in Montpellier. Der Zakarian’s side head into the encounter having won four of their last six games whilst losing only once.
The goals of striking duo of Andy Delort and Gaetan Laborde have seen Montpellier make a late surge for Europe and with 8 points separating them from third spot, they are also still dreaming of a spot in the Champions League.
Etienne have some serious injury concerns going into the contest with Neven Subotic, Gabriel Silva, Lois Diony and Kevin Monnet-Paquet all struggling with injuries.
For Montpellier, only Ruben Aguilar is side lined due to injury.
The other fixture to look out for in Ligue One this weekend will be PSG’s visit to Angers on Saturday afternoon.
PSG have endured a trying period of late, winning only one of their last six League games and as a consequence, seen their lead at the top of Ligue One cut to 16 points by Lille.
Last week, they drew 1-1 at home to Nice with Edinson Cavani missing a late penalty to compound their misery. After the game, star-player Naymer clashed with Julien Draxler, further highlighting that all is not well at the Parisian club.
With top scorer Kylian Mbappe still out due to suspension, Tomas Tuchel’s side are still not at full strength but will be tipped to take care of Angers.
The other Ligue one fixtures to look out for will be Monaco’s visit at Nimes, free-scoring Rennes host relegation-bound Guingamp while second placed Lille are at home to Bordeaux.
The Ligue One fixtures this weekend
-Saint Etienne vs Montpellier @9:45pm
-Angers vs PSG @6pm
-Amiens vs Toulouse 9pm
-Caen vs Reims 9pm
-Dijon vs Strasbourg 9pm
-Nice vs Nantes 9pm
-Nimes vs Monaco 9pm
-Rennes vs Guingamp 4pm
-Lille vs Bordeaux 6pm
-Marseille vs Lyon 10pm