TNT Sports Reload - Episode 13Oct 10
Two bits of early Kylian Mbappe brilliance guided Paris Saint-Germain to victory at Auxerre, and although much of their performance from that point onwards was far from convincing, the capital club are within touching distance of their ninth title in 11 seasons.
Standing in their way are Strasbourg, who like PSG have almost achieved their objective - albeit survival as opposed to silverware - while second-placed Lens will be looking to defeat already-relegated Ajaccio and keep the pressure up on Christophe Galtier's men.
Elsewhere, Marseille play Brest, Rennes in sixth host fourth-placed Monaco and fifth-placed Lille welcome strugglers Nantes to Stade Pierre-Mauroy, with the visitors looking for a priceless win in their battle to beat the drop.
Read on for the lowdown on the main storylines, plus information on how you can watch three matches from the French top flight exclusively live this weekend on BT Sport, with all 10 games taking place at 8pm on Sunday.
PSG homing in on unsatisfactory title
For most teams, an imminent title triumph would be cause for exuberant celebration, and while Paris Saint-Germain players and fans alike will be happy to hoist the Ligue 1 trophy aloft once more, the overwhelming emotion is likely to be relief.
The lack of consistency since the turn of the year has seen Christophe Galtier's men make heavy weather of a league campaign that looked to be a stroll heading into January, while they were knocked out at the last-16 stage of the Champions League and the Coupe de France by Bayern Munich and Marseille respectively.
Meanwhile, off the pitch, there have been stories linking all three of their all-star trio - Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi - with moves away from the Parc des Princes.
Messi's departure this summer seems the most inevitable given that his contract is up this summer, but PSG may also be willing to cash in on Neymar with two years left on his current deal and Manchester United reportedly keen on the 31-year-old, who is sidelined at the moment with an ankle problem that has kept him out since February.
Mbappe is undoubtedly the jewel of the crown and continues to be linked with Real Madrid, and last weekend he showed why once again.
Two gobsmacking efforts from the France star inside eight minutes put PSG in seemingly firm control at Auxerre, although the rest of the contest perhaps illustrated why this has been such an unfulfilling season as the moneybags failed to add to their tally and had their backs against the wall for spells, allowing their hosts to halve the deficit and perhaps feeling fortunate to leave Burgundy with a win.
Achraf Hakimi is still suspended for the trip to Strasbourg, who are virtually safe following an upturn of form since Frederic Antonetti's arrival in February and have acccumulated seven points in the last three games, the latest of which was a 1-1 draw at Troyes as 19-year-old Habib Diarra scored his third goal in six matches with a rasping drive before Rony Lopes' leveller.
Le Racing will be without Alexander Djiku for the visit of the champions following his red card last time out and were cruelly denied a point in the reverse fixture against PSG as Mbappe slammed home a contentious 96th-minute penalty. Can the Alsace outfit avoid the same fate this time?
Lens' title vision slowly fading
Given Paris Saint-Germain's capacity for implosion, it would not be a huge surprise to see the title tussle go down to the final day, which would happen if the current title holders lost at Strasbourg and Lens beat struggling Ajaccio.
However, even the most ardent fan of the Blood and Gold must be starting to think that just a second Ligue 1 crown in their history has slipped from their grasp.
It's hard not to see Lens' 3-1 defeat at the Parc des Princes as a pivotal moment in the run-in, with it being the only time that the team have dropped points since 4 March.
Nevertheless, Franck Haise and his squad should be applauded for an extraordinary rise over the last few years that has led to them ensuring qualification for next season's Champions League, and for as long as things are still mathematically uncertain for top spot, the manager will believe that the league is up for grabs.
Goal difference could play a decisive factor at the end of the campaign, with Lens having a chance to significantly bolster theirs against an Ajaccio side missing several key players and completely demoralised following relegation after suffering their second successive 5-0 defeat, this time against Rennes.
To make matters worse, Mickael Alphonse was given a straight red and may now miss both remaining games this season, the 10th time an Ajaccio player has been given his marching orders in 2022/23 (the joint-highest in Ligue 1 with Montpellier).
Ajaccio also have the most yellow cards in the division this campaign, with such ill-discipline likely to play into the hands of Lens, whose captain Seko Fofana has stepped up on the goalscoring front recently, scoring in each of his last three games, as many as the Ivorian had scored in his previous 28 matches.
The one crumb of comfort Ajaccio have is that the reverse fixture between the sides finished goalless.
A similarly resolute defensive display would greatly endear the Corsicans to third-placed Marseille, who are five points behind Lens with two games left.
Marseille look to keep a-Brest of second
The nature of Marseille's defeat at Lille - taking a first-half lead through Jonathan Clauss before losing 2-1 - is likely to have stuck in the throat of Igor Tudor and his men.
After comfortably containing Lille before the break, L'OM struggled to stop a barrage of attacks, so will be relieved that they are back in the comfortable surroundings of the Stade Velodrome as they continue to fight for a top-two spot, which would see them automatically reach the Champions League group stage rather than navigate qualifying, something they would have to do if they finished third.
Samuel Gigot will have to sit out the upcoming game against Brest however after he was withdrawn inside 20 minutes at Lille following a blow to the head, while Dimitri Payet serves the second of a five-match ban (two of which have been suspended) for slapping Lens assistant manager Yannick Cahuzac earlier this month.
Brest have picked up 18 points from their last nine matches to steer themselves comfortably clear of relegation.
Their last match - an impressive 2-1 win over in-form Clermont - ultimately sealed their spot in Ligue 1 for another season as Franck Honorat ended a seven-match goal drought with a neat touch and finish to equalise before former Huddersfield forward Steve Mounie completed the comeback just after the break, slotting home former Norwich midfielder Pierre Lees-Melou's sliderule assist to end a six-game drought of his own.
Marseille fans thinking they might be able to enjoy a comfortable 90 minutes may be in for a big surprise.
Monaco's top-four spot in jeopardy
Monaco's collapse at Lyon, coupled with Lille's victory over Marseille, means that the principality outfit are now just two points ahead of Les Dogues and are in need of a win going into their trip to Rennes, who are themselves sixth and will leapfrog Philippe Clement's men with a victory.
On a bleak Friday night at Groupama Stadium, Wissam Ben Yedder's second-minute penalty - the earliest in Ligue 1 history - was the only source of comfort for Clement, who subsequently watched his team crumble.
A weak challenge from Caio Henrique allowed Bradley Barcola to supply the unmarked Alexandre Lacazette for the equaliser, before the Brazilian left-back was twice left floundering by Rayan Cherki skill as Lyon turned the game on its head.
Monaco's defence is the worst among the top 11 teams, giving Rennes plenty of cause for optimism, especially after they thumped Ajaccio 5-0, with Amine Gouiri bagging a hat-trick and Jeremy Doku scoring a fine solo effort to notch for the fifth time in six games.
Doku will come up against Henrique down the Belgian's right flank and will certainly fancy his chances, although Monaco are unbeaten in their last four meetings against the Bretons, with neither team keeping a clean sheet in the last 12 head-to-heads across all competitions. They should be goals galore in this one.
Nantes hoping for a Lille respite
Things are looking grim for Nantes.
The Canaries have failed won any of their last 13 league games and haven't netted in their last four, with Pierre Aristouy's appointment as caretaker boss in place of Antoine Kombouare earlier this month not yet having produced the desired new-manager bounce.
The latest setback was a 3-0 defeat to Montpellier, where an awful defensive line allowed Teji Savanier to find Jordan Ferri with acres of space to run into as the visitors opened the scoring, before Joris Chotard exploited Nantes' high line to release Arnaud Nordin, who finished with aplomb.
The third goal was perhaps the worst of the lot as Fabien Centonze made a woeful attempt to track the run of Falaye Sacko, who then had the relatively easy task of beating home goalkeeper Alban Lafont.
Aristouy's men are a point off 16th-placed Auxerre and safety, and the inexperienced head coach will be praying for a double boost as Ignatius Ganago and former Liverpool youngster Pedro Chirivella bid to return from injury.
However, Nantes will need to become much more solid defensively if they are to take anything from a tough trip to Lille.
Paulo Fonseca's men are high on confidence after a barnstorming second half against Marseille saw Les Dogues turn around a one-goal deficit and demonstrate their steel against top opposition, with Jonathan David netting from the spot just after half-time before Jonathan Bamba made it 2-1 with a clinical header from Remy Cabella's pinpoint cross.
Frustratingly for Fonseca, he will be without left-back Ismaily and Everton loanee Andre Gomes after they both suffered thigh problems against L'OM, but centre-backs Jose Fonte and Alexsandro are back from yellow-card suspensions, although Manchester United academy graduate Angel Gomes has picked up a one-game ban of his own.
Nantes can cling to the fact that the reverse fixture against Lille back in August ended in a 1-1 draw, and a point at Stade Pierre-Mauroy would hoist them out of the bottom four if Auxerre were to fall to defeat at Toulouse.