Five things to watch during a midweek Ligue 1 feast including Montpellier vs Paris Saint-Germain - live on BT Sport!

The reigning champions head to the Stade de la Mosson off the back of a gutting 1-1 draw with Reims in which Folarin Balogun equalised in the 96th minute at the Parc des Princes.

By Alex Bowmer Published: 30 January 2023 - 5.14pm

After an exciting weekend of Ligue 1 action, there's more to come in midweek, with a full programme of games on Wednesday, four of which are exclusively live on BT Sport.

Following a run of just one win in four league games, reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain will hope to get back on track against Montpellier after dropping two points at the death at home to Reims, while fellow title contenders Lens and Marseille face Nice and Nantes respectively. 

Read on for all the major storylines ahead of Matchday 21, along with all the TV information you need to know. 

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PSG stuttering in face of title defence

This time last month, the destination of the title seemed a foregone conclusion, with Kylian Mbappe's 96th-minute winner against Strasbourg putting Paris Saint-Germain seven points ahead of nearest challengers Lens and 11 points clear of Rennes (in third place at that time). 

Fast forward to today, and Christophe Galtier's men now have two teams on their tail, with Lens just three points adrift and Marseille only two points further behind. 

In part, that's due to the impressive form of the two chasers - particularly Marseille - but had PSG played to their potential, they would have remained a significant distance clear, whatever their rivals had done.

Instead, lapses of concentration defensively allowed both Lens and Rennes to beat them, either side of an unconvincing 2-0 win for the capital club against struggling Angers.

Their latest setback was a 1-1 home draw with Reims, where Neymar netted a close-range opener and PSG dominated possession despite seeing Marco Verratti receive a straight red following a VAR review just before the hour for a late, lunging challenge on Japan World Cup star Junya Ito which rolled the winger's right ankle. 

Reims' numerical superiority counted for little initially as Sergio Ramos' downward header was helped onto the bar before the ball was scrambled away.

However, with virtually the last kick of the game, 16-year-old Warren Zaire-Emery's misdirected header near the centre circle was pounced on by Moussa Doumbia, who slid the perfect through-ball into the path of Folarin Balogun for the Arsenal loanee to race clear, round Gianluigi Donnarumma and steer home superbly from a tight angle.

That sort of goal feels like it could have been prevented with Verratti on the field, and having been unavailable for the previous four games through injury, the 30-year-old now faces a two-game suspension, somewhat stretching the team's options in midfield, although Renato Sanches is starting to get some minutes under his belt again after a layoff of his own.

Now, Galtier must pick his team up for a trip to Montpellier, who arrested a four-match losing streak at the weekend by defeating 19th-placed Auxerre without the suspended Wahbi Khazri and Elye Wahi, who will also miss this upcoming fixture after being sent off against Nantes.

Sitting only 14th themselves, La Paillade are far from safe though. If PSG are to get back to winning ways soon, the Stade de la Mosson seems a good place to start.

Reims' Folarin Balogun rounds Gianluigi Donnarumma to score
Folarin Balogun's coolly taken 96th-minute equaliser was a crushing blow for Paris Saint-Germain

Angers staring at unwanted record

With 18 games of the campaign, it may feel too early to be branding games "six-pointers". 

That being said, both Angers and Ajaccio are entrenched in the bottom four, with Le SCO currently 11 points adrift of safety and their upcoming Corsican opponents three points off 16th-placed Brest. 

Angers' plight is becoming increasingly desperate. They have fallen to defeat in their last 12 league games, having failed to pick up a point since Abdel Bouhazama took caretaker charge during the World Cup break. 

Should they lose at home to Olivier Pantaloni's men, the Black and Whites would break a painful Ligue 1 record for the worst losing streak in the competition's history.

A last-16 Coupe de France meeting with Nantes next Wednesday could provide a welcome respite from their top-tier travails, but for now, the grim reality is that they need wins (and quickly) if they are to avoid relegation to Ligue 2.

The departure of star midfielder Azzedine Ounahi is a body blow to those hopes though, and his Morocco team-mate Sofiane Boufal is also on the brink of leaving Stade Raymond Kopa, having been left out of the last two matchday squads ahead of an expected move to Qatari side Al-Sadd.

Bouhazama was also missing seven players for the 4-0 thrashing at Brest either through injury and suspension, but with all that said, Ajaccio are on a four-match losing run in the league, and also had seven players out for their 2-0 defeat at home to Lyon at the weekend.

In a match between two outfits with blunt attacks and leaky defences, it's hard to know if there will be goals or not in this one. One thing's for sure however: it will be tense, as the 1-0 win to Ajaccio in the reverse fixture would indicate. 

Morocco internationals and former Angers team-mates Azzedine Ounahi and Sofiane Boufal receive trophies for their World Cup 2022 performances
Angers are set to lose both Azzedine Ounahi and Sofiane Boufal this January in their desperate fight against relegation

Can Lens maintain 100% home record?

Lens will have seen last Saturday as a massive opportunity missed. 

Three points off Paris Saint-Germain going into the game at Troyes, they fell behind on 50 minutes to former Liverpool youngster Yasser Larouci's strike only to rescue a point late on through new signing Adrien Thomasson, who netted in his second successive game after scoring in the Coupe de France win at Brest. 

Franck Haise must have felt a tinge of regret on seeing PSG's draw with Reims that his side hadn't cut the gap to one point by the end of the weekend, but the Blood and Gold have the opportunity to make amends with victory over Nice, who are thriving under caretaker boss Didier Digard, picking up wins over Montpellier and most recently Lille coming either side of a draw with Reims. 

Those results have seen the Eagles creep back into the top 10, and Digard's charges could climb as high as eighth if they claim victory at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis and both Clermont and Lyon drop points against Lille and Brest respectively. 

Indeed, Nice will only need a draw to leapfrog those two teams if they both lose, but the French Riviera outfit face a formidable task against Haise's men, who possess the only 100% home record in Europe's top five leagues this season.

Didier Digard issues instructions as his Nice side face Lille
Former Middlesbrough midfielder Didier Digard has made a positive start to life in management with Nice

Nantes hope to nullify Marseille

Marseille saw a run of six Ligue 1 victories come to an end on Saturday as they were held by Monaco, but they can at least be pleased with their battling qualities after coming from a goal down to secure a 1-1 draw thanks to Alexis Sanchez's clinical finish. 

However, Igor Tudor will be ruing his side's lack of composure in that clash, with 22 shots only leading to six efforts on target. 

Despite that disappointment, L'OM are ideally placed to pounce should Lens and Paris Saint-Germain slip up, but their next opponents Nantes will be certainly no pushovers. 

La Maison Jaune are still yet to concede a goal in 2023, having played six matches since the turn of the year in all competitions, and although three of those encounters were goalless draws, most recently at Clermont, their defensive resilience has seen them leapfrog Troyes and Montpellier into 13th. 

The game at the Stade de la Beaujoire could also see the debut of Andy Delort, set to join on loan from Nice, while Tudor could play Azzedine Ounahi, signed from Angers earlier this month after starring at the World Cup with Morocco.

Nantes goalkeeper Alban Lafont takes a catch at Clermont
Nantes goalkeeper Alban Lafont has not conceded so far in 2023 during his four Ligue 1 appearances

Brest aim to continue recent revival

After their New Year's Day defeat to Monaco, Brest were in the bottom four. 

However, the appointment of Eric Roy as permanent manager has seen the Bretons experience an upturn in fortunes, with draws against European-chasing Lille and mid-table Toulouse followed by a 4-0 thumping of Angers, despite the continued absence of key attacker Romain del Castillo through injury and the recent sale of Irvin Cardona to Bundesliga side Augsburg. 

On Saturday, the goals were shared around to demonstrate that the Pirates can put teams to the sword, former Huddersfield striker Steve Mounie scoring for the second successive league game, while Jeremy Le Douaron and Franck Honorat assisted each other and Honorat topped things off by squaring for ex-Norwich midfielder Pierre Lees-Melou to find the back of the net with a scorcher.

Brest are still only 16th, but they now head into their game against Lyon with renewed confidence, having tested Les Gones during their previous meeting last month before Laurent Blanc's men secured a 4-2 win.

Lyon's victory on Sunday against Ajaccio - which featured 20-year-old Johann Lepenant's first-ever senior goal - ended a run of just one point from a possible nine, but they would seem to be out of contention for European qualification, sitting nine points adrift of fifth-placed Rennes in ninth. 

That sticky form has been come in the same month as two notable departures. Dangerous but out-of-form forward Karl Toko Ekambi has moved on loan to Rennes and exciting Brazilian winger Tete's loan spell from Shakhtar Donetsk has ended, with the 22-year-old now at Leicester until the summer. 

Along with the exit of former Brest star Romain Faivre to Lorient on loan, Lyon's squad has definitely been given a shake-up, with Dejan Lovren returning to the club he left in 2013 and Malo Gusto remaining at Groupama Stadium until the end of the campaign before he joins up with Chelsea in a deal worth £31m. 

Pierre Lees-Melou celebrates after scoring for Brest against Angers
Pierre Lees-Melou bagged the pick of the goals for Brest in a comprehensive win over Angers

Your Ligue 1 matchday on BT Sport


Nantes vs Marseille (6pm on BT Sport 1)

Lens vs Nice (8pm on BT Sport 3)

Montpellier vs Paris Saint-Germain (8pm on BT Sport 1)

Monaco vs Auxerre (8pm on BT Sport 4)