Ligue 1 - Mid-Season ReviewNov 17
Three things to watch out for in this weekend's Ligue 1 matches, the final round before the World Cup
With the World Cup on the horizon, this is the last chance for players to impress their national bosses and you can watch the best of the action from the French top flight live on BT Sport this weekend.
Leaders Paris Saint-Germain host Auxerre on Sunday at midday, hoping their advantage at the summit hasn’t been cut to two points by Lens when the reigning champions take to the field at the Parc des Princes.
Elsewhere, Toulouse travel to high-flying Rennes, badly out-of-form Montpellier welcome Reims to the Stade de la Mosson, while Troyes begin life after Bruno Irles away at Brest and Monaco and Marseille round off the weekend at the Stade Louis II.
Let’s get into the main storylines ahead of the action.
Rennes revived after substandard start
After a rocky August, Rennes have embarked on a 16-match unbeaten run in all competitions that has propelled them to third in Ligue 1 and into a Europa League knockout play-off tie with Shakhtar Donetsk.
Central to that resurgence has been Amine Gouiri, who arrived from Nice following a summer swap deal with Gaetan Laborde and has been on fire in front of goal recently, netting four goals in his last five league games, as well as scoring a double at Fenerbahce last month.
Martin Terrier also has seven goals in nine matches across all competitions, and the team as a whole has only been outscored by PSG (of course) in France this season, replicating the exploits of 2021/22.
The Reds and Blacks have a decent chance of continuing their fine form against Toulouse, who have lost their last two games, failing to score and conceding a total of five goals against Lens and Monaco.
Robin to the rescue after Irles' sacking
Bruno Irles’ 10-month tenure at Troyes ended on Tuesday, two days after a 1-1 draw with Auxerre left his side without a win in six games and three points off the bottom four in 13th.
Claude Robin has stepped into the role of caretaker boss – having been assistant manager under Irles – and begins his time in the hotseat away at second-from-bottom Brest, who can theoretically climb as high as 14th if they win and other results go their way.
ESTAC have only been outscored by four sides in the division this term, but have the second-worst defence after Angers, something Robin will be keen to address immediately.
Montpellier need pre-World Cup boost
Montpellier are one of the most entertaining teams in the division, known for being both exciting going forward and suspect defensively.
However, La Paillade are without a win since mid-September and lost all five of their games in October, with Oliver Dall’Oglio sacked in the middle of that run.
Caretaker boss Romain Pitau did finally stop the rot with a 1-1 draw at Clermont last weekend, but the side currently 14th could really do with a victory over 11th-placed Reims, who boast Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun in their ranks.
Reims’ recent matches have been tight, the Reds and Whites recording three goalless draws in their last five games. Expect this encounter to be similarly close-fought.