Ligue 1 is BACK so here is the Matchday 31 Preview

Ligue 1

Guingamp-Nancy

The first match of the weekend will be hosted by Guingamp at the Stade Municipal de Roudorou, when they face Nancy. The first leg played between these two dates back to August 27th, when Guingamp defeated relegation side Nancy by a score of 0-2. Mustapha Diallo and Thibault Giresse were the goal scorers, while left-back Fernando Marcal assisted both goals. The match will take place on Friday, March 31st.

The home side are clear favourites to win the match, however, Nancy are desperate for points to try to escape relegation. Guingamp have won a total of 10 games throughout the league, 8 of them coming at home, while Nancy have only managed 2 away victories throughout the whole campaign. EA Guingamp are not enjoying quality football at the moment, but most surely rely on more stability than the away side.

Guingamp have a 2-1-2 (W-D-L) form in their last 5 matches, while Nancy are vastly struggling, accounting for a 0-1-4 record in their last 5 games, having allowed 7 goals but managing to score only 3. Guingamp are 10th with 38 points, while Nancy are 18th with 28 points.

Marseille-Dijon

The first game to be played on Saturday, April 1st will consist of 5th place Marseille hosting 17th place Dijon at the Stade Orange Velodrome. One would assume that Marseille are set to take the three points in this one, however, an abundantly unstable campaign has seen Marseille struggle against lower-budget squads. To the home side’s favour, they have managed 13 wins in Ligue 1, 10 of them coming in front of their home crowd (77%). This statistic can be crushing for any team looking to visit the beautifully designed stadium in Marseille, add to that the terrible form Nancy have had away from home, with merely 1 win in the campaign. We are waiting to see if star players Thauvin and Payet deliver quality performances during the international break for the French National Team, the two wingers are set to have a lot of fatigue if they play many minutes during the break.

Marseille are unbeaten in 3 games; however, their last 5 games look like this: 2-1-2 (W-D-L). Both losses, however, come to superior sides Monaco and PSG. Dijon’s 5 game form is no different than what is to be expected, possessing a 0-1-4 record with the only tie coming away against Rennes. Marseille are battling for a Europa League spot, and are looking to close the gap on 4th place Lyon who is 4 points ahead. Marseille stand 5th with 46 points entering matchday 31, while Dijon are 17th with 28 points, momentaneously escaping relegation due to goal difference.

SC Bastia-Lille

The second match to be played on Saturday, April 1st will be Bastia-Lille. Both teams are in the lower half of the table, however, their objectives are different. While Lille are hoping to climb some places to be a mid-table team, Bastia are fighting to stay in Ligue 1. SC Bastia are 19th with 25 points, while Lille are 14th with 34. The last match between these two was played in October when Lille defeated SC Bastia by a score of 2-1. The opener came from Sebastien Corchia, and the second goal came from Eder. SC Bastia’s goal came from Abdoulaye Sadio Diallo, with Monaco loanee Allan Saint-Maximin.

SC Bastia possess a terrible form, having tied 2 and lost 3 in the last 5(0-2-3). Lille, on the other hand, have 2-2-1. Last time Lille lost a game was over a month ago, on February 25th, in a 3-2 loss vs. Bordeaux.

Entering the game it is quite clear that Lille are favourites to take 3 points home, however, desperation for points from the home side could result in an entertaining match.

Rennes-Lyon

The first game played on Sunday will be Rennes-Lyon. This attractive match sees 8th place Rennes battle 4th place, Lyon. The home side are currently undefeated in their last 4, however, 3 have been a draw. They hold a 1-3-1 record in their last 5 and seek to continue their undefeated run. Of their 9 wins in Ligue 1, 8 have come at home, meaning that Roazhon Park is a fortress. Lyon will have to sweat, work, be tactically disciplined, and engage their attacking football to be able to come out alive with 3 points. Lyon possess a 2-1-2 record in their last 5. 2nd top goal scorer Alexandre Lacazette will look to add to his 23 goals and close the gap with Cavani’s 27. Lyon come from losing to French giants Paris Saint-Germain.

Last time these two faced each other was back in December when Lyon were victorious at home by a score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by French international Mathieu Valbuena. Bruno Genesio’s side will be looking to repeat the score from December.

Nantes-Angers

The next match see’s Nantes battle Angers at the Stade de la Beaujoire, where Nantes have a 5-4-6 record throughout Ligue 1. Their home record and their away record show that they are an incredibly balanced side since their numbers are identical. They hold the same 5-4-6 record when playing away from home. In their last 5 matches, Nantes are 2-2-1, with their only loss coming to 1st place Monaco by a staggering score of 4-0. However, since then they have managed a convincing 2-3 win away visiting Montpellier and tied to 3rd place Nice. Angers record in their last 5 is an imposing 4-0-1. Their only loss came to 5th place Marseille by a score of 3-0 with French sensation Florian Thauvin scoring a brace for the home side.

Again, such an even game in every aspect, with both team goal scorers Emiliano Sala and Famara Diedhio looking to add to their scoring tally. Nantes are 11th with 38 points while Angers are 9th with 39 points.

Montpellier-Toulouse

Next game sees Toulouse visit Montpellier, where both teams will be looking to win following their terrible forms. While Montpellier is 1-1-3 in their last five, Toulouse are a worse 0-1-4. With Alban Lafont currently not in the best physical state or best form he has shown in the past, he was replaced by Mauro Goicoechea last game for the first time in the league this year. We will wait and see what manager Pascal Dupraz decides to do about the goalkeeping situation. While Lafont may be showing some inconsistency, it is important to remember he is still only 18 years of age, for a keeper that’s outstanding because keepers are normally needed to mature quickly. This young prodigy is tied with Italian prodigy Gianluigi Donnarumma the top in minutes played this season for goalkeepers within the ages of 17 and 22. Notice that’s even 4 years ahead of his age group, he still leads the category, showing how he has actually been more consistent than what his last appearances show.

Montpellier enter the game 15th with 33 points while Toulouse is 12th with 37 points.

Lorient-Caen

This match consists of two teams in the lower part of the table. While the home side are 20th with just 25 points, Caen are 16th with 32 and are 4 points away from relegation. Lorient currently hold the most goals against in Ligue 1 with 61, while Caen are 4th to last with 51. Both team’s evident weakness comes in their defences since they have both shown they are able to score goals. Lorient hold a terrible 1-0-4 record in their last 5. One statistic the home side is going to look to hold solid is their winning percentage at home, compared to away. Lorient have 7 wins in the league, of which 5 are at home (71%), and Cameroon international will be looking to score his 10th goal of the campaign. Caen, on the other hand, enter the game with a better 2-1-2 record. They are 3 games without a win, however, were able to put up consecutive wins to solidify their spot in the league and make them look at the relegation zone from a somewhat comfortable distance.

Nice-Bordeaux

The last match of matchday 31 is the promising Nice-Bordeaux, where 3rd place Nice look to put pressure on Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain by shortening the 4-point gap with that of the capital team. Bordeaux are 5th with 46 points, tied with Marseille and are only separated by a goal. Nice are unbeaten in their last 5, containing a 3-2-0 record. Alassane Plea and Mario Balotelli look to find the net this weekend, as they are the team leading goal scorers with 11 and 10 respectively. Swiss coach will have a decision to make about the problematic Italian, who seemed to give the manager unacceptable attitude after being substituted. Bordeaux too hold a positive record in their last 5, with a 3-1-1 record. Last time these two faced each other was back in December with a 0-0 draw. Nice look to add to their staggering 11 home victories in the campaign, as Bordeaux look to snatch their 5th away win of the season.