Ligue 1 round-up: Monaco overcome Lyon, Nice lose ground

Ligue 1

Nancy-Marseille

The first match of the 34th round of fixtures was between Nancy and Marseille. The home side, battling for relegation, were desperate for points, and the only way to get points out of Marseille would be with a solid performance. They lined up with a 4-3-3, with Guy N’Dy Assembe in goal, who made two crucial saves throughout the match. The defense was led by Michael Chretien and Erick Cabaco, as both saw themselves able to stop Marseille’s attacking trio. Diallo Guidileye performed as a right central midfielder, providing right back Julien Cetout and Issiar Dia passes during the 90 minutes of the game. Up top played Maurice Dale and Faitout Maouassa, who performed decently down the left flank. The prestigious away side played with the same 4-3-3, with Yohann Pele in goal, and Rod Fanni and Patrice Evra leading the back four. Assist leader Morgan Sanson lacked enough passing and depth within the lines. Up top played stars Dimitri Payet and Florian Thauvin, however it was Tottenham’s loanee Clinton N’Jie who started for Bafetimbi Gomis.

The match began with neither side willing to take control of the game. There were sporadic chances throughout the match, although Marseille edged possession and chances. The game went into a slump during the remaining minutes of the match, with only some individual skills from Payet and Thauvin, but little more. The match ended 0-0, as the home side held on to a surprising tie against French giants. Nancy are 19th with 32 points, while Marseille are 6th with 52 points.

Paris Saint Germain-Montpellier

The first game on Saturday was played between the Parisian side and Montpellier, at the Parc de Princes. The home side, still alive in the title rice, used their usual 4-3-3. German Kevin Trapp was in goal, and Thiago Silva lead the defense, with Serge Aurier also having a quality outing. The midfield consisted of Italians Thiago Motta and Marco Veratti alongside Blaise Matuidi. The South American trio in attack consisted of Javier Pastore, and arguably the two best attackers in Ligue 1 this season, Edinson Cavani and Angel di Maria. The away side played with the trendy 5-2-3, with goalkeeper Laurent Pionnier protecting the goal. In front of him was the 3-man line consisting of Nordi Mukiele, Hilton, and Lukas Pokorny. With Stephane Sessegnon running the midfield for the away side, attackers Isaac Mbenza and Ryad Boudebouz had less defensive work to do, yet it turned into little trouble against one of the best defenses in the league. The game began with the home side immediately taking control of the ball, and enjoying a numerous amount of opportunities, before finally opening the scoring. The opener came in the 29th minute, after Blaise Matuidi hit a cross on the ground to Edinson Cavani who finished easily past the goalkeeper after anticipating his defender. The first half ended 1-0. The second 45 minutes did not start much differently from the first, as the Parisian side had two opportunities within the first five minutes, with one of them being a beautiful goal by di Maria, who riffled a shot into the left corner of the net from a couple meters outside the box. The game ended with a 2-0 win for the home side.

PSG keep the title race as alive as ever, as they are tied with Monaco in points, however Monaco have a game in hand. They have 80 points, while Montpellier are 13th, with 39 points.

Caen-Nantes

The following match saw lower-positioned side Caen host Nantes at the Stade Michel d’Ornano. The home side played with a 4-1-4-1, with Remy Vercoutre in goal. Alaeddine Yahia and Syam Ben Youssef played as center backs, while Damien da Silva acted as a right-back. Ismael Diomande acted as a center midfielder. Ivan Santini played as a striker, however he was unable to create much in attack for the home side. The away team played in a 4-3-3, with Maxime Dupe in goal. Koffie Djidji played as a center defender and Leo Dubois acted as a right-back. He performed at a competitive level defensively, and made the difference in attack. He provided an assist for Bammou. Guillaume Gillet controlled the midfield, and Yannice Bammou was the man of the match with both goals.

The game started with the away side playing the ball into the box, causing a lot of trouble among the home sides defense. Yacine Bammou quickly scored two goals in the first 35 minutes to give Nantes a secure 0-2 score to play with. The score remained the same for the rest of the match, as the away side secured the 0-2 win.

They are 8th with 45 points, while Caen are 1 point away from relegation. They are 17th with 33 points.

Dijon-Angers

The next game of the weekend saw Dijon host Angers. The home side played with a 4-3-3, with Baptiste Reynet in goal and Jordan Loties and Cedric Varrault as center backs. Pierre Lees-Melou played a fantastic game as a left center mid, while Lois Diony was the star of the night, scoring two goals during the match. The away side started with the same 4-3-3, however their true style of play was only seen after they were down 3-0 on the scoreboard. They played Abdoulaye Bamba and Vincent Manceau as full backs, while Thomas Mangiani had a splendid game in midfield. Karl Ekambi was also brilliant for the home team, as the striker scored and was highly influential for the away side.

The match had two sides to it, with the first part coming with a quick opener by Lois Diony, followed by a quick goal by Pier Lees-Melou to make the score 2-0 after just 16 minutes. The third goal for the home side came two minutes after the break, as they went in at half-time with a comfortable 3-0 lead at home. The second half was another story, however. The away side got a goal back through a penalty scored by Thomas Mangani. They scored again, this time just two minutes after, to set-up a very tense final 20 minutes at the Municipal Gaston Gerard.

Dijon are 18th with 32 points, while Angers have 39 points, holding them at 14th position.

Lille-Guingamp

This game saw Lille host Guingamp at home, in front of 28,848 fans at home. The home side played with a 4-2-3-1, with Mike Maignan in goal, and Sebastien Corchia and Marko Basa in defense. Ibrahim Amadou and skillful Ricardo Kishna commanded the midfield, while Nicolas de Preville added the goals to the home sides attack. The away side played with a defensive 4-4-2, as goalkeeper Karl Johnsson played in goal. In form Fernando Marcal was not able to put much together down the left wing, as his team was controlled by the home side’s defense. Lucas Deaux and Ludovic Blas played in the 4-men midfield, as Sloan Privat and Yannis Salibur played as a striking partnership.

The match started with a quick opener in the 9th minute by Nicolas de Preville, establishing a quick 1-0 lead for the home side. The Frenchman later added another goal to his personal count, this time from the spot, to give his team a 2-0 lead to go into the break. Eder Lopes scored the concluding 3-0 in the 66th minute. The game stayed the same, and ended with a 3-0 win for the home side.

They are 12th with 40 points, while Guingamp are 10th with 44 points.

Bordeaux-SC Bastia

The following matchup had relegation-threatened side Bastia visit Bordeaux at the Matmut Atlantique in front of more than 25,000 fans. The home side started with a 4-3-3, with Milan Gajic as a left-back and Nicolas Pallois as a center-back. Jeremy Toulalan and Younousse Sankhare were the best players in Bordeaux’s 3-man midfield. Malcom Silva and and Francios Kamano performed brilliantly on the wing, with the Brazilian able to score a goal to help his team win. The away side played with a 4-2-3-1, with Jean Leca in goal. Alexander Djiku acted as a leading center back, however his partner Abdelhamid El Kaoutari was sent off from the game. Mehdi Mostefa and Yannick Cahuzac played as center midfielders, with Lassana Coulibaly on the wing.

The match started with the home side taking initiative on the ball, as they enjoyed numerous opportunities but with no luck. The first half ended 0-0. Young and talented Malcom opened the scoring just 10 minutes into the second half, while Younousse Sankare widened the score by 2-0 in the 69th minute. The game pretty much remained tranquil for the remaining minutes.

Bordeaux now find themselves 4th in Ligue 1 with 55 points. SC Bastia, on the other complete extreme, are 20th with 28 points.

Lorient-Metz

The last match played on Saturday was between lower positioned Lorient and Metz playing at the Stade du Moustoir. The in-form relegation side positioned themselves with a 4-4-2, seeking defensive compactness and counterattacking with pace. They started with regular Benjamin Lecomte in goal, Michael Ciani as a center back, and Vincent Le Goff as a left-back. Most chances were created down the right, as man of the match Jimmy Cabot enjoyed numerous opportunities. Majeed Waris and Benjamin Moukandjo played as a striking partnership, with both of them having smart and participative matches. The away side began with a 4-2-3-1, with Thomas Didillon in goal, and Ivan Balliu and Simon Falette as CB’s. Cheick Doukoure and Georges Mandjeck failed to take control of the midfield in any part of the game, while Cheick Diabate was the only player to have a positive outing.

The match began with a rapid goal by Michael Ciani opening the score for the away side. Diabate levelled things up 20 minutes after, to end the first half with a 1-1 draw. The second half was a different story however. Just four minutes into the second 45 minutes, Majeed Waris was able to put his team in front. Jimmy Cabot added two more goals within the next 15 minutes, making it 4-1. The club’s top goal scorer could not miss out on the party, as Moukandjo scored the concluding 5-1 for his team.

Lorient are now 16th with 34 points, while direct rivals Metz are 15th with 36 points.

Toulouse-Nice

The first match on Sunday had entertaining Toulouse host title-race Nice. The home team started with a 4-2-3-1, with young Alban Lafont in goal, who made three crucial saves. Young Issa Diop also performed well, yet his partner Christopher Jullien lacked composure at times. Alexis Blin lacked his regular influence in midfield, however he was able to put up some good possession plays for his team. Monaco loanee Corentin Jean enjoyed a quality game down the right, as he scored the only goal of the game for his team. Martin Braithwaite acted on the left, yet was unable to do much for his team. The away side began with their usual 4-2-3-1. Yoan Cardinale was GK, while Arnaud Souquet played for Sidibe as a right back. Midfield maestro Vincent Koziello played next to Jean Seri, with Younes Belhanda and Valentin Eysseric creating most of the attack for the away side.

The first half saw a pretty boring match, as Nice were surprisingly shut down. Lafont had to intervene a couple times, which kept the home side in the game at all times. The first half ended 0-0. The second half was clearly affected by manager’s half time speech, since both teams started attacking with continuity. The opener came for Corentin Jean in the 56th minute, although Nice were able to score an equalizer just four minutes after Toulouse scored. The game remained 1-1. Nice will be disappointed with the result as they lost ground on their title rivals.

Toulouse are 11th with 42 points, while Nice are 3rd with 74.

Saint Etienne-Rennes

The next game saw Saint-Etienne host Rennes at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard. The home side began with a 4-2-3-1, with Stephane Ruffier in goal and Kevin Malcuit as a right-back. Loic Perrin commanded the back four. Jordan Veretout played next to Ole Selnaes, with Romain Hamouma creating most of the chances for the away side. Robert Beric also accounted for a good game as a lone striker, however he did seem isolated from the rest of his teammates. The away side began with a compact 4-4-2, with regular Benoit Costil acting as a goalkeeper. Ramy Bensebaini and Pedro Mendes played a pivotal role as right back. Ndombe Mubele did not have a good game, yet his pace never stopped being a threat for the home side.

The game began with a couple kicks from the away side, as they received three yellow cards within the first 23 minutes. Robert Beric opened the scoring for the home side 39 minutes in. Center back Mexer scored off an assist from Yoann Gourcuff, just one minute before the break. The 1-1 score would remain until the final whistle, as both teams drew at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard.

Saint-Etienne are 7th with 46 points, while Rennes are 9th with 44.

Lyon-Monaco

The last match of the 34th round and by far the most anticipated game in France last weekend was between French giants Lyon and Ligue 1 leaders Monaco. The home side made several changes after playing extra-time in the Europa League. The home side started with a 4-3-3 with Anthony Lopes as a GK. Nicolas N’Koulou and Mouctar Diakhaby were the two CB’s, while Maciej Rybus acted as a left-back. Spaniard Segri Darder played as a left central midfielder in a 3-man midfield, with Lucas Tousart being the best player for the home squad. Memphis Depay was the only big name in attack, as he was able to assist Tousart for their only goal. The away side, unsurprisingly, started with a 4-4-2, with Danijel Subasic in goal, and Kamil Glik and Nabil Dirar playing as defenders. Tiemoue Bakayoko had a very good game, as he stopped numerous attacks for the home side throughout the match. Bernardo Silva and Thomas Lemar, as usual, gave their side a lot in attack and helped out in defense. Radamel Falcao and Kylian Mbappe Lottin started as strikers, both adding a goal to their personal count.

The match began with the away side showing their confidence. They managed an opener just nine minutes before the break, as Radamel Falcao finished from close range to open the scoring. Eight minutes later, young prodigy Mbappe dribbled the ball up the field before finishing on the ground to beat the goalkeeper. The first half ended with a 0-2 partial victory for the away side. Lucas Tousart scored a bullet header to beat Subasic and cut Monaco’s lead. It would remain until the final whistle. This win brings Monaco closer to their objective, as they are 1st with 80 points. Lyon are now 5th with 54 points, however they have a game in hand.

Final Scores:

Nancy 0-0 Marseille
PSG 2-0 Montpellier
Caen 0-2 Nantes
Dijon 3-2 Angers
Lille 3-0 Guingamp
Bordeaux 2-0 SC Bastia
Lorient 5-1 Metz
Toulouse 1-1 Nice
Saint-Etienne 1-1 Rennes
Lyon 1-2 Monaco