The majority of focus on Ligue 1 is understandably surrounding the title race, and the sides vying for Champions League football. But at the other end of the table, teams are battling it out on a weekly basis to remain in France’s top flight and this year the relegation battle is one of the closest ever.
Below are some of the clubs in serious trouble of succumbing to the drop zone come the end of the season:
20th – Metz:
Firmly rooted to the bottom of the table are Metz, who have only scored 13 goals before the winter break and picked up just three wins. Many pundits have tipped Frederic Hantz to be playing Ligue 2 football next season, but could there be a resurgence on the cards for the second half of this campaign?
With two of their three wins coming in the last couple of games, Metz may just be finding their form at the most crucial of times.
19th – Angers:
Angers currently have a seven point cushion from 20th place, and sit just two points from escaping the relegation zone. With nine draws so far this season, it’s clear to see that Angers are suffering from dropping too many points from winning positions and this could prove costly at the end of the season.
Three losses, a draw and a win in the last five games shows the inconsistency of Les Scoistes.
18th – Lille:
The start of the season looked incredibly promising for Les Dogues, with the appointment of Marcelo Bielsa and a complete overhaul of the squad, including the additions of young, talented players.
But the initial promise soon faded away, and a run of poor performances left Lille in the relegation zone, and Bielsa unemployed.
Under new coach Christophe Galtier, Lille’s form has steadied and it would be a surprise to see them in the drop zone come May.
17th – Toulouse:
Pascal Dupraz’s relatively youthful Toulouse squad has struggled to the winter break, with just five victories picked up so far.
The team’s top scorers, joint on only four, are Andy Delort and Bournemouth-loanee Max Gradel, so it’s clear to see why Toulouse are firmly in the relegation scrap. With only one win in five before the winter break, Les Pitchouns will have to drastically turn their form around to stay clear of the drop zone.
16th – Saint Etienne:
St Etienne are perhaps the team in the worst run of form before the winter break, with only one point picked up in their last five games.
Jean-Louis Gasset’s side concede on a regular basis too, shipping 33 goals so far and scoring only 18. The worrying run of form plunges St Etienne into real danger, especially with the expected revivals from the likes of Lille and Bordeaux.
15th – Bordeaux:
With four consecutive defeats, and the highly-talented Malcom likely to move to a European giant sooner rather than later, it’s been a tough couple of months for Bordeaux.
However, despite being surprisingly close to the fringes of the relegation zone, Bordeaux will be more likely than their relegation rivals to pull away and finish in a comfortable mid-table position.
This could all depend on Malcom remaining at the Malmut Atlantique until at least the summer transfer window.
14th – Troyes:
Troyes are in similar form to Bordeaux, having picked up just a single win in their last five opportunities.
However, with 20 goals scored and 27 conceded, Jean-Louis Garcia’s side are in better stead than other teams in a similar position in the table to push on after the winter break and pick up invaluable points.
Their first game after the break is against Bordeaux, in a match-up that could very well decide which side begins to find some form at an important time.