Here is a round up of action from week 22 of Ligue 1
PSG v Monaco
This was a great opportunity for PSG to draw level with league leaders ASM but Unai Emery’s side ended up bottling their chances in front of a 47,238 strong crowd at Parc des Princes.
Monaco came to Paris averaging three goals a fixture, but this game was goalless at half time, with both teams preferring to play pragmatically given the high stakes involved.
It took 80 minutes for the deadlock to be broken with referee Frank Schneider pointing to the spot after ASM’s Djibril Sidibe had upended Paris’ winter signing Julian Draxler in the box. Up stepped Edinson Cavani and El Matador successfully converted for his 21st league goal of the season.
However Bernardo Silva had the last say with some poor PSG defending affording the Portuguese star acres of space on the edge of the area and his low shot caught the home side’s substitute keeper Alphanse Areola by surprise.
ASM are now undefeated in seven games across all competitions. A disappointing result for PSG, with club playmaker Thiago Motta remarking after the game that “Monaco are the best team in Ligue 1”
Nice vs Guingamp
Nice drew level with Monaco at the top of Ligue 1 with a 3-1 win over En Avant Guingamp. The victory was an important one for OGCN after they had drawn their three previous league clashes, including two very winnable games against strugglers Metz and Bastia.
Alassane Plea put Nice ahead on 11 minutes after an outrageous backheel assist from Valentin Eysseric and the home side doubled their advantage on 38 minutes through Jean Michael Seri. The Ivorian was sorely missed by Nice when he was on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations and his return is a timely one as Nice push for league honours.
EAG pulled one back through Briand and came close to nabbing a second through Mendy. However ex Liverpool and Milan striker Mario Balotelli put the result beyond doubt three minutes from time, latching on to a beautiful pass from Arnaud Souquet and slotting past Karl Johnsson in the Guingamp goal.
With Nice very unlikely to match Monaco’s superior goal difference, they need to win Ligue 1 outright and can take a big step if they triumph at Stade Louis II next weekend. A look at the odds for French Ligue 1 betting at William Hill indicates that ASM are strong favourites for this fixture, but they will be underestimating Nice at their own peril.
Lucien Favre’s side have lost just one league game all season and thrashed Monaco 4-0 when the two sides met in September. Nice have conceded the fewest goals in France this season (only 15 in 22) and this fixture effectively pits Ligue 1’s best attacking side against its best defensive one.
Lyon v Lille
Lyon were one of the biggest losers from the weekend. They had a glorious opportunity to close the gap on PSG and were instead beaten 2-1 by Lille at home. To add insult to injury, both Lille goals came from the boot of Yassine Benzia, a former OL player himself. These were also Benzia’s first goals of the season for LOSC- what a way to break your drought!
Not only are Lyon now nine behind PSG and 12 behind Monaco, they will also be looking nervously over their shoulders at the trio of Marseille, St.Etienne and Bordeaux, all of whom registered victories in their respective league games.
Other MD 22 results
Marseille 5-1 Montpellier
Nancy 0-2 Bordeaux
Toulouse 0-3 St.Etienne
Lorient 2-3 Dijon
Bastia 1-1 Caen
Angers 2-1 Metz
Rennes 1-1 Nantes