Ligue 1 preview: Lille, Marseille continue title chase

Ligue 1 leaders Lille travel to Nancy on Saturday in a potentially season-defining clash for either side.Nancy occupy a place in the bottom three as it stands – sitting in 18th on 38 points – with five teams on 39 points well within their reach with a result on the weekend.

Lille’s attentions, however, are at the other end of the table, as they head Marseille by one point at the top of the French top flight.

Rudi Garcia’s side can go four points clear before Didier Deschamps’ men take on the third-placed Lyon at Stade de Gerland on Sunday.

While Lyon are seven points behind Lille with five matches remaining, seemingly rendering them out of the title race, the club occupies the final Champions League spot, with Paris Saint-Germain sweating on them in fourth place – both clubs on 56 points.

However, Marseille’s Sunday opponents are keen to keep alive any hope of gaining ground on the top two should they slip up in the run-in to the end of the season.

“There are five matches left to go and get a title this season,” striker Lisandro Lopez told Lyon’s official website.

“If we lose against Marseille, we will have to forget about the title for good and we will make life more difficult for ourselves in the race for a Champions League spot.”

PSG face a trip to Monaco on Saturday – with the home side one of the aforementioned clubs on 39 points – and the latter will be desperate to break the logjam of teams hovering above the drop zone.

Monaco are also the most in-form team of the sides surrounding them on the table, with three wins in their past five clashes.

Nice have lost their past two, and have a tough trip to 12th-placed Brest, who have not lost in four, on Saturday.

Caen delivered Nice their most recent defeat – a 4-0 thrashing – and the promoted club can continue its push for another season in the top flight when they take on the relegation-threatened Lens.

As the table stands, Lens (19th) are nine points from safety with five games remaining.

The relegated Arles host ninth-placed Saint-Etienne, Auxerre – unbeaten in six – welcome Montpellier, and table neighbours Sochaux (seventh) and Bordeaux (eighth) will do battle in other Saturday fixtures.

Sixth-placed Lorient will welcome Toulouse also on Saturday, with both sides returning to the winners’ circle at their last start.

Valenciennes – the highest placed of the five teams on 39 points with a goal difference of +1 – will host the out-of-form Stade Rennes in the early Sunday kickoff, prior to Lyon’s clash with Marseille.