Ligue 1 preview: PSG-Lyon in crucial battle

The game of the round in Ligue 1 will see Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique Lyon face off at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.The Parisiens, whose title hopes have waned in recent weeks after a string of disappointing results, will look to record back-to-back victories and inflict a dent in Lyon’s own title aspirations.

Lyon’s Jimmy Briand and Lisandro Lopez were both on target against strugglers Lens, and will again provide much of the firepower up front.

The home side’s hopes will be resting firmly on the shoulders of mercurial Brazilian winger Nene, who has recently found his feet again after suffering a slump in form earlier in 2011.

The last meeting between the two in November culminated in a 2-2 draw.

A PSG win would see them close the gap on third-placed Lyon to one point, with the top three spots in the French top flight reserved for next term’s Champions League.

After missing a glorious chance to close the gap with at the top of the table, Olympique Marseille travel to Montpellier – six days prior to the two sides’ scheduled clash in the Coupe de la Ligue final.

Bottom side Arles-Avignon will be assured of relegation if they lose against Valenciennes.

On Saturday, league leaders Lille, whose bid for their first title in 53 years suffered a minor setback as they conceded three points to relegation-threatened AS Monaco, welcome Jean Tigana’s floundering Bordeaux.

Auxerre, who dropped to second-bottom, have been dealt a major blow heading into their away clash at Toulouse with key midfielder BenoƮt Pedretti ruled out the remainder of the season due to persistent groin problems.

Rennes will be looking to snap their winless streak when they host Lorient, who have drawn their past six league encounters.

Monaco continue their battle for survival after last week’s galvanising win against leaders Lille, when they travel to 14th-placed Nice, while Lens need to obtain the full points against Brest to salvage hope they can maintain their top-flight status.

Elsewhere, tenth-placed Sochaux host Caen, and St Etienne welcome Nancy.