Sandwiched in between French Cup rounds, we do still have a another match day of Ligue 1 games. And while this week looks pretty open and shut, in the world of Ligue 1, anything can happen. With a number of upsets already this year, we can expect there to be at least a few, since most of the matches have clear favorites. So, what to watch for this week:
The Upsets – Like I just mentioned, there are a number of underdogs going against teams that should easily dominate them. To expect all of the favorites to win this weekend would be crazy. But, of course, it could happen. With the exception of Arles hosting PSG, anything can happen in any match. Like the French Cup, don’t be surprised it we see a number of upsets.
Can Nene pick it up? – Nene has easily been one of the biggest stars of the Ligue 1 season. But in the most recent matches, both in Cup and League play, he has been less affective than he was just two months ago, where everything he touched turned into gold. Of course, I am not suggesting that Nene is in a big slump or anything to that effect. But when someone start to cool down a little, like Dimitri Payet after his start to the season, anything can happen. It seems to be around this time of year when PSG falls back to Earth and ends up finishing mid-table. If Nene stays focused, so will PSG. This won’t be your average PSG year.
Bordeaux ready for another loss? – Last week, I talked about how Bordeaux was your average Ligue 1 mid-table team, and I stand by that analysis. What is even more shocking is that Bordeaux hasn’t done anything to change the problem. But, in recent history, that seems to be the way Bordeaux runs things. One must wonder if they just got lucky by landing Gourcuff and Blanc a few years ago. As far as this weekend, Nice is coming off a high with their French Cup victory over Lyon. While they are still a weak Ligue 1 team, the match will be a defensive one. Expect very few goals in this game. And if Bordeaux loses at home, then the likelihood of them being a possible Europa League team gets slimmer and slimmer.
Game of the Week, ASSE vs. Toulouse? – With so many miss matches this weekend, this might actually be the match to watch. Both teams are having impressive seasons. And both are, according to most, playing over their heads. St. Etienne will rely more on their offense while Toulouse will rely on their strong defense. Toulouse has had a number of lucky matches this season, and we will see if they can pull off a win on the road on Saturday. If they can, they are the real deal. If not, St. Etienne are. This could possibly be a battle for the last Europa League spot.
Can a fully healthy Auxerre make a comeback? – Luckily for Auxerre, they will be playing against Caen, who is easily one of the most disappointing teams this season. Still, Auxerre has to be the most disappointing by far. Last year they started off poorly, but moved up eventually. This year, they are looking bad in French Cup and Ligue 1 competition. Their only bright spot so far has been making it to the League Cup semifinals. But if any teams have suffered with a number a key players being injured, it has been Auxerre. Therefore, AJA no longer have any excuses for playing poorly as their core squad it back and health. If they continue to play below their potential, then the value of some key players that might want to leave might go down quite a bit. With European dreams all but smashed, Auxerre is now just playing for pride. Will that hurt or help?