- Associated Press - Thursday, February 19, 2015

PARIS (AP) - After three straight draws, French leader Lyon is hoping striker Alexandre Lacazette will make his return on Sunday against Nantes.

Lacazette, the league’s top scorer with 21 goals, has been sidelined since pulling a hamstring muscle in a 2-0 win against Metz on Jan. 25 - a match in which he netted a penalty.

The team has struggled since, drawing three matches and scoring only twice - although two of those games were against Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain.

Lyon still leads the league, two points clear of Marseille and PSG after both drew their last two matches.

Nantes, which is winless in its last six matches, has not yet scored in February. But Vincent Bessat did score a hat trick in his side’s 3-2 victory in the French Cup last month.

“We still don’t have strong enough shoulders to be a leader all the time,” Lyon coach Hubert Fournier said. “We have to ask ourselves the right questions. We should do something else because Nantes is coming and we have had difficulties recently.”

Here are some things to know about this weekend’s games:

___

EUROPEAN INSPIRATION

Paris Saint-Germain will be boosted by an impressive performance against Chelsea in the Champions League as it turns its attention to a home match against Toulouse.

PSG battled to a 1-1 draw against the English leaders, with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho saying his team was fortunate to avoid a loss.

Striker Edinson Cavani scored the equalizer and PSG coach Laurent Blanc will again look to him on Saturday, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic struggling to find his best form since returning from a heel injury.

The Swede has only five goals in his past 12 games - and two of those were penalties.

“We had a good game against Chelsea, the Champions League definitely brings an added motivation,” PSG defender Thiago Silva said. “But we have to do the same in the league, starting from Saturday, because against Toulouse it is an equally important match.”

PSG has faltered in the league of late with two straight draws, albeit against leader Lyon and Caen, which, although at the wrong end of the table, had won its previous four matches.

___

MARSEILLE IN TROUBLE

Matters are not going well on or off the field for Marseille.

The team remains second in the league but has struggled lately and has won only one of its past four matches, leaving it two points behind Lyon and allowing Paris Saint-Germain to catch up.

The club also appears to be struggling financially, according to striker Andre Ayew.

“Marseille has had financial worries for some time, it can’t pay some salaries,” Ayew said. “I’m at Marseille today, maybe I could be tomorrow, maybe not.

“I’m going to give myself some more time to work and, since I get on very well with the president, I think there will be a discussion and from there we will all make a decision together.”

Marseille, which has not won a match away from Stade Velodrome since Oct. 4, will visit fourth-place Saint-Etienne on Sunday.

___

SEEKING REVENGE

Monaco has an added incentive as it makes the short trip to Nice for a derby match on Friday.

The players are still smarting from the 1-0 loss to their neighbors in September and will also be looking for a good performance to set it up for the Champions League match against Arsenal next week.

“Revenge is a very strong word but I think they haven’t forgotten it,” Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim said. “Every match the team doesn’t win hurts and that one does, too.

“This time the context is a bit the same, before an important European match. I hope to give our fans a win.”

Monaco, which has played a match less than the teams around it after last week’s game against Montpellier was postponed, could move provisionally into fourth place with a win.

Nice began the year with three straight wins but drew its next three matches.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide