Olympique de Marseille go to Angers on Tuesday evening with the tantalising prospect of being able to move to within two points of leaders Paris Saint-Germain.
On a four-match winning run, OM are second in the table on 28 points, five back from champions PSG - who have a game in hand - but four points clear of Angers, who sit third and fell 3-1 at Nice on Saturday. Delighted with Nemanja Radonjic's wonderful 89th-minute goal securing a 2-1 home win over Brest on Friday evening, OM coach André Villas-Boas described it as a "perfect" display as his side mustered an incredible 34 shots.
AVB: "I want to stay second in the table as long as possible"
In his post-match comments, the Portuguese coach said: "I want to stay second in the table as long as possible. That means we're obliged to win games until we're a bit more comfortable. There are rivals close to us in the table who will be playing Paris before Christmas. That might give us the opportunity to build up a gap if we keep winning and Paris do their job. I want us to stay focused and take each match as it comes. Our main objective is to build up a bit of an advantage over our pursuers."
Radonjic stepped off the bench against Brest and scored for the second game running and his wondrous goal led to the Serbian international being labelled "the Serbian Cristiano" by Florian Thauvin on social media. With last season's top scorer out until February, the onus is on Radonjic and others to keep weighing in with goals to help OM challenge for Champions League football for the first time since reaching the quarter-finals of the competition in 2012.
Villas-Boas commented: "Radonjic was very disappointed not to have started against Toulouse having scored at international level for Serbia. He came on with the right attitude and proved that the bench can make the difference. That's going to boost his confidence and it's good that he's given the coach a headache when it comes to making choices."
Angers have taken 19 of their 24 points at home this season and the only club to have won at the Stade Raymond Kopa this season was Brest back in Week 10. Stéphane Moulin, the Angers coach, was deprived of five starters at Nice on Saturday but his side went in front and then were still close to taking a point before Kasper Dolberg struck late on to make the final score 3-1.
Moulin said: "I don't like talking about absent players but it modified my side. (Rachid) Alioui, for example, didn't start the game because he's our only fit forward and we need to look after the health of our players. We're still on the podium and the defeat doesn't mean we need to ask questions of ourselves. We're taking on OM standing third in the table with them second and that's never happened."
Angers SCO: Butelle; Manceau, I. Traoré, R. Thomas, Aït-Nouri; Fulgini, Santamaria, Mangani (c); Pereira Lage, R. Alioui, Capelle
Olympique de Marseille: S. Mandanda (c); Sakai, Bo. Kamara, Caleta-Car, Amavi; Rongier, Strootman, M. Sanson; B. Sarr, Benedetto, Payet