LOSC will be attempting to ensure they go into 2019 in second place in the table when they entertain relegation-threatened Toulouse on Saturday evening.
A point would be enough for Christophe Galtier's men to head into the New Year with only Paris Saint-Germain above them in the standings but LOSC will certainly be targeting all three points against a club that has only managed one victory in 13 Ligue 1 Conforama outings.
LOSC were 3-2 winners at Nîmes last Sunday despite playing for almost 75 minutes with ten men following Jose Fonte's dismissal for dissent. Galtier, sent to the stands for vociferously protesting against the red card, has overseen an impressive revival at the northern French club as LOSC already have 34 points to their name, only four fewer than they managed in the entire 2017-2018 campaign when they finished 17th.
LOSC's holiday incentive
Galtier commented after the valuable Nîmes success: "It was a very beautiful win and I'm very proud of my players. They played the way they needed to in a difficult context. I said to my players that if they end the first half of the season on 37 points then they'll earn themselves a longer holiday. Already with 34 points, considering where we've come from, it's a great performance and 37 points would be exceptional."
Galtier has been quick to share the credit for the LOSC turnaround with the rest of the club's coaching staff, especially his assistant Thierry Oleksiak, with whom he also worked at Saint-Etienne and played with at Angers in 1993-1994. The LOSC boss told the club's official website: "We know each other perfectly because we played together and we started working together three years ago at Saint-Etienne. We have a very strong human relationship. The advantage of having Thierry alongside me is that with a single look he knows exactly what I think. He transmits our established working relationship to the other assistants."
Trying to stop Nicolas Pepe, the joint-top scorer in Ligue 1 Conforama with 12 goals, is the headache for Alain Casanova, whose second spell in charge of Toulouse is not going according to plan with the club from the Pink City stuck on 18 points, only two points above the bottom three.
Toulouse fell to a 99th-minute winner at Caen on Tuesday evening as Fayçal Fajr converted from the penalty spot after a Bafodé Diakité foul on Evens Joseph. Post-match Casanova was quick to defend 17-year-old Diakité: "It's not at all his fault. The error was a collective one to put it simply. He's a young player full of talent and he's guilty of nothing. It's all part of his apprenticeship. Only people who never try things never make mistakes. He tried."
LOSC: Maignan; Celik, Ié, Dabila, Ballo-Touré; Thiago Mendes, Thiago Maia; Pépé, Ikoné, Bamba; Leao
Toulouse: Reynet; Diakité, Amian, Mbia, Moubandjé, Sylla; Dossevi, Cahuzac, Garcia, Gradel, Leya Iseka