FC Metz players applaud their fans

The Battle For Survival Heats Up!

The Battle For Survival Heats Up!

Publish on 03/08 at 19:00 - E. DEVIN


With just ten rounds left in the 2023-24 Ligue 1 Uber Eats season, the battle to avoid relegation sees no less than seven sides fighting for survival -- here's a look at what's ahead, including a massive clash between Clermont and Metz on Sunday!

The relegation battle remains spellbindingly tight, and with ten matches to go, we're taking a closer look at what lies ahead for seven teams battling to keep a place in the top flight. All point totals and goal differentials are up to date ahead of Matchday 25.

Clermont Foot 63 (18th place, 17 points -24 goal differential)

The Auvergne side may look cut adrift, but don’t count them out just yet. Despite suffering a hammering last weekend against Marseille, their next two matches are against direct rivals, and wins in both of those could see them well-positioned before the season’s final stretch. Injuries, suspensions, and the departure of Alidu Seidu have all left the team weak at the back, but in Mory Diaw, Pascal Gastien has one of the league’s most underrated ‘keepers, a player that can help keep them in matches seemingly by sheer force of will.

Key matches: at Metz (MD 25), vs. Le Havre (MD 26), vs. Montpellier (MD 29), at Lorient (MD 34)

FC Metz (17th place, 20 points -16 goal differential)

Metz’s win at Nantes last weekend wasn’t exactly a shock, but it has given the eastern side a massive boost, pulling them to within three points of the playoff spot. Their match against Clermont this weekend has massive implications, but their survival could intriguingly hinge on their derby trip to Strasbourg on Matchday 33.

Key matches: vs. Clermont (MD 25), at Le Havre (MD 30), at Strasbourg (MD 33)

Montpellier HSC (16th place, 23 points -6 goal differential)

La Paillade have a surprisingly low goal differential for a team that occupies the relegation playoff spot, evidence of their quality this season. More solid than they have been in recent seasons at the back, the team have weathered a raft of injuries to their defenders, as well as the departure of Maxime Ésteve in January. They showed good character in battling back twice against Strasbourg last weekend, and will be able to draw on that, as well as the return of Musa Al Taamari from international duty as they seek to extend their time in Ligue 1.

Key matches: At Le Havre (MD 27), vs. Lorient (MD 28), at Clermont (MD29), vs. Nantes (MD 31)

AC Le Havre (15th place, 24 points -7 goal differential)

Le Havre have endured a difficult 2024 — after sitting comfortably in midtable for much of the season, the team benefitting from a robust sense of organisation under Luka Elsner, things have become more complicated of late. The absences of Mohamed Bayo and Abdoulaye Touré at the Africa Cup of Nations were always going to be challenging, but the team have also looked at sea defensively at times. Winless since beating nine-man Lyon in mid-January, the Normandy club’s fate is likely to be decided in their next six matches — five of these encounters are against sides in the bottom half.

Key matches: At Clermont (MD 26), vs. Montpellier (MD 27), vs. Nantes (MD 29), vs. Metz (MD 30), vs. Strasbourg (MD 32)

FC Nantes (14th place, 25 points -13 goal differential)

With the likes of Moses Simon, Mostafa Mohamed and Jean-Charles Castelletto all back from the Africa Cup of Nations, Nantes appear ready to shake off the doldrums of January, a month which saw them pick up just a single point. Since the trio’s return, they’ve picked up vital wins away to both Toulouse and Nantes, and while a home loss to Metz will sting, the balance afforded the side in a shift to playing with three at the back has largely given Les Canaris a measure of stability.

Key matches: Vs. Strasbourg (MD 26), at Le Havre (MD 29), at Montpellier (MD 31)

FC Lorient (13th place, 25 points -12 goal differential)

Of all the teams locked in the relegation battle, Lorient may have the toughest remaining schedule, with matches against all of the current top six save Lille remaining, as well as a trip to a resurgent Marseille. While the Bretons have been in fine form (three wins in four), a shoulder injury to in-form January signing Mohamed Bamba could derail their hopes of continuing to pick up points — despite being five points clear of Metz, their season could well come down to Clermont’s visit to the Stade Moustoir.

Key matches: at Montpellier (MD 28), vs. Clermont (MD 34)

RC Strasbourg Alsace (12th place, 26 points -12 goal differential)

Patrick Vieira’s young side have had a season of highs and lows. After a strong start, they went on a lengthy winless run through the autumn before righting the ship in December with three straight wins. A run to the Coupe de France quarterfinals was impressive, but the Alsatians’ relatively thin squad struggled to cope with playing on two fronts, and are without a league win since December. A draw away to Montpellier showed the team impressing with a new-look three man defence, and the return from injury of the likes of Ismäel Doukouré will help add balance to the team, who have a relatively easy run of fixtures after facing Monaco this weekend.

Key matches: vs Nantes (MD 26), at Le Havre (MD 32), vs Metz (MD 33)

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