Jérémie Boga on the ball against RC Lens

Saturday Preview: Nantes-RCSA, Lens-Nice

Saturday Preview: Nantes-RCSA, Lens-Nice

Publish on 03/16 at 13:00 - E. DEVIN


Two matches with plenty of importance -- at either end of the table -- are on the agenda this Saturday on Matchday 26 in Ligue 1 Uber Eats.

In the first of two matches on Saturday, Racing Club de Strasbourg head west to face FC Nantes. The two sides, 14th and 16th at kickoff, are both in need of points to start to ease clear of the relegation zone, and it may be easier said than done for the visitors, who will have to cope with a raft of absentees.

In addition to the suspended pair of Junior Mwanga and Ibrahima Sissoko, Patrick Vieira's side will be without the versatile Ismäel Doukouré, as well as longer-term absentees Lebo Mothiba, Abakar Sylla and Ângelo Gabriel. With no win in the league in 2024, Racing have slipped down the table, and will be looking to January arrival Andrey Santos to steady things in midfield as they seek a measure of revenge for the reverse fixture, a 2-1 loss at La Meinau in October.

Nantes, for their part, have a largely clean bill of health, and will be looking to pick up another win against a relegation rival. Les Canaris have done the job in recent wins over Toulouse and Lorient, but have also stumbled against the likes of Metz. Both teams have struggled in attack this season -- only the bottom two sides have scored fewer goals than the hosts' 23, while Strasbourg have just 25. This match is likely to be a cagy one, and Racing may be happy with a draw that would keep them above their opponents on the day.

Predicted lineups:

FC Nantes (4-2-3-1): Lafont; Amian, Castelletto, Zézé, Cozza; Sissoko, Chirivella; Kadewere, Mollet, Simon; Mohamed

RC Strasbourg (3-4-3): Bellaarouch; Guilbert, Perrin, Sow; Senaya, Andrey Santos (or Deminguet), Diarra, Delaine; Bakwa, Emegha, Gameiro

In the day's second game, there's also plenty at stake, as Nice take to the road knowing that a loss could see them cut adrift in the race for the Champions League. Les Aiglons have struggled mightily since the turn of the year -- the absences of Terem Moffi and Jérémie Boga at the Africa Cup of Nations will have hindered Francesco Farioli's attack, and they have slipped from second to sixth, three points and goal difference outside of the top three ahead of the round.

One of the teams which has come into form to overtake them has been Lens. Despite being eliminated in frustrating fashion from Europe, Le Sang et Or have been impressive indeed domestically, winning five of seven in the league. The departure of Loïs Openda has meant some adjustments have been necessary in attack, but a goals by committee approach means that Frank Haise's side remain as dangerous as ever.

Both sides have clean bills of health, with Nice left back Melvin Bard the only major absentee, and will no doubt field strong sides, as the hosts will look to put pressure on Brest and Monaco, while Les Aiglons will want to reinsert themselves into the discussion for the top three, and also shake off a frustrating loss in the Coupe de France midweek.

Predicted lineups:

RC Lens (3-4-3): Samba; Gradit, Danso, Medina; Aguilar, Mendy, El Aynaoui, Frankowski; Sotoca, Wahi, Pereira Da Costa

OGC Nice (4-3-3): Bulka; Lotomba, Todibo, Dante, Perraud; Sanson, Rosario (or Ndayishimiye), Thuram; Laborde, Moffi, Boga

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