Marseille, Rennes, Strasbourg, Lens, Lyon, Nice, Monaco
Opinion

The race for Europe

Publish on 12/05/2022 at 11:12 - I. HOLYMAN

Share

Paris Saint-Germain have already wrapped up the title, but the race behind the 2021/22 Ligue 1 Uber Eats title-winners to claim UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League places is red-hot β€” ligue1.com focusses on who could claim what with two games to go.

Olympique de Marseille

Current position: 2nd

Fixtures: Rennes (a), Strasbourg (h)

Points taken in those fixtures in 2021/22: OM 2-0 Rennes (Rd 6), Strasbourg 0-2 OM (Rd 18)

Points total: 68

Goal difference: +23

Last 5 games: LWWLW

 

Jorge Sampaoli's men will only have themselves to blame if they miss out on runners-up spot and guaranteed UEFA Champions League group stage football next season as they have their destiny in their own hands with 180 minutes of the campaign remaining. They also have an advantage over Monaco in that, if their overall goal differences remain locked, OM have the better head-to-head record this season having won 2-0 and lost 1-0 to the principality club, and so would edge ahead of them on specific goal difference over those two games (see below for tie-breaker criteria). The fixture list, however, has not been kind, and the trip to Rennes this weekend is a serious challenge, particularly with a lengthy injury list that features the talismanic Dimitri Payet at the top of it. Get through the acid test at Roazhon Park, and a place at European club football's top table surely awaits, even if Strasbourg's own continental ambitions may mean there will be no winding down for OM right to the final whistle of Matchday 38.

 

WATCH: Marseille bring Rennes to heel

 

 

 

 

Monaco

Current position: 3rd

Fixtures: Brest (h), Lens (a)

Points taken in those fixtures in 2021/22: Brest 0-2 Monaco (Rd 12), Monaco 0-2 Lens (Rd 3)

Points total: 65

Goal difference: +23

Last 5 games: WWWWW

 

Monaco have momentum, an invaluable commodity at this stage of a season. They have won their last eight league games — the best such run in any of Europe's top five leagues — to force their way into the reckoning under Philippe Clement. Kevin Volland's sudden surge in form has complemented the metronomic goalscoring ability of Wissam ben Yedder, who has 26 goal involvements this season, one down on his career-best. They lost to Lens early in the season, but this is a very different Monaco side, and — on current form — it's difficult to see them not taking maximum points.

 

 

Nice

Current position: 4th

Fixtures: Lille (h), Reims (a)

Points taken in those fixtures in 2021/22: Lille 0-4 Nice (Rd 2), Nice 0-0 Reims (Rd 1)

Points total: 63

Goal difference: +17

Last 5 games: WLWWW

 

The question was: How much will their Coupe de France final defeat affect them? The answer for 45 minutes of their rescheduled game against Saint-Etienne in midweek looked to be, 'A lot'. And then came the second half, and Andy Delort again pulled Nice out of the fire. He's now scored seven of his team's last 11 league goals, more than compensating for Amine Gouiri's 14-game goal drought. Following three straight league wins, the question now is: Have they got enough momentum to catch Monaco? If Galtier can negotiate a win over the side he took to the title last season, Nice will go to Reims optimistic they can at least claim fourth and a UEFA Europa League spot.


Rennes

Current position: 5th

Fixtures: Marseille (h), Lille (a)

Points taken in those fixtures in 2021/22: OM 2-0 Rennes (Rd 6), Rennes 1-2 Lille (Rd 16)

Points total: 62

Goal difference: +40

Last 5 games: LLWWL

 

The midweek defeat to Nantes was all the more damaging because Nice had won earlier in the day. Bruno Genesio's men seem to have developed an unhelpful habit of losing after scoring the first goal — the Nantes match was the third such loss in 2022 — just at the wrong time. They have a tough end to the season with OM chasing UEFA Champions league group stage qualification too and outgoing champions Lille hoping to end a disappointing campaign on a high. Their superior goal difference gives them a slight edge, but after a season of such promise, finishing out of the top three will feel a little deflating.

 

 

Strasbourg

Current position: 6th

Fixtures: Clermont (h), Marseille (a)

Points taken in those fixtures in 2021/22: Clermont 0-2 Strasbourg (Rd 19), Strasbourg 0-2 OM (Rd 18)

Points total: 60

Goal difference: +20

Last 5 games: DWLDW

 

Julien Stéphan's men have given themselves a shot thanks to wins over Monaco, Lens and Rennes in a 14-game run in which they have lost just once — to Lille — that started in early February. They must regret not having turned just a couple of the seven draws in that streak into wins as the extra points would have seen them a lot closer to a podium place than clinging on to the very last European qualifying spot. Stéphan will be concerned that points have been dropped to Troyes and Lorient in recent weeks, so facing another struggling side presents a bigger-than-expected challenge, but a final day reckoning at the Orange Vélodrome appears well suited to the Alsatians' firing front line with Kevin Gameiro in particular in rare form.

 

WATCH: Strasbourg sunk at home by Marseille

 

 

 

 

Lens

Current position: 7th

Fixtures: Troyes (a), Monaco (h)

Points taken in those fixtures in 2021/22: Lens 4-0 Troyes (Rd 13), Monaco 0-2 Lens (Rd 3)

Points total: 58

Goal difference: +12

Last 5 games: WWDDW

 

After going close last season, Franck Haise's side have proven it was no fluke. A six-game unbeaten run has come at just the right time with the finish line approaching — it's their best run of form since opening the season with an identical streak — and they will be hopeful of extending that against Troyes, despite their opponents' need for points too. A final day showdown with Monaco looks tough on paper, but Lens will have sensational home support, which can provide them with a formidable boost.

 

Lyon

Current position: 8th

Fixtures: Nantes (h), Clermont (a)

Points taken in those fixtures in 2021/22: Nantes 0-1 Lyon (Rd 4), Lyon 3-3 Clermont (Rd 3)

Points total: 55

Goal difference: +13

Last 5 games: WLWWL

 

Following their loss to Metz last time out, Peter Bosz's men had to hope other results would go their way to have a chance of being in Europe next season, but Nice's midweek win means they can no longer qualify for Europe next season even if they win their remaining fixtures. UEFA Europa League quarter-finalists this term, OL will be cursing points dropped, such as the six-goal stalemate they shared with Clermont early in the season, that have left them in such a predicament. 

 

>> TIE-BREAKERS: The criteria

 

>> ONE TO WATCH: Troyes' Iké Ugbo