French Ligue 1 2011, Week 13 Preview And Fixtures: Montpellier Look To Continue Their Surprising Run Against Resurgent Marseille

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: Andre Ayew of Olympique de Marseille battles for the ball with Carl Jenkinson of Arsenal during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Arsenal FC v Olympique de Marseille at Emirates Stadium on November 1, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Knowing league leaders PSG are unlikely to slip, Montpellier look to keep them in range as they face a surging Marseille.

Saturday November 19th

AC Ajaccio vs. Caen

17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

Caen is still in the top half of the table. On the one hand, that makes me happy because yay Caen! On the other hand it makes me sad because they were cuter when they were really bad. Ajaccio is still really bad, they're not especially cute and they get to live in Ajaccio. Screw those guys.

Pick: Caen, 1-0

Dijon vs. Bordeaux

17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

Both of Bordeaux's wins have come away from home (I am sure the season ticket holders are thrilled with the 0-6-1 mark they've paid a great deal of money to see) and there's no reason to think they won't make it three this weekend. Dijon is just awful and after an early season fake-out they've settled at the bottom of the table where they will almost certainly reside for the remainder of the season.

Pick: Bordeaux, 2-0

Evian vs. Lorient

17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

Evian has made a pretty strong case that they belong at this level so far in 2011; they're far from safe in the very crowded lower-middle of the table, but if anyone was expecting them to come out and be terrible from the get-go they're surely re-evaluating that now. Lorient meanwhile look well on their way to one of the better seasons in club history and it's not too crazy to think they've got a chance at qualifying for Europe. This is an under-the-radar sort of good game, the kind you bring up when your friends are talking about Manchester City-Newcastle and you want to look like a footy-hipster.

Pick: Lorient, 2-1

Montpellier vs. Marseille

19:00 CET/3:00 PM ET

Just as everyone knew they would, Marseille has climbed their way off the bottom and now sit within easy striking distance of the Champions League places. Just as no one thought they would, Montpellier has continued to play like the second-best in France and well within range of the new-moneyed league leaders. This is a huge test for both sides, Montpellier hoping keep themselves close to PSG and Marseille looking to keep their momentum from slowing down. Best Ligue 1 game of the week, hands down.

Pick: Montpellier, 2-1

Sunday November 20th

Brest vs. Sochaux

15:00 CET/11:00 AM ET

Brest's completely unimpressive home unbeaten streak (one win in six games makes Stade Francis-Le Blé look less an impenetrable fortress and more a footballing Maginot Line) will be threatened this week by a Sochaux side that puts up goals at an impressive clip. They also allow them at an equally impressive clip but that shouldn't be much of an issue because, you know, Brest.

Pick: Sochaux, 3-1

Valenciennes vs. Auxerre

15:00 CET/11:00 AM ET

Auxerre is so predictable as to be almost comforting; they'll score a goal or two, they'll allow a goal or two. Seldom more, seldom less. They'll win a quarter of the time, lose a quarter of the time and draw about half the time. They're a very highly paid regression baseline, essentially. Valenciennes, meanwhile, is a poor football team.

Pick: Auxerre, 2-1

PSG vs. Nancy

19:00 CET/3:00 PM ET

Oh well this should be competitive and totally entertaining to watch.

Pick: Javier Pastore, 8-0

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