Ligue 1 2011, Week 15: Marseille Looks To Force Their Way Back Into A Crowded Title Race

Morgan Amalfitano of Marseille celebrates after the UEFA Champions League group F match between Borussia Dortmund and Olympique de Marseille at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Lyon and Marseille both overcame long odds in order to move onto the next phase of the Champions League and they'll look to ride that momentum towards the top of the table.

Saturday December 10th

Nancy vs Ajaccio

17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

A game between the bottom two teams in Ligue 1. Hooray! The thing that really sucks is that they aren't bad in a way that could ever be described as even remotely entertaining. To be fair to Nancy there are almost certainly worse teams in the league and they probably won't finish in one of the bottom two spots. To be fair to Ajaccio, it's pretty there.

Pick: Nancy, 2-0

Sochaux vs PSG

17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

PSG is unquestionably the most impressive collection of talent in Ligue 1, but they're not - at the moment at least - an especially good team. It's kind of like putting an expert knitter in a room full of sheep and expecting to come back a week later to a crate full of Dolce & Gabbana.

Pick: PSG, 3-1

St Etienne vs Caen

17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

Two mediocre-to-decent sides that do things in different ways and a classic example of what should be quite a good game that no one will watch. Caen are a bit shaky at the back but they get forward well and can be a lot of fun to watch; St Etienne are less dynamic but more well rounded. It's worth a watch.

Pick: Draw, 2-2

Rennes vs Brest

17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

On pure entertainment value Rennes are behind only Montpellier in Ligue 1. They're also quite good, despite some moments of hilarity at the back. Brest are not, but they know what they're doing enough to avoid embarrassing themselves very often. Reach for the stars!

Pick: Rennes, 2-0

Toulouse vs Evian

17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

This game is the opposite of St. Etienne-Caen. Good lord. Toulouse has good players! How are they so incompetent in attack? It's baffling and mildly annoying. Evian are a good story and a fun side, but probably not of a high enough quality to overcome the big purple fog of negativity.

Pick: Toulouse, 1-0

Valenciennes vs Montpellier

17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

Montpellier continue to be one of the most fun teams in Europe and every day they spend at the bottom of the table is a gift from the football gods.

Pick: Montpellier, 3-1


Marseille vs Bordeaux

19:00 CET/3:00 PM ET

 After a dramatic comeback win against Borussia Dortmund L'OM find themselves back in the knockout stage of the Champions League, and after a disastrous start to the domestic season they're within shouting distance of the top of the table. Marseille is legitimately good again, and that makes Ligue 1 a lot more interesting.

Pick: Marseille, 2-1

Sunday December 11th

Auxerre vs Nice

15:00 CET/11:00 AM ET

In another clash of bottom-table titans, Nice's complete and total inability to attack comes against Auxerre's clown college of a back line. It's the resistible force against the quite easily moveable object!

Pick: Auxerre, 2-1

Lille vs Dijon

15:00 CET/11:00 AM ET

Lille's Champions League adventure is at an end and though their early exit is certainly disappointing, it does give them the opportunity to focus more attention on a pretty wide-open domestic title race. Given what they lost in the off-season it's reasonable for there to have been some drop-off, but given what they are almost certain to lose this summer the window isn't going to be open for too much longer.

Pick: Lille, 2-1

Lorient vs Lyon

19:00 CET/3:00 PM ET

Biggest game of the week this one, Lyon fresh off one of the most unlikely comeback stories in Champions League history and Lorient seeing their hopes of a run at Europe fading quickly.  With Montpellier continuing to look like legitimate title contenders, PSG holding huge amounts of unrealized potential, a high-quality team in Lille still ahead and a dangerous Marseille creeping up from the back, Lyon will need to win games such as these if they want to have the opportunity for more European dramatics next season.

Pick: Draw, 1-1

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