Ligue 1 2011, Week 17 Preview And Fixtures: PSG-Lille The Big Game, Joe Cole Somehow The Small Club Underdog

Joe Cole of LOSC Lille Metropole in action during the UEFA Champions League, group B match between LOSC Lille Metropole and FC Internazionale Milano at Stade Lille-Metropole in Lille, France. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Montpellier and PSG still rule the roost in Ligue 1, but with a few slip ups in recent weeks the gate is open for the less entertaining hordes to make their way through and just completely ruin everyone's fun.

Saturday December 17th

Brest vs. Auxerre

17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

Hello game that will probably be good that no one that speaks English will watch! Good defense+mediocre attack vs. good attack vs. mediocre defense. Totally compelling game, will probably have implications on either Europe or the relegation battle, because the Ligue 1 table is super tight. But no, watch United-Swansea instead. That'll be great.

Pick: Draw, 2-2

Caen vs. Nancy

17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

Nancy is the kind of team that is in every game, until the opposition manages to score a goal. Just one goal. Any goal. Because Nancy cannot score. Like at all.

Pick: Caen, 2-0

Dijon vs. St. Etienne

17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

Dijon is just messing with us. They're not this good. They're complete and total relegation fodder. Everyone knows it. Eventually they're going to be exposed. I think. Probably.

Pick: St. Etienne, 2-1

Marseille vs. Lorient

17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

UNDERACHIEVING MARSEILLE IN CRISIS! (*whisper whisper whiser*) *ahem*

Marseille has heroically shaken off a tumultuous beginning of the season to quite emphatically assert in the most definitive manner that they are a legitimate title contender and European power.

Meanwhile, Lorient yawns and continues to be 90% as good for like 25% of the money.

Pick: Marseille, 3-1

Montpellier vs. Toulouse

17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

DAMMIT MONTPELLIER DON"T SCREW THIS UP

Pick: Montpellier, 2-1

Nice vs. Valenciennes

17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

Nice is quite hateable. They don't attack, they're just good enough at the back to get away with a bunch of last-ditch defending and on the rare occasions they do find themselves in possession and threatening goal they somehow manage to mess it up. Valenciennes is worse though, because they beat Montpellier.

Lyon vs. Evian

19:00 CET/3:00 PM ET

Lyon making the knockout stage of the Champions League was already the most troll-tastic thing ever, but the way they managed to do so was just absolutely hilarious. The initial suspicions of match-fixing were completely legitimate -and had they not popped up the righteous skepticism of football fans worldwide should have rightfully been called into question-  but upon a more critical examination it's tough to think things weren't on the up-and-up. Which, once again, oh my god hilarious.

Pick: Lyon, 2-0

Sunday December 18th

Ajaccio vs. Rennes

15:00 CET/11:00 AM ET

This is going to be such a ridiculous game. It will be kind of cute, how Ajaccio will try to hang tough for ten minutes or so. And then Rennes will break through, and Ajaccio will dig in their heels some more and holy shit when are we going to realize that mediocre-to-bad teams not attacking balls-out from the first whistle is the dumbest thing on Earth.

Rennes, 2-0

Bordeaux vs. Sochaux

15:00 CET/11:00 AM ET

Sochaux is Dijon's big brother.

Pick: Draw, 1-1

PSG vs. Lille

19:00 CET/3:00 PM ET

Hey! This can be like the French version of City-United.

Ohhhhhhhhhhh. Wait. Maybe not.

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