Ligue 1 has Europe’s tightest title race … and most enthralling relegation battle

The bottom three clubs in Ligue 1 won this weekend to set up a close finish; Memphis Depay insulted some fish; and Mario Balotelli scored an away goal

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

In contrast to the past few weeks, when much of the attention in France has been on a particular match, be it the Coupe de la Ligue final or Lyon’s trip to Paris Saint-Germain, the fixture calendar did not throw up anything so compelling this weekend. Paris Saint-Germain were given the Sunday night slot, traditionally reserved for the weekend’s biggest match, by dint of their popularity but their opponents, Guingamp, have failed to score at the Parc des Princes since 2002 and that trend continued. The Bretons had beaten PSG at home earlier in the season, but their form has waned badly in 2017 and PSG duly won 4-0. But, in a surprising turn of events, there was more than enough excitement on Saturday to make up for Sunday’s series of damp squibs, and much of that excitement centred around the teams at the bottom.

Last season, the battle to avoid relegation came down to the last day, with Toulouse, on the heels of a furious fightback, staying up and Reims and Gazelec Ajaccio going down. Neither Reims, who had bizarrely changed their manager late in the season, nor Gazelec, who were operating on a minuscule budget, were likely to stay in France’s top flight. What caught the eye, though, was Toulouse’s dramatic late turnaround under Pascal Dupraz. The fiery manager had enjoyed some decent success in keeping Evian in Ligue 1, but with Toulouse badly adrift upon his appointment, he seemed a bold choice. Lorient and Bastia, the clubs that looked destined for the drop this season, were similarly cut away before the international break, but looked to have run out of options.

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Source: Football News
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