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LIGUE 1 WEEKEND PREVIEW: Lyon resume assault on the top three after Martin Terrier’s collapse scare

Lyon will be looking to put a traumatic week behind them when they go up against Nice this weekend with the Champions League spots still in touching distance.  

Martin Terrier collapsed last weekend in the team’s 3-0 win against Toulouse, leaving everyone in the stadium fearing the worst. The French forward fell to the turf with no-one else around him in the 20th minute of the game – looking down before staggering to the ground on his back. 

He was seen breathing very heavily as players ran to his aid and rolled him over into the recovery position, before he was stretchered off – with both sets of players looking shaken. Thankfully, Terrier has been given the all-clear and reportedly fainted after a drop in blood pressure.

Lyon forward Martin Terrier was placed on a stretcher after collapsing against Toulouse

The Frenchman received swift medical attention after concerns when he dropped to the turf

The Frenchman received swift medical attention after concerns when he dropped to the turf

This week Lyon have had the strange situation of preparing for two trips to Nice in the space of three days, with the teams first playing in a last-16 clash in the Coupe de France on Thursday night, which Lyon won 2-1.

Ahead of the cup game, manager Rudi Garcia said Terrier would be ‘left in peace, as a precaution’ to give him more time to recover after the scare before making a decision on him for Sunday’s Ligue 1 game.

‘We’re not taking any risk,’ he said. ‘There are a lot of matches and we want him to return fully recovered.’   

Terrier's team-mate, Moussa Dembele, ran over and moved him into the recovery position

Terrier’s team-mate, Moussa Dembele, ran over and moved him into the recovery position

Lyon players looked shaken up after forward Terrier went to ground with no-one around him

Lyon players looked shaken up after forward Terrier went to ground with no-one around him

The 22-year-old signed for Lyon in 2018, having previously played for Lille and Strasbourg

The 22-year-old signed for Lyon in 2018, having previously played for Lille and Strasbourg

LIGUE 1 FIXTURES 

Friday, January 31

7.45pm – Rennes v Nantes

Saturday, February 1 

4.30pm – PSG v Montpellier 

7pm – Amiens v Toulouse

7pm – Angers v Reims

7pm – Dijon v Brest

7pm – Nimes v Monaco

7pm – Strasbourg v Lille

Sunday, February 2 

2pm – Nice v Lyon 

4pm – Metz v St Etienne 

8pm – Bordeaux v Marseille 

Champions League football is very much up for grabs this season, with just seven points separating third and ninth, and  Lyon are looking to cut the five-point gap to third-placed Rennes.

The seven-time Ligue 1 winners won the reverse fixture 2-1 at the Groupama Stadium, with former Arsenal star Jeff Reine-Adelaide putting them ahead before Moussa Dembele made it two, while Kasper Dolberg grabbed a consolation.

Reine-Adelaide will be missing this time as he is out for the season with a cruciate ligament injury, alongside ex-Manchester United winger Memphis Depay – who is suffering the same problem.

They will be counting on Dembele to continue his irresistible form in front of goal. The French forward – who was interesting Chelsea over January – has netted seven goals in his last six games and will be a huge threat to the Nice back line. 

Moussa Dembele is in irresistible form for Lyon and has seven goals in his last six matches

Moussa Dembele is in irresistible form for Lyon and has seven goals in his last six matches

It looks like he will be staying with Lyon as Chelsea pursue other striking targets, and Garcia will be relieved to hang on to the influential forward, who will be crucial in firing the club towards the top three. 

Garcia will be able to call upon new signing Bruno Guimaraes for their league game with Nice, while Ciprian Tatarusanu is set to continue in goal with Anthony Lopes still not fit. Lyon will arrive in good form having won the last four in a row, but they don’t have the best record against Patrick Vieira’s men.

Lyon will have new signing Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes available to face Nice

Lyon will have new signing Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes available to face Nice

Lyon won the reverse fixture against Nice 2-1 ahead of the third meeting between the sides

Lyon won the reverse fixture against Nice 2-1 ahead of the third meeting between the sides

In the last 10 league games between the sides, Nice have won five, with Lyon winning just three and there have been two draws.  

Nice, however, could do with a lift after some patchy form that has seen them struggle to string results together. Vieira, who was linked with the Arsenal job recently, has masterminded just two wins in the last five as the team have blown hot and cold – resulting in a mid-table position in Ligue 1.

But they remain just three points off their opponents in fifth, and a win would see them slide their way back into the reckoning for a European finish.

Is this the most settled Neymar we’ve seen at PSG?

Neymar is blowing teams away after 11 goals and 7 assists in 10 games since his injury return

Neymar is blowing teams away after 11 goals and 7 assists in 10 games since his injury return

What a difference five months can make. At the start of the season, Neymar was being booed by his own supporters with a return to Barcelona on the cards, now he’s the name on everyone’s lips. 

In the summer the Brazilian had returned late to pre-season training and made it clear he was interested in a Nou Camp reunion. However, the move failed to materialise and after Neymar picked up a hamstring injury, things looked dark for the supremely talented forward. But since he returned from the sidelines in late November, he hasn’t looked back.

In the last 10 matches, he has scored 11 times and notched seven assists – electrifying form. He continued that sensational run last weekend when he bagged a brace away at Lille – and showed his class as he paid tribute to the late Kobe Bryant. 

‘He has an incredible ability to accelerate and dribble,’ said his manager Thomas Tuchel. ‘He was exceptional at times. He’s been playing at this level for weeks and has offered us games of this calibre every three days.

‘He’s a boy who is capable of simple things and then exceptional things in the next minute. I’m happy for him as this will give him a lot of confidence.’

The way Neymar has pulled himself together despite such a dark cloud hanging above his head and so much negative press aimed at him is to be admired. 

He looks the most settled he has ever been since signing for the eye-watering £198million sum in 2017, and his hot streak comes at the perfect time, with PSG preparing to face Dortmund in the Champions League last 16 next month.

The Brazilian showed his class by paying tribute to the late Kobe Bryant, who died last week

The Brazilian showed his class by paying tribute to the late Kobe Bryant, who died last week

PSG, who have won nine games in 10, will need Neymar among the goals again this weekend as they prepare for a tough test against Montpellier.

Thomas Tuchel’s side faced a midweek Coupe de France clash against third-tier Pau, but he was able to rest the majority of his first-choice XI and still secured a 2-0 win to advance to the quarter-finals. Marco Verratti, Angel Di Maria and Mauro Icardi were the only stars from the Lille game to feature.

Edinson Cavani looks set to move to Atletico Madrid and won’t be included in the matchday squad, while Juan Bernat is also set to miss out with a calf problem. 

Neymar has answered his critics at PSG this season and now looks more settled than ever

Neymar has answered his critics at PSG this season and now looks more settled than ever 

Their opponents, who won Ligue 1 in 2011-12, are knocking on the door of the Champions League spots this season and arrive in Paris in good spirits after five straight wins.

Montpellier gave PSG a tough time in the reverse fixture – going ahead in the first half before it all came crashing down as Pedro Mendes saw red, with Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Icardi taking advantage to score three unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes of the game.

Michel Der Zakarian’s side will therefore be confident of upsetting the apple cart this weekend, and will be looking to top scorers Andy Delort and Florent Mollet – who have 15 goals between them – to lead them to a shock away result. 

Europe-chasing Montpellier know they can hurt PSG - they came close to a result in the reverse

Europe-chasing Montpellier know they can hurt PSG – they came close to a result in the reverse

ELSEWHERE THIS WEEKEND        

Friday night sees Rennes face a fellow Champions League hopeful as they welcome Nantes to Roazhon Park. The third-placed home side are five points clear of their rival and have an opportunity to put daylight between them. 

Nantes know that an away win would be crucial as they look to keep pushing for a European finish. Rennes have four wins in their last six, with their only loss coming to title challengers Marseille.  

Basement boys Toulouse have the perfect chance to stop the rot of 12 straight defeats when they come up against 18th-placed Amiens on Saturday.  

If they fall to a 13th loss in a row, Amiens will open up a nine-point gap – but win and it’s cut to three, and somehow a glimmer of hope despite staring down the barrel for much of the season.

High-flying Rennes will hope to keep their grip on third at home to  European rivals Nantes

High-flying Rennes will hope to keep their grip on third at home to  European rivals Nantes

Elsewhere, a mid-table clash sees Angers, who had a promising start to the season, play Reims at home. There is just one point separating the sides, and with the table still tight in the middle, a few wins could propel either team up the table.

Monaco will confident of putting poor form behind them when they travel to second-bottom Nimes, who have one win in 15 games.

And seventh-placed Lille can keep in touch with the top six with a win over Strasbourg, who are just one place and one point below them in the table.

Meanwhile on Sunday, Metz will look to make it three wins in a row with a home victory over St Etienne, while Bordeaux face a real test after some inconsistent recent form as they welcome second-placed Marseille.   

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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