Preview: Lorient v. Paris

Ahead of Les Parisiens’ trip to the Stade Yves Allainmat for their rescheduled encounter with FC Lorient on Matchday 29 of Ligue 1 – tomorrow at 19:00 CET – let’s take a closer look at the capital club’s next fixture. Whether it’s through both teams’ league positions, their current form or their players to watch, here’s a preview of what awaits Les Rouge et Bleu against FCL.

a look at the table

Thanks to their superb 4-1 win over Olympique Lyonnais at the Parc des Princes last time out, Paris Saint-Germain have taken a step closer to clinching the league title, as they wasted little time in getting back to winning ways in Ligue 1 after being held to a 1-1 draw by Clermont just over two weeks ago. Les Rouge et Bleu now boast 66 points at the top of the league table, 11 more than AS Monaco and 13 more than Stade Brestois 29.

Lorient, meanwhile, are finding things tough this season. Despite winning four of their five games over the course of February and early March, Les Merlus have dropped back into the danger zone in recent weeks following a series of three consecutive defeats (1-0 v. Brest, 2-0 v. Montpellier and 3-0 v. Nice). Currently 17th with 26 points from 29 games, Lorient have no choice but to pick up points from somewhere in order to get themselves out of the bottom three.

BOth teams' current form in numbers

Tomorrow night, Les Parisiens will be looking to make it 22 straight away games without defeat in Ligue 1, having registered 16 wins and five draws on the road up until now. If they were to pull it off, Les Rouge et Bleu would set a new record for the longest away unbeaten streak in the French top flight, which is currently held by Lyon, who went 21 away games without losing between March 2005 and April 2006. This match between the capital club and Les Merlus should offer up a real clash of styles, too, as while Paris have scored more goals than any other team in the league this season (69), Lorient have conceded more than any other team (55). Most importantly, though, if Paris win and Monaco fail to beat Lille, they will be crowned French champions for the 12th time in their history.

After being beaten in each of their last three home games without scoring a single goal, Lorient could well rack up a fourth successive defeat on home soil in Ligue 1 for the second time in their history, having already done so between September and November 2014. To avoid falling to yet another loss, Les Merlus will be hoping to continue their good form against Les Rouge et Bleu specifically, as the Brittany side are unbeaten in their last two meetings with Paris in Ligue 1 (one win and one draw). If they were to halt the capital club's progress once again, it would be Lorient's second three-game unbeaten run against Paris in the top flight in the 21st century, following their five-game unbeaten run against Les Parisiens between 2009 and 2011.


Régis Le Bris mainly sets his side up in a 3-4-3 formation. In goal, with a save rate of 70.1% in Ligue 1 this season, Switzerland international Yvon Mvogo has established himself as Lorient's first-choice keeper ahead of Senegal international Alfred Gomis. In front of Mvogo, three players appears to be well-positioned to start in defence for Les Merlus, as another Senegal international, Formose Mendy, has well and truly earned his place in the starting XI and is likely to be accompanied by Nathaniel Adjei and Isaak Touré in the absence of Tunisia international Montassar Talbi (collar bone). In light of Lorient's recent defensive difficulties, though, Julien Laporte could be given a chance to disrupt the hierarchy.

At right wing-back, January signing Panos Katseris appears to be the preferred option. Having joined the club from Serie B side US Catanzaro, the 22-year-old defender has started ahead of DR Congo international Gédéon Kalulu in recent games, with Igor Silva still out injured. On the opposite side, Cameroon international Darlin Yongwa may well return to the starting XI, although Benjamin Mendy remains a credible alternative. In the midfield, meanwhile, FCL will almost certainly have to do without their captain, Laurent Abergel, who isn't quite fully fit yet. With this in mind, we can expect to see France international Tiémoué Bakayoko line up alongside Morocco's Imrân Louza, who will be key to his side's attacking play.

Up front, Badredine Bouanani is expected to return to the starting XI and will be one of Les Merlus' biggest assets on the right wing. So far, the Algeria international has been preferred to Tosin Aiyegun, whose profile is more that of a central striker, while Julien Ponceau and Ayman Kari will very probably have to battle it out for a place on the left side of the attack, meaning that the latter of the two, who is on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, could well line up against his parent club. Finally, at centre-forward, Mohamed Bamba (six goals in Ligue 1 this season) has been favoured by the Lorient coaching staff so far. Having hit the ground running since his arrival in northwestern France in the winter, Bamba sits ahead of the promising Eli Junior Kroupi (five goals and three assists) and Bamba Dieng (two goals and one assist) in the pecking order.

Despite their disappointing recent form, then, FCL will have plenty of weapons at their disposal against Les Parisiens tomorrow evening.