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Ligue 1 preview: Lille wary of desperate Monaco

SoccerNews in Ligue 1, UEFA Champions League 7 Apr 2011

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Ligue 1 leaders Lille will be wary of the threat posed by a Monaco side battling to avoid relegation for the first time since the 1970s.

Monaco were French champions in 1999-2000, and progressed to the Champions League final in 2004, where they were beaten 3-0 by Porto, but since then have dropped off the pace considerably.

After claiming third-place in 2004-05, Monaco have finished 10th, ninth, 12th, 11th and eighth, and Laurent Banide’s men are sitting in the drop zone – one point behind 17th-placed Auxerre.

Lille will also have history on their mind heading into Saturday’s clash, and after setting the pace for much of the Ligue 1 season, their chief objective is to break a 57-year championship drought.

Rudi Garcia’s men are four points clear of Marseille on top of the table with nine games to go this season, and make the trip to the Stade Louis II on the back of a four-game winning streak.

Also on Saturday, third-placed Rennes – who are seven points behind Lille – visit a Brest side keen to put some more breathing space between themselves and the relegation zone.

Paris Saint-Germain, who are fifth, will look to close the gap on fourth-placed Lyon and keep their hopes of European football alive when they visit a Caen side just three points clear of the relegation zone.

Bottom side Arles can keep their slim hopes of survival afloat when they visit Jean Tigana’s Bordeaux side, seventh-placed St Etienne take on Auxerre at the Stade Abbe-Deschamps and Lorient welcome Sochaux.

Nancy make the trip to Valenciennes in a battle of two sides in the bottom half of the table, and on Sunday second-placed Marseille will look to keep the pressure on Lille when they host Toulouse, who are in 11th place.

Elsewhere on Sunday, fourth-placed Lyon welcome second-from-bottom Lens, and sixth-placed Montpellier will look to keep their chance of European football alive when they host Nice.

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