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Ligue 1 preview: Lyon look to extend lead

Leaders Lyon have a big opportunity to open up a five-point margin at the top of Ligue 1 when they host relegation-threatened Evian on Friday.

Lyon versus Evian will be the first match of Ligue 1’s Round 21 and the league leaders, who moved ahead of Paris Saint-Germain last week, will be expected to defeat their 18th-placed opponents.

If Remi Garde’s side knock off Evian and PSG lose on the road to fourth-placed Bordeaux and third-placed Marseille slip up at home against reigning champions Montpellier, Lyon will open up a five-point gap at the top of the table.

Lyon, PSG and Marseille entered last weekend’s first round after the winter break equal on 38 points.

But the capital club’s 0-0 draw at home against Ajaccio and Marseille’s 3-1 loss away to Sochaux gave Lyon the lead in Ligue 1.

Lyon defeated Troyes 2-1, who sit 19th in Ligue 1, with new captain Maxime Gonalons scoring the opening goal, his third of the season.

Gonalons, who replaced Lisandro Lopez as Garde’s skipper before the Troyes game, has played more games for Lyon this season (19) than any other player except for star striker Bafetimbi Gomis (20).

Marseille defeated Montpellier 1-0 earlier in the season but with the latter having won six of their past seven matches in all competitions, Eli Baup’s team could be tested by the reigning champions.

PSG face a tough trip on Sunday having not beaten Bordeaux in five matches, while the Parisians have not won at Stade Jacques Chaban-Delmas since November 2005.

Lille and Nice could produce the match of the round in another of Sunday’s fixture, while Bastia host Rennes.

Nice moved up to fifth last week with a 5-0 demolition of Valenciennes and will fancy their chances away to eighth-placed Lille, who have not lost in Ligue 1 in six matches.

In other matches, Ajaccio are up against Valenciennes, Lorient host Troyes, Reims will travel to Sochaux, Toulouse take on Nancy and Brest clash with Saint-Etienne.

Wed 16 Jan, 2013
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