Ligue 1: Lyon aim to maintain improved form
PARIS, February 22 (Ligue 1) - Lyon appear to be back in the groove and they will look to make it three Ligue 1 wins in a row when they take on Sochaux in the headline game of this weekend's round of fixtures.
Back-to-back victories against Lorient then Lille has seen the confidence flood back to Les Gones, and they are now 13 points clear at the summit.
They followed those successes up with an impressive performance against Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday night, securing a goalless draw in the first leg to make them favourites heading into the return fixture.
After a five-match winless run, Sochaux also got back on track last weekend, beating Le Mans 2-0 to go fourth in the standings.
And having not had a midweek European match, they will be the fresher side at the Stade Gerland on Saturday night.
Lens have made second place their own in Ligue 1, their 0-0 draw at Monaco last Sunday putting them five points clear of the chasing pack.
And they are favourites to make it five matches unbeaten when they host Nancy at the Stade Felix-Bollaert on Sunday.
Coach Francis Gillot, by then, will have hoped his team have made it through to the last 16 of the UEFA Cup - they play their Round of 32 second leg against Panathinaikos on Thursday.
Nancy are way down in 12th following their dismal 3-0 home defeat to Paris St Germain, but are still in touching distance of the European spots.
Third-placed Lille will be looking to put their midweek Champions League misery behind them when they travel to in-form Nice on Saturday.
Les Dogues have been in the spotlight this week, with crowd trouble and a near walk-out of their players during the game marring their 1-0 defeat to Manchester United.
They ought to be wary of a Nice side who have won three in a row, although they are still in the relegation zone, a point off safety.
As far as their other rivals at the foot of the table are concerned, bottom club Sedan go to upwardly mobile Rennes and second-bottom Nantes, who drew 0-0 with Marseille last time out, are badly in need of a win when they host Auxerre.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Marseille and Toulouse, who are fifth and sixth respectively on 38 points, clash at the Stade Municipal, Le Mans host Monaco and Troyes welcome Lorient.
On Sunday, Valenciennes travel to Bordeaux and St Etienne are away at PSG.