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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

Title race revives fond memories for Bordeaux

Coach Laurent Blanc will hope for a reversal of fortunes when the Ligue 1 title race is decided on Saturday with his Girondins Bordeaux side favourites to win it.

Ten years ago, the last time Bordeaux claimed the title, Blanc was in the Olympique Marseille side which could have caught them on the final day but the Girondins won at Paris St Germain to lift the crown.

This year's season-ending scenario has a strong sense of deja vu for both clubs but the boot is on Blanc's other foot.

A draw would be enough for Blanc's Bordeaux, who lead by three points from Marseille, when they play at Caen (1900 GMT). They will also be crowned champions in defeat if Marseille fail to win at home to Stade Rennes.

Marseille will win the title on goal difference if they beat Rennes and Bordeaux lose.

"The title race will be decided on the last day and it is not an ideal situation," Blanc told reporters after Bordeaux extended their winning streak in the league to 10 games last weekend.

"My players know very well what is at stake and they are a bit nervous but I guess it is the same at Marseille," he added.

In 1999, Marseille fans had the feeling their arch-rivals Paris St Germain deliberately lost at home to Bordeaux on the last day to deprive the Provence side of the title.

They do not fear a repeat.

"Caen simply must win if they want to escape relegation and that is a point in our favour," Marseille coach Eric Gerets was quoted as saying on his club's website (www.om.net).

Marseille are the best away team in Ligue 1 this season but have been defeated four times at home.

"If we had a normal record at home, we would already be champions," Gerets said.

"I hope my players will have learned the lesson of all those previous games at home because we can experience a beautiful end to our season and, with luck, have a great party," the Belgian added before his last game on the Marseille bench.

Bordeaux and Marseille have secured places in the Champions League group stage next season while outgoing champions Olympique Lyon, who travel to Toulouse, are sure of third place and a spot in the qualifying rounds.

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