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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Mar 3, 2011

Rennes aim to take control

Rennes have the chance to go top of Ligue 1 on Saturday as they travel to Montpellier a day before league leaders Lille face a tough game away at Marseille.

Frederic Antonetti's Rennes have impressed so far this season and only goal difference keeps them off of the top of the table, but the manager himself is refusing to get carried away.

He said: ''It is useless to dwell. There may be a lot of things [to happen] yet. Three months is a long time.''

A positive result against sixth-placed Montpellier is even more vital given that it comes before tricky matches against Marseille and Lyon

Rennes recent run of good form has come at a time when a host of key players are missing through injury and the likes of Kader Mangane, Sylvain Marveaux and Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik are still absent.

Montpellier themselves are on a good run, having lost only once during 2011 and will fancy their chances at home due to the aforementioned Rennes injury crisis.

Any slip up by Rennes will give Lille the chance to put some breathing space between themselves and the following pack.

Their preparations have not been ideal as they were taken all the way by Lorient in the Coupe de France quarter finals before eventually winning on penalties.

But Marseille themselves needed extra-time to see off Le Mans in the cup and also have problems ahead of the game with injury concerns over several of their key men, including Mathieu Valbuena who injured a knee in training.

Lyon meanwhile will be looking to pounce on any mistakes made by the top four as they host rock-bottom Arles, although winger Jimmy Briand is aware that they cannot take anything for granted.

He said: ''The difference is that they come here without any pressure, they will be able to play calmly - we cannot let anything go in games like this, because it is that which can help us make a difference in the title race.''

Elsewhere, struggling Lens travel to Nice, who are also not clear of the relegation fight. The hosts will know that a victory will take them closer to safety, whilst anything but three points for Lens could leave them even deeper in trouble.

Nice go into the game after a hard-fought extra time win against Reims in the Coupe de France and their manager Eric Roy knows they will need to dig deep.

Roy told the club's official website: ''We do not forget that we played 120 minutes before we face Lens - we'll see on Saturday night if this game [against Reims] was disadvantageous.''

Monaco and Auxerre will be hoping to pull away from the relegation zone but face tough games against Valenciennes and Paris Saint-Germain respectively whilst Toulouse face Sochaux and Bordeaux travel to Brest in two mid-table clashes.

Caen, also struggling in their battle against the drop, host St.Etienne whilst Nancy travel to Lorient.

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