Sports Mole previews Wednesday’s Ligue 1 clash between Lorient and Metz, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
However, the gap between 16th-placed Lorient and bottom side Metz is just seven points, handing the visitors an opportunity to get back into the mix to retain their Ligue 1 status.
After going 15 matches without success earlier in the campaign, there seemed to be an inevitability about Lorient being unable to stay out of trouble come the end of the season.
However, four victories from 10 games have moved Lorient two points clear of the relegation zone with six matches remaining, a scenario which they would have taken not so long ago.
That said, they head into their next outing having suffered disappointment on Sunday, Christophe Pelissier‘s team being on their way to claiming a point at Nice until conceding an 88th-minute winner.
Still, positives can be taken from pushing a team bidding for Champions League qualification, and Les Merlus will still be confident of taking three points from their upcoming fixture.
Despite their struggles away from home, Lorient have been relatively strong on home turf, particularly from a defensive standpoint with just 16 goals being conceded in 15 matches.
Trailing 17th position by six points with six matches remaining, Metz are almost at the point of no return in their battle to avoid relegation to Ligue 2.
To their credit, they claimed a 1-1 draw with rivals Clermot on Sunday, playing at a man disadvantage for 50 minutes to ensure that they did not give up further ground to their 18th-placed foes.
Nevertheless, only victories will now do at this stage of the season, particularly in games such as this one with Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain still to come.
There had been a point when Metz were performing solidly away from home, but they have now failed to prevail in their last five games on the road.
Overall, Frederic Antonetti‘s side have gone 11 fixtures without posting maximum points, although five of those encounters ended in low-scoring draws.
Lorient Ligue 1 form:
Metz Ligue 1 form:
Given the improvements which were made against Nice, Lorient boss Pelissier may be prepared to keep changes down to a minimum.
However, if Pelissier opts for a more offensive-minded side, Ibrahima Kone is on standby to be drafted into the team.
Metz will be forced into at least one change with Ibrahima Niane starting a ban for his dismissal in the last game.
Didier Lamkel Ze appears a likely replacement in attack, and that may prove to be the only alteration should Antonetti feels that further fresh legs are not required.
Lorient possible starting lineup:
Dreyer; Silva, Mendes, Jenz, Petrot, Goff; Moffi, Innocent, Abergel, Boisgard, Lauriente
Metz possible starting lineup:
Oukidja; Bronn, Kouyate, Amadou, Delaine; Traore, N’Doram, Pajot; Sarr; Preville, Ze
We say: Lorient 1-1 Metz
A home game against the division’s bottom-placed side is as ideal as it gets for Lorient in their efforts to pull clear of the relegation zone. However, they face a Metz outfit who have their backs against the wall, and we think that the visitors will do enough to earn a point.