MX23RW : Wednesday, June 23 06:54:23| >> :600:2537787:2537787:
May 16, 2021 at 8pm UK at Stade des Costieres
Kone (5', 62')
FT(HT: 1-3)
Paqueta (8', 24'), Depay (20'), Aouar (55'), Slimani (87')

Preview: Nimes vs. Lyon - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Nimes and Lyon, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two teams desperate for victory at opposite ends of the Ligue 1 table prepare to lock horns at the Stade des Costieres on Sunday as relegation-threatened Nimes play host to Champions League-chasing Lyon.

Both sides marched to dominant victories in gameweek 36, as Les Crocodiles thrashed Metz 3-0 while Lyon eased to a 4-1 success over Lorient.

Match preview

Nimes Olympique's Renaud Ripart celebrates scoring their second goal against Lille in March 2021© Reuters

Time is running out for Nimes to preserve their Ligue 1 status for another season, but the much-admired Pascal Plancque has at least given them a fighting chance of avoiding the drop with only two games remaining in the 2020-21 campaign.

Les Crocodiles have struggled for victories all season, but an inspirational rally cry from Plancque worked wonders before their trip to Metz, as Lamine Fomba, Renaud Ripart and Zinedine Ferhat all struck in a resounding 3-0 win for Nimes last Sunday.

Dijon's fate has already been sealed, but 19th-placed Nimes could yet be plying their trade in the top flight should other results go their way in the final two gameweeks - with three points separating them from safety - but fixtures with Lyon and Rennes are hardly welcoming encounters for Plancque's side.

Victory at Metz ended a five-game winless run for Nimes - who also sit two points behind Nantes in the relegation playoff spot - and having lost just three of their last 13 games in the French top flight, survival is still a realistic target for Les Crocodiles.

However, Nantes and Lorient have started to pick up points when it matters most, and with Nimes drawing four and losing one of their last five home matches, their relegation could be confirmed with a less-than-positive result on Sunday.

Lyon coach Rudi Garcia pictured on February 19, 2021© Reuters

Houssem Aouar stole the headlines with his well-taken opener against another relegation-threatened team in Lorient last week, with the midfielder bringing the ball down expertly before controlling it with his chest and coolly slotting home with 53 minutes on the clock.

The game soon exploded into life at the Groupama Stadium after a dull opening 45 minutes, with Lyon's midfielders taking the game by storm as Lucas Paqueta netted a second before Bruno Guimaraes's double wrapped up the three points for Lyon, despite Thomas Monconduit's late consolation.

Rudi Garcia is certainly going to steer Lyon back onto the European stage for the 2021-22 campaign, but Monaco remain one point above the fourth-placed Gones in the race for the final Champions League spot, meaning that Lyon may have to make do with a spot in the Europa League barring any late errors from Les Monegasques.

Despite some title-killing errors on home turf this season, Lyon have been almost unplayable away from home and travel to Nimes on a 16-game unbeaten run on the road in Ligue 1 - winning 10 and drawing the other six - and they have not failed to score away from home since a goalless stalemate with Bordeaux in gameweek two.

The scores were tied in a 0-0 draw when Lyon and Nimes met earlier in the season, and Les Crocodiles have lost three of their last four in the league against Sunday's visitors, who have not suffered defeat to Nimes in league action since 1993.

Nimes Ligue 1 form:
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W

Lyon Ligue 1 form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Lyon form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W

Team News

Lyon's Jason Denayer celebrates with teammates after scoring against Rennes on January 9, 2021© Reuters

Nimes have a near-empty medical room at the perfect time in their relegation scrap, with Pablo Martinez and Clement Depres the only concerns for Plancque to work around this weekend.

The hosting manager made a few changes for the win over Metz and should keep faith in the same players after a dominant showing, meaning that Gaetan Paquiez ought to continue at right-back over Patrick Burner.

Ripart's penalty at Metz took him up to eight league goals since the turn of the year - one away from his personal best of nine strikes in 2019.

Lyon challenged Mattia De Sciglio's ban for his sending off against Monaco and managed to have the defender available for the win over Lorient, but he is confirmed to be missing out this weekend as he serves the suspension.

On the other hand, Memphis Depay, Marcelo and Maxence Caqueret are both back in the fold after serving their bans last weekend, but the latter may struggle to reclaim a place in midfield after each member of Garcia's three-man engine room netted against Lorient.

Jason Denayer (ankle) and Melvin Bard (COVID-19) should both be ready to return, while the young Rayan Cherki will hope to keep his place as Tino Kadewere has been ruled out with an adductor injury.

Nimes possible starting lineup:
Reynet; Paquiez, Ueda, Landre, Meling; Cubas, Fomba; Eliasson, Ripart, Ferhat; Kone

Lyon possible starting lineup:
Lopes; Dubois, Denayer, Marcelo, Cornet; Aouar, Guimaraes, Paqueta; Cherki, Depay, Toko Ekambi

SM words green background

We say: Nimes 1-3 Lyon

The onus is on Nimes to boost their survival hopes with the unlikeliest of wins this weekend, but they would still need to shock Rennes on the final matchday even if they manage to prevail against Lyon.

Garcia's side are not giving up their pursuit of Champions League football that easily and boast an astonishing record away from home, so we can only back Les Gones to take the spoils.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

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