High-flying Lorient will host managerless Reims at the Stade du Moustoir on Saturday in an attempt to pick up their seventh straight victory in Ligue 1.
Last weekend, Les Merlus recovered from behind to defeat Brest and the guests held 10-man Paris Saint-Germain to a scoreless draw.
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Les Merlus continue to make waves towards the top of the division thanks in large part to whatever Regis Le Bris has been giving his Lorient players this season, but they were made to earn their victory over Breton rivals Brest on matchday 10.
Les Pirates took the lead when Romain Del Castillo’s back-post header nestled into the far corner, but Terem Moffi was unexpectedly Lorient’s hero of the hour, first erasing Brest’s lead (which lasted just seven minutes) then slamming home his second of the game in the second half.
The eight-goal Nigerian has been in sensational form thus far in the 2022–23 campaign. Lorient, who have amassed a staggering 25 points from their first 10 games, have taken advantage of Marseille’s shocking defeat to Ajaccio to move up to second in the standings.
Surprisingly, Lorient and Paris Saint-Germain are separated by just one point at the top of the table. With the champions not playing until Sunday’s Classique against Marseille, Le Bris’s surprise package could overtake them with a seventh straight top-flight victory.
Lorient has conceded goals in each of its last five games, showing some of their ongoing weaknesses, but they enter the weekend as one of just two Ligue 1 teams with a spotless home record, the other being Lens. Lorient has shipped the most goals out of the top six teams, 14 to be exact.
When Reims welcomed PSG to the Stade Auguste-Delaune last Saturday evening, goalkeepers Yehvann Diouf and Gianluigi Donnarumma stole the show. Neither team was able to break through before or after Sergio Ramos was sent off for the 21st time in his club career.
Reims earned a valuable point against the champions, even though it means they are now winless in five Ligue 1 games. Neymar had a golden opportunity to give PSG the victory, but he dragged his effort wide of Diouf’s near post.
Reims, who are now in 15th position and are only one win away from joining the four other teams in the relegation zone, announced on Thursday morning that Oscar Garcia had been suspended in light of their early-season problems.
Les Rouges et Blancs have now failed to keep a clean sheet in seven straight Ligue 1 away games and must attempt to rip up the form book if they are to ruin the Lorient party. Their lone victory did come on the road, a victory over fellow strugglers Angers at the end of August.
Lorient lost both of their Ligue 1 encounters with Reims in 2021–22, most recently by a score of at home on May 1. However, since that time, the two clubs have only been moving in different directions.
The absence of important midfield enforcer Abergel has dampened Lorient’s spirits a little, but Ouattara’s return to the starting lineup and his four goals and five assists will increase Merlus’s success.
Although Lorient’s defense is far from impenetrable and Reims gave a valiant effort against PSG, they can expect some success in front of goal. However, Le Bris’s team has been virtually unbeatable at home and has the necessary firepower to slam to a seventh straight victory and a historic run at the top of the table.