The suspense is total to avoid the ultimate ticket for relegation to Ligue 2 which should be played between Auxerre (16th) and Nantes (17th), separated by a small point two days before the end of the season.
In this battle from a distance, Auxerre seems to have a slight psychological advantage over Nantes without spring, despite a very complicated schedule and an unfavorable goal difference (-18 for Nantes, -26 for Auxerre).
The fate of Nantes could also be sealed on Saturday evening if they do not snatch at least one draw in Lille and if Auxerre wins in Toulouse.
A plausible hypothesis insofar as the Mastiffs are in full European sprint while the TFC, winner 5-0 in Auxerre in January, has been freewheeling since its title in the Coupe de France.
Next week during the 38th and last day, the relationship will be reversed: Auxerre will receive Lens, impressive dolphin of PSG, and Nantes the red lantern Angers.
But we must be wary of appearances insofar as Lens could slow down if second place is assured and Angers, more biting since relegation was recorded, could seek to drag their local rival into their fall.
The dynamics of the worst
Since the victories against Troyes, Ajaccio and Nantes, which had taken it out of the red zone, Auxerre has marked time with three defeats and two draws.
The team remains on a worrying setback in Brest (1-0) and another much more reassuring against Paris SG (2-1), where Christophe Pélissier’s men were able to hang on even being led 2-0 at the 8th minute.
“Everyone is ready for a big game in Toulouse. The first leg was difficult but the stakes are not the same. If to maintain it we have to go until the 95th minute against Lens, we will go. No one not going to give up,” said captain Birama Touré.
Opposite, Nantes is at the bottom of the hole, with a series of 13 games without a win in the league since mid-February. Worst: Nantes have yet to score a goal in May.
The Canaries have yet attempted fifty shots in four matches. Each time, they made a good start but failed to materialize and then completely lost the thread as soon as the opponent opened the scoring.
“We haven’t won a match for six months. We could play for a week, we won’t score a goal,” whispered Nicolas Pallois, demoralized, last week.
The only exception: the match in Toulouse (May 14), where the Canaries at least managed not to concede a goal (0-0) and on which they should rely against Lille.
Pélissier/Aristouy, a matter of experience
In Auxerre, Christophe Pélissier, the “wizard” specialist in climbs, has already experienced several tense ends of seasons in L1 with Amiens then with Lorient, and his team has never suffered relegation.
“In February, everyone condemned us but the players showed a superb state of mind. We are ready to fight together,” he recalled.
On the Nantes side, Pierre Aristouy arrives in L1 and finds himself facing players he sees for some “paralyzed”.
Indeed, if the Auxerrois have been programmed since the start of the season to fight for maintenance, the Canaries fall from above, as their slow tumble in the league has been masked by a few euphoric moments in the Europa League and the Coupe de France.
A small glimmer despite everything: in a spirit of sacred union, Pedro Chirivella, who had ended his season in mid-April to treat pubalgia, chose to return. If he has regained enough form, he could finally bring some serenity to the field.