Ligue 1 Preview: Bielsa seeks Marseille response, Ben Arfa poised for Nice debut

Marcelo Bielsa will hope Marseille can once again show their ability to bounce back against Montpellier on Friday.

Bielsa saw his side surprisingly eliminated from the Coupe de France on Sunday courtesy of a penalty shootout defeat to fourth-tier Grenoble. 

However, while the Argentine tactician was left to rue a costly defeat at the Stade des Alpes, he will take heart from his team's ability to respond to previous setbacks. 

Aside from the loss to Grenoble, Marseille have suffered just five competitive defeats this season and won all but one of the games that have followed.

Former Marseille boss Rolland Courbis will hope to compound his former side's problematic start to 2015 as Montpellier host the leaders on Friday, with Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon both able to end the weekend in top spot if results go their way. 

PSG make the trip to struggling Bastia in Saturday's early game with Lyon getting Sunday's action under way against Toulouse at the Stade Gerland.

At the bottom, Caen will hope for an upturn in fortunes during 2015 when they face Lille.

Patrice Garande's side prop up Ligue 1, having won only three times in the first half of the league campaign, while Evian will hope to boost their chances of avoiding the drop against a Rennes team buoyed by some recent arrivals.

Philippe Montanier has wasted no time in the transfer window, freshening his squad up with the arrivals of Ermir Lenjani and goalkeeper Edvinas Gertmonas, with defender Edson Mexer set to be available despite breaking his nose in the Coupe de France win over Dunkerque. 

Nice will also benefit from a recent signing with mercurial forward Hatem Ben Arfa in line to debut against Lorient on Saturday following his switch from Newcastle United.

"I'm coming here to enjoy myself, use my qualities to help the club to make progress, and, of course, to win," the former Lyon man said on his return to France.

Metz will be without recent acquisition Ferjani Sassi for their visit to Nantes on Sunday due to his Africa Cup of Nations commitments with Tunisia while Guingamp host Lens and Reims entertain Saint-Etienne.

Bordeaux's trip to Monaco on Sunday rounds off the weekend's action, with the visitors this week losing leading goalscorer Cheick Diabate to injury after the striker underwent an operation on a knee problem.

Leonardo Jardim's Monaco can extend their winning run to eight games with victory at the Stade Louis II.