Lille made light work of Caen to continue their stroll towards the French league title with a 3-1 win on Saturday as rivals Rennes and Paris Saint German lost ground following goalless draws at home.
Rudi Garcia's side now have a seven-point cushion on second-placed Marseille who face a tricky trip to Lens on Sunday, as former seven-time champions Lyon, in fourth nine points behind the leaders, travel to Nice.
Despite the absence of the injured Adil Rami, the northerners showed no signs of weakness as they kept their bid for a first league title since 1954 on track. Lille's Yohan Cabaye missed an early penalty, but made up with the decisive corner which set up Aurelien Chedjou to open after 30 minutes.
Belgium striker Eden Hazard added a second after 61 minutes and the league's top scorer Moussa Sow slotted home his 20th goal of the season 12 minutes later. Youssef El Arabi got one back five minutes from time, but Caen, who are three points above the drop zone, suffered their third heavy defeat of the season to Lille.
Rennes, PSG left goalless
Rennes meanwhile were hampered by their injury-depleted strike force, notably Yacine Brahimi and Victor Hugo Montano, and could find no way past Auxerre. The Brittany side have lost momentum in recent weeks, taking just two points from their last three matches, altough, they still remain third. Auxerre for their part are just above the drop zone in 17th.
Paris Saint Germain have also lost steam, taking two points from their last four games including today's 0-0 draw to Lorient, a team who have caused the Parisians problems in recent years.
Since Lorient were promoted in 2006 they have lost just once in four games at Parc des Princes. They are sitting in eighth place as Antoine Kombouare's Parisians remain a distant fifth, 12 points behind Lille and five off Rennes.
Bordeaux provisionally moved up to sixth despite a 0-0 draw at 12th-place Nancy. The situation remains complicated for Brest, who suffered their fourth straight defeat after a last gasp Brown Ideye goal gave hosts Sochaux a 2-1 win.
Monaco won 2-0 at ten-man Arles-Avignon to remain 18th as Faruk Hadzibegic's side notched up a 17th match without a win. Montpellier defeated European rivals Toulouse 1-0 in a battle for the final UEFA Europa League spot.