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French Ligue 1 Preview

Week two throws up some interesting encounters with Lyon taking on Caen and PSG hosting Metz.
Week two throws up some interesting encounters with Lyon taking on Caen and PSG hosting Metz.
The first week of France’s Premier football league got off to an entertaining enough start with title favourites PSG managing a narrow 1-0 victory over a resilient Bastia outfit last Friday. While Saturday saw an upset of sorts with Lille going down to Metz.

Sunday witnessed Lyon avoid a potential banana peel by seeing off Nancy 3-0 while Marseille and Toulouse closed out the round with a rather dour 0-0 draw.

Week two throws up a few interesting clashes with Lyon taking on Caen on Friday evening and PSG clashing with new boys Metz late on Sunday.

Friday 19 August

9/20 Lyon | Draw 7/2 | Caen 6/1 (20:45)

Lyon got their campaign off to a flyer ousting Nancy by 3-0 in Sunday’s early kickoff. Arsenal transfer target, Alexandre Lacazette, was the star of the show bagging a scintillating hat trick. Caen also managed to register an opening day victory as they saw off Lorient 3-2. While Lorient looked hot on attack, their defensive frailties were severely exposed. This does not bode well for them this week as Lyon have a strike force that is capable of tearing this fragile Caen defence apart. My advice here is to back Lyon on the -1 Handicap at 11/10.

Saturday 20 August

33/20 Nantes | 2/1 | Monaco 37/20  (17:00)

Nantes got their campaign off to a positive start with new signing Nicolaj Thomsen’s first half stooping header firing the Les Canaris to a 1-0 victory over Dijon. While Nantes secured three points in their opener, Monaco were forced to settle for only a solitary point as they were held to a 2-2 draw by an inspired Guingamp. Things could have been much worse for Les Rougues et Blancs as they were two goals down at the half-time interval. A penalty from right-back Fabinho, midway into the second stanza, halved the deficit while a cool finish from substitute Bernardo Silva restored parity for the team from the French principality. I reckon we may well see some goals at the Stade de la Beaujoire this Saturday. My tip here is to back the Both Teams To Score Market (Yes) at 11/10.

29/20 Angers | 2/1 | OGC Nice 43/20 (20:00)

Angers fell to a one-goal defeat at the hands of Montpelier this past Saturday. Les Scoistes fell behind on the eight-minute mark when Ryad Boudebouz put Montpelier ahead with an early contender for goal of the season. Former Arsenal youth academy graduate, Giles Sunu, came closest to leveling for Angers but his goal was ruled out for offside. Nice were also involved in a game that ended in a 1-0 score line but unlike this weekend’s opposition, they were the one’s with the goal attached to their names. The goal came courtesy of 17-year-old Malang Sarr whose headed effort, on the hour mark, proved to be the difference between the two sides. This should be a rather interesting contest but it may lack goals. With the previous sentence in mind, I think the sensible bet for this game is to back the Under 2.5 Goals market at 9/20.

7/10 Lille | 5/2 | Dijon 9/2 (20:00)

I was extremely disappointed to see Lille go down to newcomers Metz. The Lille squad looked rather clueless defensively, conceding three extremely soft goals. Coach, Frederic Antonetti would have had some harsh words for his players after they let a one-goal advantage slip twice from their hands. Lille will be determined to save face this week and avoid another slip-up against one of the promoted sides. They have every chance of atoning for last week’s disappointment as Dijon looked rather toothless in their 1-0 defeat to Nantes. I reckon we’ll see a return to form for Lille this coming Saturday. Back them to clear a -1 Handicap at 19/10.

17/20 Lorient | 47/20 | Bastia 7/2 (20:00)

This game promises to be a clash of styles with Lorient and their attacking flair coming up against a rigid and defensively sound Bastia outfit. The hosts for Saturday’s encounter come into this one off the back of a 3-2 defeat to Caen while the visitors put in a resolute defensive display during their opener against PSG last Friday. The last 10 matches between the sides have seen an average of 2.4 goals scored in each fixture. Lorient have won four of the last 10 while Bastia have only managed two victories. With those stats in mind, I’ll be throwing a decent stake at Lorient on the straight win.

23/20 Stade Rennes | 43/20 | Nancy 26/10 (20:00)

Two sides who tasted defeat last weekend square off at Roahzan Park this Saturday evening. Rennes went down by a goal to nil at the hands of Nice last week while Nancy were hammered 3-0 by a rampant Lyon side. In total, the two sides have met on 25 occasions with Rennes winning 11 fixtures and Nancy winning seven. I fancy both sides to grab a goal here and with the Both Teams To Score (Yes) market available at 1/1, this looks a rather profitable bet.

5/4 Toulouse | 22/10 | Bordeaux 23/10 (20:00)

Hosts Toulouse come into this game off the back of a 0-0 draw with fallen giants of French football, Marseille. The game was a bit of damp squib with both sides looking extremely tentative. Bordeaux were involved in a polar-opposite encounter last week which saw them run out 3-2 victors over Saint-Etienne. Toulouse have won three of the last six encounters between the sides with the other three games ending in draws. I can see another draw being added to the stats this weekend.

Sunday 21 August

19/10 Guingamp | 43/20 | Marseille 15/10 (15:00)

Sunday’s first fixture sees Guingamp take on Marseille at the Stade du Roudourou. The hosts come into this game off the back of a confidence-boosting, and unexpected, 2-2 draw with Monaco while the visitors were also forced to settle for the spoils as they drew blank against Toulouse. The last five clashes between the sides have seen Marseille register three wins. It must be noted, though, that the last two fixtures have seen a draw and a Guingamp victory. It’s a bit of a risk but I fancy Guingamp to claim a victory here.

21/20 Saint Etienne | 9/4 | Montpellier 28/10 (17:00)

Saint-Etienne will be looking to atone for their 3-2 defeat to Bordeaux when they take on Montpellier at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. They will be hard tasked to achieve this, however, as Montpellier will be in buoyant mood having got a victory over Angers under their belts. Saint Etienne may have won all five of the last five clashes between the sides but I have a sneaky suspicion that's about to change. Back Montpellier on the straight win at 28/10.

2/13 PSG | 13/2 | Metz 17/1 (20:45)

The final fixture of the weekend sees PSG host newly-promoted Metz in a game that’s likely to end in a routine rout. Metz may be in a confident mood after their 3-2 victory over Lille, but PSG are a much tougher prospect. They have a clinical strike force, a midfield who will boss the game and a defence who looked in great shape during the 1-0 victory over Bastia. I can’t see anything other than a large victory for PSG here. Back the team from the French capital to Win By Three Goals Or More at 11/10.

Written by Darry Worthington