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French Ligue 1 Preview

The French Ligue 1 throws up some interesting matches this weekend with enticing odds on offer.
The French Ligue 1 throws up some interesting matches this weekend with enticing odds on offer.
PSG and Lyon underlined their title credentials this past weekend with comfortable victories over Metz and Caen respectively. Elsewhere, there were big wins for Toulouse and Bastia while Saint-Etienne beat Montpellier 3-1 at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. This coming weekend’s fixture list throws up some enticing matches including a clash between Monaco and PSG.

Friday 26 August

15/20 Marseille | Draw 26/10 | Lorient 38/10 (20:45)

We kick gameweek three off with a tie between under-performing Marseille and a defensively naive Lorient outfit. Neither side is yet to register a win this term with Marseille drawing 0-0 with Toulouse in the opening week and then going down 2-1 at Guingamp in week two while Lorient lost their opening fixture 3-2 to Caen and their second game 3-0 to Bastia. Five of the last six fixtures between the two sides have seen both teams score. With both sides struggling at the back, I reckon the trend is set to continue. Back the Both Teams To Score (Yes) market at 17/20.

Saturday 27 August

7/2 Dijon FCO | 51/20 | Lyon 8/10 (17:00)

Title contenders, Lyon travel to the Stade Gaston Gerard to take on new boys Dijon in Saturday’s opener. The hosts for this encounter have opened their Ligue 1 campaign with two consecutive 1-0 defeats while the away side has been in fine fettle registering two comfortable victories in the opening two rounds. The key man for Lyon, thus far, has been French International Alexandre Lacazette. The 5 foot 9-inch striker has been in sensational form scoring a hat-trick in gameweek one. He followed that up with a brace last Friday and I really wouldn’t be surprised if he grabs a few more goals this weekend. The safe bet for this one is to back Lyon on a straight win at 8/10, while for those in search of more value, I recommend backing Lyon to clear the -1 Handicap at 2/1.

11/10 Caen | 9/4 | Bastia 26/10 (20:00)

Two teams who have enjoyed a mixed bag of results, thus far, square off in Saturday’s second fixture. Caen got their 2016/17 campaign off to a great start defeating Lorient in a high-scoring thriller. They then took on an in-form Lyon side in gameweek two and, as expected, ended up on the wrong side of a 2-0 scoreline. Unlike their opponents for Saturday, Bastia got their campaign off to a losing start going down to title favourites PSG 1-0. They did, however, bounce back this past weekend defeating Lorient 3-0 away from home. I’ve been extremely impressed by Bastia thus far and I reckon they’ll impress again this weekend. For the brave punter out there, I recommend backing Bastia on the straight win at 26/10 while for those who favour the conservative approach, my tip for you is to back the Win/Draw Double Chance at 7/10.

15/10 Metz | 39/20 | Angers 21/10 (20:00)

New boys Metz welcome Angers to the Stade Saint-Symphorien in gameweek three. The hosts for Saturday’s clash managed the upset of opening round defeating much fancied Lille 3-2. They were brought down to earth this past weekend, however, with defending champions PSG putting three goals past them in an extremely one-sided affair. Angers went down by a 1-0 scoreline in both gameweek one and two with the first defeat coming at the hands of Montpellier and the second by Nice. They will be desperate to kick-start their campaign this weekend but if they are to do so they are going to need their forwards to start finding the back of the net. This one has low scoring affair written all over it. I recommend backing the Totals Under 2.5 at 9/20.

12/10 Montpellier | 43/20 | Rennes 49/20 (20:00)

Montpellier will be looking to atone for letting a one-goal lead slip against Saint Ettiene this past weekend when they take on Stade Rennes this Saturday. La Paillade had taken a 1-0 lead into the half-time break but lax defending saw that lead overturned within the opening six minutes of the second stanza. Things were to get worse for Montpellier as Slovenian forward Robert Beric put the dagger further into Montpellier fans' hearts with an 86th-minute goal to hand Saint-Ettiene a 3-1 victory. Stade Rennes bounced back from their opening day defeat at the hands of Nice with a 2-0 victory over promoted Nancy. Former France international Yoann Gourcuff opened the scoring for Rennes with a rasping drive in the 23rd-minute while Giovanni Sio doubled Rennes' advantage 10 minutes from full-time. I fancy Rennes here. They clicked quite nicely last weekend and Yoann Gourcuff seems to be finding some of that form that made him such a coveted player half a decade ago. Get on Rennes at 49/20.

29/20 Nice | 21/10 | Lille 2/1 (20:00)

Nice have enjoyed an ideal start to their 2016/17 campaign registering two 1-0 victories on the trot. Les Aiglons defeated Rennes in game week one and followed that up with a hard-fought away victory over Angers. Lille somewhat atoned for their unexpected opening day defeat at the hands of newly-promoted Metz with a 1-0 victory over promoted Dijon this past Saturday. Les Dogues looked far from fluid, however, and only broke the deadlock late on in the game with midfielder Younousse Sankhare taking advantage of a poor touch from Dijon’s Eder in his own 18-yard area. Lille have looked far from convincing in the opening two weeks and I reckon they’ll struggle again. Back Nice to make it three wins in a row at 29/20.

29/20 Nancy | 21/10 | Guingamp 2/1 (20:00)
New boys Nancy have enjoyed a decent start to life in the top tier of French football winning their opening fixture and giving a decent account of themselves against Rennes this past weekend. While Rennes did manage to claim a two-goal victory over Pablo Correa’s men, things could have been a lot tighter had it not been for Antony Robic’s poorly executed second half penalty attempt. Guingamp have also enjoyed a fantastic start to their 2016/17 campaign registering two impressive results in the opening two weeks. Last year’s 16th place finishers opened their season with a 2-2 draw against Monaco and followed that up with a 2-1 victory over Marseille. Those two results will have given them huge confidence heading into this weekend’s clash with Nancy. I fancy Guingamp to get the win here, they’re in great form and the odds are extremely kind at 2/1.

Sunday 28 August

21/20 Bordeaux | 9/4 | Nantes 26/10 (15:00)

Bordeaux seem to be a side that live for a high scoring game. The opening week saw them beat Saint Ettiene 3-2 in an extremely open fixture, while the second week saw them go down to Toulouse 4-1. Nantes, on the other hand, have been involved in two games that have ended in a 1-0 scoreline. They defeated Dijon in gameweek one while they went down to Monaco this past Saturday. Despite Nantes’ solid defensive showings, I really think this game will have goals in it. Back the Totals Market Over 2.5 Goals at 12/10.

11/10 Saint-Ettiene | 9/4 | Toulouse 26/10 (17:00)

Our second Sunday fixture sees two sides who were involved in high-scoring games last weekend, square off at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. Both Saint-Ettiene and Toulouse claimed their first victories of the season last week with the former seeing off Montpellier 3-2 and the latter hammering Bordeaux 4-1. Contests between these two sides tend to be feisty affairs with a red card having been dished out in the previous two encounters. Toulouse have won two out of the last five games between the two sides with the remaining three fixtures all ending in draws. I fancy the draw trend to continue here, and at 9/4, it’s well worth a decent strike.

38/10 Monaco | 26/10 | PSG 7/10 (20:45)

Gameweek three’s blockbuster clash sees two titans of French football square off in the Principality of Monaco. Both teams are loaded with a plethora of talent so this should be a fantastic match. Monaco bounced back from their surprise opening round draw to Guingamp with a 1-0 away victory over Nantes. While Les Rougues et Blancs looked rather laboured against Nantes, there were a few positive signs,  it must be remembered that coach Leonardo Jardim had made a host of changes to the side due to their midweek Champions League qualifying commitments. PSG were far more impressive during gameweek two than they were during the opening week where they struggled to a 1-0 victory over Bastia. Strikes from Lucas Moura, Layvin Kurzawa and Marco Verratti saw PSG to a comfortable victory over Metz. I fancy PSG to win this one. Get on them at 7/10!

Written by Darry Worthington