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French Ligue 1 Preview

The French Ligue 1 returns this weekend with loads of enticing odds on offer.
The French Ligue 1 returns this weekend with loads of enticing odds on offer. 
So the internationals are out of the way and it’s now time to get back into the real stuff. Yes, folks, the French Ligue 1 is back! And we start things off with a clash between the defending champions and 10th-placed Saint Etienne. While the pick of this weekend’s action sees a Nice team that’s likely to be spearheaded by ‘bad boy’ Mario Balotelli lock horns with Marseille. Anyway, enough with the pleasantries, let’s get stuck into the action!

Friday 9 September

1/4 PSG | Draw 9/2 | St. Ettiene 19/2 (20:45)

The defending champions will still be smarting after their 3-1 loss to Monaco, last time out. The result has seen the Parisians drop to fifth place on the log, a point off pace-setters Guingamp, Monaco and Nice. Manager Unai Emery opted to release a number of squad players during the final week of the recently concluded summer transfer window with David Luiz (Chelsea) and Benjamin Stambouli (Schalke) leaving on permanent deals and Roli Pereira De Sa, Salvatore Sirigu, and Jean-Christophe Bahebeck going out on season long loans. While PSG have opened their season up with two wins and a loss, St. Ettiene have managed one loss, one win, and one draw. Their sole victory came against Montpellier in week two where they ran out 3-1 victors. PSG have won the last four encounters between the sides and three of these by more than a goal. With these stats in mind, I quite fancy PSG on the (-1) Handicap. But with that market only available at 7/10, the smart option here is to back them on the straight win at 1/4.

Saturday 10 September

7/10 Lyon | 28/10 | Bordeaux 15/4 (17:00)

We kick Saturday’s action off with a clash between fourth-placed Lyon and eighth-placed Bordeaux. The hosts managed to keep hold of talismanic striker, Alexandre Lacazette, who was the subject of numerous transfer bids from some of Europe’s elite clubs. The Lyon-native has been in red-hot form during the opening weeks of the Ligue 1 season. He currently tops the league’s goalscoring charts having banged in six goals in the three games. Bordeaux have enjoyed a solid start to their 2016/17 campaign winning two of their three fixtures. Their most recent win came against Nantes in week three where they ran out 1-0 victors. This should be a rather hard-fought affair but I fancy Lacazette to fire Lyon to a win. They will be determined to put their shock week 3 loss to Dijon behind them with a solid showing against Bordeaux. Get on the Lyon straight win at 7/10!

12/10 Angers | 2/1 | Dijon 26/10 (20:00)

New boys, Dijon, will be looking to claim their second victory of the season when they take on Angers at the Stade Jean-Bouin this Saturday. The newcomers have got their life in the big time off to a decent, if not spectacular, start and currently sit three places above the relegation positions. They will be full of confidence heading into this one, having beaten Lyon 4-2 in week 3. Unlike Dijon, Angers are yet to win a game this season and currently occupy 18th spot on the log. While it’s still early doors, the last thing that Angers will want is to get drawn into a relegation ‘dogfight’. They’ll be desperate to get a result this Saturday which may mean we see a rather tight and tense game with not many goal scoring opportunities on offer. Back the Totals - Under 2.5 Goals market at 5/10.

17/10 Bastia | 2/1 | Toulouse 18/10 (20:00)

Undefeated Toulouse travel to the Stade Armand Cesari to take on a Bastia side who will be desperate to return to winning ways after going down to 2-0 to Caen in week 3. Bastia could well end Toulouse’s unbeaten start to the season if the recent head to head results are anything to go by. The Corsica Island club haven’t lost to Toulouse since 2004, winning four of the last six clashes between the sides. I reckon a Bastia win is on the cards. Get on them at 17/10.

14/10 Lorient | 21/10 | Nancy 21/10 (20:00)

The two teams that occupy the final two spots on the Ligue 1 table square off at the Stade du Moustoir this Saturday. Neither side has managed a win this term with Lorient going down to Caen (3-2), Bastia (3-0), Marseille (2-0) and Nancy losing to Lyon (3-0), Rennes (2-0) and Guingamp (2-0). The hosts for Saturday’s encounter are favourites with the bookies currently and offer great value at 14/10 despite their poor start to the season. They have a competent squad that just needs to find some rhythm. I fully expect them to get into the groove this weekend with a win over relegation favourites Nancy. Get on the Lorient win as soon as possible as this price is likely to drop off as the week progresses.

16/10 Guingamp | 2/1 | Montpellier 39/20 (20:00)

Guingamp have enjoyed a stellar and somewhat surprising unbeaten start to the season. Antonio Kombouare’s charges have seen off some big names in the opening three weeks of the campaign including Marseille. They also managed a 2-2 draw with Monaco in week 2 showing that they can mix it up with teams competing for those lucrative European places. Montpellier have endured a much more subdued start to their campaign, with one win, one draw and one loss to their names. They’ve been in relatively good touch upfront scoring in all of their fixtures but their defensive frailties were evident in their 3-1 week 2 loss to St. Etienne. They will need to ensure they keep things tight at the back this Saturday as Guingamp have scored two goals in each of their opening three fixtures. I fancy the Both Teams To Score Market – Yes at 21/20.

27/20 Lille | 2/1 | Monaco 23/10 (20:00)

We close out Saturday’s action with what should be an entertaining affair between Lille and Monaco. The visitors come into this one off the back of a highly impressive 3-1 victory and will be eager to continue their positive run of form while the hosts will be looking to up the ante after making a rather sluggish start to the season. Lille failed to capitalise on exceedingly kind fixtures that saw them take on new boys Metz and Dijon in the opening two weeks. While they did manage a 1-0 victory over Dijon in week 2, their opening day 3-2 defeat to Metz must still be haunting them. Monaco are one of those sides you never really want to lay a huge stake on as they can go from playing sublime football one week to producing utter rubbish the next. With that in mind, the safe option here is to back the Totals – Under 2.5 Goals at 9/20.

Sunday 11 September

7/10 Nantes | 49/20 | Metz 47/10 (15:00)

Nantes and Metz will get Sunday’s action underway at the La Beaujoire-Louis Fonteneau Stadium. The visitors have enjoyed a magnificent start to life in the top tier of French football and currently occupy seventh spot on the log having won two of their opening three fixtures. Nantes have endured a much less positive start to the season only winning one of the three games they’ve played thus far. They currently sit in 17th position on the league table – three points off the foot of the log. I quite fancy Metz here. They look a well-rounded, if somewhat limited, side and have that rugged determination that you need to survive in this league. While it is a bit of risk, I simply cannot ignore the huge price on a Metz win. Get on the new boys at 47/10.

19/20 Rennes | 47/20 | Caen 29/10 (17:00)

Stade Rennes welcome a Caen side who are coming off the back of an impressive 2-0 victory over Bastia to Roazhon Park this Sunday. The hosts currently sit twelfth on the league table having won one, drawn one, and lost one. Their opponents have enjoyed a much more fruitful opening three weeks winning twice and suffering one defeat. After a quick trove through the head to statistics, I can safely say that they offer no real indication as to who will win this one as the last six head to head results read like this:  Rennes two wins, Caen two wins, and two draws. There have been a load of goals in these clashes, however, with the last game ending 4-1. With the above in mind, I recommend getting on the Over 2.5 Goals Market at 11/10.

16/10 Nice | 21/10 | Marseille 37/20 (20:45)

The final fixture of the round pits third-placed Nice against struggling Marseille. Nice have enjoyed a great start to the campaign, winning two and drawing one of their opening three fixtures. Their two victories were by a score line of 1-0 which does point towards this weekend’s encounter being on the low-scoring side. Marseille finally got a win under their belts last time out, seeing off Lorient 2-0. The result will have relieved some of the pressure on manager Luc Laboz, who had seen his side only pick up a solitary point from their opening two games. I think Marseille have turned a corner. And while I wouldn’t be as bold as to back them on the straight win, I’m more than happy to thrown a bit of money on the Double Chance – Marseille + Draw at 9/20.

Written by Darry Worthington