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French Ligue 1 Preview

PSG take on league leaders Monaco in what promises to be the biggest encounter of gameweek 22.
PSG take on log-leaders Monaco in what promises to be the biggest encounter of gameweek 22.
Last week saw another massive shake-up at both ends of the league table with Monaco pulling two points clear at the summit and Metz gaining three vital points to move into one of the most congested areas of the table: between 15th and 18th place. It wasn’t the best of weekends for yours truly with only three of my tips materialising. I did manage to tip a double, however, after the second leg of my treble was postponed. Hopefully, this weekend will reap bigger rewards.

Friday 27 January

15/20 Marseille | Draw 26/10 | Montpellier 36/10 (21:45)

The first fixture of the gameweek sees Marseille - who went down 3-1 to Lyon last week - take on Montpellier at the Stade Velodrome. The visitors also come into this one off the back of a two-goal defeat. There’s quite a bit riding on this game with Montpellier desperate to avoid being sucked into the bottom quarter of the table and Marseille anxious to move into the European qualification positions. As such, this one should be a rather cagey affair. I suspect the hosts will take a pragmatic approach to the encounter and look to hit on the break. This could well play into the hands of Montpellier who have been able to find the back of the net with more regularity than their opponents. It’s not one to stake the wages on, but R20 on a Montpellier win could reap a substantial dividend.

Saturday 28 January

11/20 Lyon | 32/10 | Lille 5/1 (18:00)

Saturday’s first game pits Lyon up against a Lille outfit who seem to have turned a corner. While the visitors could only garner a point from last week’s trip to Dijon, the result proved to be enough to keep them out of the traffic jam that is the bottom quarter of the log. The smart money here would be on a Lyon win. Les Gones have been solid at home this season while Lille have struggled on their travels. It may not offer huge value, but a Lyon win at 11/20 is my banker for the week.

19/20 Angers | 23/10 | Metz 32/10 (21:00)

Metz are the gift that keeps on giving. The newly promoted side continue to get the results while the bookmakers continue to affix some substantial prices to their names. The Maroons produced the goods once again last weekend seeing off Montpellier 2-0. Angers, on the other hand, have endured a torrid recent run of form and have only picked up two points from their last five games. I fancy Metz to heap more misery upon Angers here. Get on a Metz win at an extremely kind price of 32/10.

12/10 Bastia | 43/20 | Caen 49/20 (21:00)

Bastia will be looking to build on from their gutsy draw against Nice when they host Caen. The hosts currently sit in the milieu of teams on 21 points and will be desperate to pull clear of their opponents, who are level on points with them. Bastia at just over even money looks a solid bet until you do some investigative work. Caen have actually won the last two fixtures between the two sides by five goals. It must be remembered that these results came in from Ligue 2 some three years ago, however, Bastia have made some great strides since then. While those high scoring Caen victories are now just a footnote in French football history, they do somewhat worry me. As such, I’m going to negate the straight win market and instead tip the Both Teams to Score – Yes – market at even money.

31/20 Nancy | 2/1 | Bordeaux 2/1 (21:00)

Nancy have been on a relatively solid run of form and are unbeaten in their last five, while Bordeaux come to town fresh off the back of a 1-0 victory over Toulouse. Both of these sides have struggled for goals this term with Nancy averaging less than a goal a game and Bordeaux averaging just over a goal per game. The Totals - Under 2.5 Goals - market looks a smart bet for this one at 5/10.

11/10 Rennes | 43/20 | Nantes 11/4 (21:00)

Rennes will be looking for maximum points when they square off with Nantes at the Roazhon Park. The hosts haven’t won a game since the start of December while the visitors have won three out of their last four with their only defeat coming at the hands of PSG, last weekend. Nantes have been in much better form while Rennes seem to be in freefall. Another bet I wouldn’t be wagering my house on, but R20 on Nantes returns a substantial dividend.

19/20 Lorient | 5/2 | Dijon 28/10 (21:00)

We close Saturday’s action off with a clash between Lorient and Dijon. The hosts come into this one off the back of a 4-0 defeat to Monaco, while the visitors come into this one off the back of a 0-0 draw with Lille. This should be a rather intriguing fixture with both sides wanting to ease their relegation worries. Lorient have the capacity to win this one but are a bit too short of quality for my liking. Instead, I recommend the Totals - Over 2.5 Goals market which, while shorter than an outright Lorient win, is a much safer bet at 15/20.

Sunday 29 January

17/20 Nice | 5/2 | Guingamp 32/10 (16:00)

The first of Sunday’s three games sees Nice take on Guingamp at the Allianz Riviera. The hosts come into this one as heavy favourites but Guingamp have pulled off a few shocks this season. Nice were held to a 1-1 draw by Bastia last Friday, and the result has seen them drop two points off league leaders Monaco. The visitors could also only manage a draw in gameweek 21, against Rennes. Despite Guingamp’s penchant for claiming a big scalp, my money is on the hosts.

29/20 Toulouse | 2/1 | St. Etienne 43/20 (18:00)

Two teams who experienced contrasting fortunes in gameweek 21 go head to head in the penultimate French Ligue 1 clash. Toulouse went down 1-0 to Bordeaux last week while the visitors managed to beat Angers 2-1. Three of the last six games between these two have ended in draws while Toulouse have won the other three. Two of their victories came at home, and my money is on Toulouse adding another home win to that tally.

13/20 PSG | 3/1 | Monaco 38/10 (22:00)

The gameweek closes out with an absolute cracker that will see third-placed PSG take on league leaders Monaco. The hosts come into this one off the back of a 2-0 victory over Nantes, while the visitors make the trip to Paris off the back of an impressive 4-0 win over Lorient. With only three points between the sides on the log there’s an awful lot hinging on this game. A win for PSG would see them draw level with Monaco, while an away win would further the gulf between Monaco and the chasing pack. Monaco have won the last two games between the two sides while PSG won the two prior to that. I’m a bit wary of tipping the straight win with stats like that floating around. I recommend backing the Both Teams To Score – Yes – market at 13/20.

TREBLE @ 29/1
Montpellier Win 36/10
Lyon Win 11/20
Metz Win 32/10

Written by Darry Worthington