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French Ligue 1 Preview

It's a three-horse race for the title in Ligue 1 with Monaco, PSG and Nice all battling it out.
It's a three-horse race for the title in Ligue 1 with Monaco, PSG and Nice all battling it out.
We are nine weeks away from the fate of the L'Hexagoal being decided. And with only three points separating the top three, we are in for a riveting nine weeks of football. The top three all have fairly easy assignments this week with Nice hosting Caen, Monaco welcoming Bordeaux to the Stade Louis II and PSG travelling to Lorient.

Friday 10 March

13/20 Nice | Draw 26/10 | Caen 4/1 (20:00)

Nice will be looking to put a bit of early pressure on their title-chasing counterparts when they take on Caen this Friday evening. The hosts, unlike their fellow title chasers, have no midweek European football to contend with so they will be well rested when Friday rolls around. Caen have lost three of their last four matches and come into this one fresh off the back of a 3-2 home defeat to Angers. Nice, on the other hand, have been in great touch, winning their last three games on the trot. Back the host for the win with confidence!

13/20 Marseille | 26/10| Angers 17/4 (21:45)

Our second and final Friday night week 29 fixture pits Marseille against Angers. Les Phoceens bounced back from their 5-1 defeat to PSG by seeing off Lorient 4-1. The result could prove to be just the tonic for Rudi Garcia’s men, as they try to launch a late push for 2017/18 European qualification. For the second consecutive week, Angers managed to bang in three goals, as they emerged 3-2 victors over Caen. The result also saw them extend their unbeaten run to four games. With two of the aforementioned wins coming away from home, Angers could be in with a sniff of causing an upset here. I’m going to avoid the straight win market and instead tip the Totals – Over 2.5 Goals market at 19/20.

Saturday 11 March

5/10 Monaco | 33/10 | Bordeaux 5/1 (17:45)

We kick Saturday’s action off with a tie between League leaders Monaco and fifth-placed Bordeaux. The hosts may feel a bit fatigued come Saturday as they have a daunting 2nd leg Round of 16 tie against Manchester City this Wednesday. Bordeaux are likely to provide some stiff opposition this weekend. They have only lost one of their last nine Ligue 1 games and their ability to catch teams on the counter is likely to cause Monaco some problems. I think Monaco will win this one but it will be by no means an easy victory. My bet for this one is the Matchbet & Both Teams to Score – Monaco & Yes – which is currently available at 27/20.

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

13th-placed Montpellier take on 12th-placed Nantes in Saturday’s second fixture. Both teams will know a win here would all but secure their place in the French top tier next season. This could prove to be a rather cagey affair which could play into the hands of the hosts. Montpellier have shown great ability on the counter this term while their opponents have struggled for to find the back of the net – they average less than a goal per game! My money is on the hosts claiming the victory here courtesy of a swift counter-attack or two.

15/20 Guingamp | 24/10 | Bastia 15/4 (21:00)

Guingamp have been priced up as heavy favourites for their meeting with Bastia for obvious reasons. The visitors have been in wretched form of late and have not won a game since mid-December. Although, it must be noted that they have managed to hold some high-profile opposition to draws, including Nice and Monaco. Guingamp have also struggled for results of late and have only managed to win one of their last 10 games. As such, the straight win market is off the books for me. Instead, I’m going with Both Teams to Score – Yes at 11/10.

8/10 Rennes | 49/20 | Dijon 34/10 (21:00)

Stade Rennes and Dijon go head-to-head in what is a crucial game for the visitors, who currently occupy the final relegation position on the log. It’s also a rather vital game for the hosts who are looking to secure Europa League qualification. Rennes come into this one off the back of a 1-1 stalemate with Metz while the visitors make the trip having put in a strong performance in a 1-0 defeat to Nice. Dijon will be desperate for the points here but they’re likely to fall short. I do fancy the visitors to grab a goal, however, so the Both Teams to Score – Yes – market looks rather tempting at 19/20.

31/20 Nancy | 39/20 | Lille 39/20 (21:00)

We close out Saturday’s action with a relegation dogfight between Nancy and Lille. The visitors look the least likely of the two to go down as they currently occupy 15th-place on the log – one position off the drop - which is two places above their opponents. Lille have been in decent touch of late claiming four points from their last three matches. Dijon, on the other hand, have lost three on the trot and have shipped eight goals in those three games. I fancy the hosts to make home ground advantage payoff and bag a win here.

Sunday 12 March

6/10 St. Etienne | 28/10 | Metz 47/10 (16:00)

Sunday’s first fixture sees St. Etienne take on Metz. As regular readers of these previews will know, I have a rather soft spot for the visitors, who have been really plucky this term. Both teams have struggled for goals over the last fortnight and a common theme has been 1-1 draws. While I’m not bold enough to try and tip the exact scoreline, I’m more than happy to tip the draw at 28/10.

9/20 Lyon | 7/2 | Toulouse 11/2 (18:00)

We’re into the final stretch now and our penultimate game sees Lyon take on Toulouse. Les Gones are all but out of the running for a Champions League place after their 1-1 draw with Bordeaux, so the mandate for the remainder of their season will be to secure Europa League qualification. Toulouse will have a similar agenda in mind, although they are a lot less likely to secure European qualification. As such, both teams will be desperate to get the win here so we may we’ll be in for an epic spectacle. The home win, which I do fancy, is a bit short at 9/20 and the Both Teams to Score – Yes market looks tasty at 7/10 as both sides have struggled to keep clean sheets.

17/2 Lorient | 9/2 | PSG 3/10 (22:00)

Lorient and PSG will bring the curtain down on gameweek 28 in what is a quintessential ‘David versus Goliath encounter’. I’m not going to go into too much detail here as I can’t see anything but a PSG win. I will say one thing, though, PSG may not put a huge score over their opponents as they’re likely to be rather fatigued from their midweek exertions against Barcelona. As such, I would be negating the handicap and backing the straight win at 3/10.

TREBLE @ 5/1
Nice Win 13/20
Guingamp vs Bastia BTTS 11/10
Lyon vs Toulouse BTTS 7/10

Written by Darry Worthington