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French Ligue 1 Preview

It's looking like a 3-horse race for the Ligue 1 title with Monaco, PSG and Nice all battling it out.
It's looking like a 3-horse race for the Ligue 1 title with Monaco, PSG and Nice all battling it out.
The Ligue 1 season is running according to the plot of a best-selling thriller with twists and turns occurring when least expected. Last week epitomised this with title-chasing Nice being held to a 2-2 draw by Caen. The result has opened up a five-point gap between league leaders Monaco and third-placed Nice, with PSG sandwiched between the duo in second place. So are we in for a few more plot twists or will the final chapter of the season play out as we expect?

Friday 17 March

21/20 Metz | Draw 22/10 | Bastia 26/10 (20:00)

We kick proceedings off with a tie between Metz and Bastia. The hosts put in a spirited performance away to St. Etienne last week drawing 2-2, while the visitors make the trip to the Stade Saint-Symphorien off the back of a 5-0 loss to Guingamp. The hosts have been priced up at 21/20, which seems about right when you take into consideration how poor Bastia were last weekend. I’m going to go the way of the bookies for this one and tip Metz to register another home win.

16/10 Lille | 22/10 | Marseille 17/10 (21:45)

After last week’s victory over Nancy, Lille only need a few more points to assure their place in the top tier of French football. The hosts were by no means at their best in gameweek 29 but they will happily take the 2-1 away victory. Marseille's gameweek 29 victory was a lot more assured as they sauntered to a 3-0 home win over Angers. The last five games between these two sides have seen Marseille win all but one encounter, with Lille’s best result coming in the form of last year’s 1-1 draw at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy. I think we may be in for another draw here – both sides will be happy with a point and as such, they’ll both probably look to keep it tight at the back rather than opening the game up.

Saturday 18 March

31/20 Nantes | 2/1 | Nice 37/20 (18:00)

Onto Saturday’s action now and our first fixture of the day sees Nantes host Nice. Nantes come into this one off the back of a major coup as they managed to beat Montpellier 3-2 in gameweek 29’s most entertaining fixture. Nice were also involved in a high-scoring thriller – drawing 2-2 with Caen. The result has severely hampered their assault on the title as they’ve fallen five points behind the league-leaders. Nice have generally bounced back from defeats this season, and I can see them repeating the trick this Saturday. Get on a Nice win at a kind price of 37/20!

11/10 Nancy | 23/10 | Lorient 49/20 (21:00)

Nancy will be looking to bounce back from their defeat to Lille when they take on Lorient this Saturday. Both sides are fighting for their survival in the league and will be desperate to pick up three points here. The hosts have been priced up as huge favourites here. Don’t let the prices fool you though, as this game is likely to be a hard-fought affair. I’m actually leaning towards Lorient here. They have to start picking up points ASAP, otherwise, they will be plying their trade in Ligue 2 next season. Desperation is probably the greatest motivator and I can see it spurring Lorient on to a win.

21/20 Toulouse | 22/10 | Rennes 26/10 (21:00)

Toulouse and Rennes are next up to do battle. The hosts were absolutely mauled by Lyon last week, going down 4-0 at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais. Rennes also come into this one off the back of a disappointing result as they were held to a 1-1 draw by an unfancied Dijon side. Rennes have won three of the last four encounters between the two sides, with their latest victory seeing them beat Toulouse 1-0. I feel the visitors will extend that record here, and at 26/10, they’re certainly worth a punt.

21/20 Bordeaux | 24/10 | Montpellier 5/2 (21:00)

Sixth-placed Bordeaux take on 13th-placed Montpellier in Saturday’s penultimate game. Both sides come into this one off the back of defeats with Bordeaux going down 2-1 to Monaco and Montpellier going down 3-2 to Nantes. Bordeaux look decent value for the win here. They have won five of their last eight meetings with Montpellier, while only tasting defeat once. The hosts at 21/20 looks a solid banker.

13/10 Angers | 21/10 | Guingamp 22/10 (21:00)

We round out Saturday’s action with a clash between Angers and Guingamp. The visitors were in sparkling form last week, banging in five goals against Bastia, while also keeping a clean sheet. Angers, on the other hand, were soundly beaten by Marseille. Despite Angers' lacklustre display against Marseille, I still feel they’ll put up a fight here, which means the straight win market is out of the question for me. Instead, I’m going to back the Both Teams to Score – Yes – market at 19/20.

Sunday 19 March

38/10 Caen | 29/10 | Monaco 13/20 (16:00)

This is one of those games that does not necessitate a long-winded write-up. While Caen’s draw with Nice last week was commendable, I can’t see them repeating the trick against the league leaders. Monaco do have a date with Man City midweek but they should still have enough in the tank to see off Caen. Get on the away win at 13/20.

18/10 Dijon | 2/1 | St Etienne 16/10 (18:00)

Dijon will be looking to put some distance between themselves and the relegation dogfight when they take on St Etienne. The visitors are still in with a shout of European qualification but will need to claim maximum points from the majority of their remaining games. This is another game that could go either way with both sides desperate to claim the full points haul. As such, I’m going to once again neglect the straight win market, and instead, opt for the Over 2.5 Goals market at 12/10.

9/20 PSG | 7/2 | Lyon 52/10 (22:00)

We close out gameweek 30 with the pick of the round’s action which sees PSG take on Lyon. The hosts bounced back from their disheartening Champions League exit with a 2-1 win over Lorient. While they managed to bag the points, there was evidence of a Champions League hangover with the Parisians looking rather off colour. While PSG were forced to work for their gameweek 29 victory, Lyon had a much easier day at the office beating Toulouse 4-0. PSG could still be feeling the effects of their now notorious defeat to Barca. If they fail to put that behind them, then they may well end up losing another vital contest. I’m nowhere near bold enough to predict a straight Lyon win, but I will have a go on them bagging at least a goal. The Both Teams to Score – Yes – market is my selection here at 11/20.

TREBLE @ 10/1
Metz Win 21/20
Nice Win 37/20
Angers vs Guingamp BTTS 19/20

Written by Darry Worthington