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French Ligue 1 Preview

Lyon closed the gap at the top of the pile with a last-gasp win over Paris Saint-Germain
Lyon closed the gap at the top of the pile with a last-gasp win over Paris Saint-Germain
The big news following last week’s round of action was Lyon’s magnificent last-gasp win against PSG – a result that effectively closes the gap at the top of the table to eight points. Looking ahead to this week, the Parisians will look to bounce back at home against Montpellier while Sunday’s two headline matches see Lyon travel to Bordeaux while Marseille host Monaco. Let’s take a look at the week’s fixtures:

Friday 26 January

31/20 Dijon | Draw 9/4 | Stade Rennais 7/4 (21:45)

Dijon have been on a terrible run of late losing four of their last five matches in the league as their slide down the table continues. Last week’s defeat away at Strasbourg would have been particularly disheartening for Olivier Dall’Oglio after his side fought back from 2-0 down only to concede in the last 10 minutes of the match to eventually lose 3-2. Stade Rennais, on the other hand, seem to have found their feet again after a mid-season wobble. Back-to-back wins against Lille and Angers have seen the men from Brittany climb up to eighth in the standings. Big value on the away win here – get on at 7/4.

Saturday 27 January

2/13 PSG | 13/2 | Montpellier 15/1 (18:00)

Short and sweet: Still smarting from last week’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of Lyon, PSG should come out firing against Montpellier. Get on the hosts to clear the (-1) Handicap at 4/10.

8/10 Angers | 47/20 | Amiens 15/4 (21:00)

Stephane Moulin would have been spitting fire at his players after they conceded an 84th-minute penalty against Stade Rennais last week as they crashed to their first defeat in three league matches. They’ll have the perfect opportunity to bounce back this weekend against an Angers outfit who are flirting dangerously with the drop zone. Amiens got a massive result last weekend as they beat Guingamp 3-1 at Stade de la Licorne. That result came after a credible 1-1 draw with Montpellier following three consecutive 1-0 losses. They’ve battled away from home this season, however, and could drop points here. The teams here are tipped to cancel one another out in a low scoring draw.

23/20 St. Etienne | 43/20 | Caen 26/10 (21:00)

I still can’t believe how poor St. Etienne have been over the last few months. They’ve only managed a single win in 13 league outings as relegation looks a real possibility for the central giants. A big performance, and indeed result, is needed against Caen at the weekend. Caen are another side who have battled for form of late, only winning once in their last nine league fixtures. These sort of matches are a nightmare to call and should be avoided at all costs. If I was forced to have a punt on this match I’d back Caen – small stake on.

9/10 Toulouse | 9/4 | Troyes 33/10 (21:00)

Toulouse are now in deep trouble following their 2-1 defeat away at Montpellier last week which has left them two points adrift of safety. Fortunately for Mickael Debeve and his men, they’re back at the Stadium Municipal this weekend where they’ve lost just once in their last five matches with three wins. Troyes arrested a dreadful run of form which saw them lose three on the spin last week as they beat Lille 1-0 at Stade de l'Aube. That victory would no doubt have given them confidence heading into this weekend’s fixture against one of the division’s strugglers. Back the away side on the Win/Draw here at a valuable 8/10.

27/20 Guingamp | 2/1 | Nantes 9/4 (21:00)

Guingamp’s superb six match unbeaten run is all but a distant memory now after back-to-back defeats at the hands of Lyon and Amiens. They’ll face another stern test this weekend as Nantes come calling. Nantes haven’t had it all their own way in the last few weeks. Two defeats and a draw in their last three league matches has just thrown a spanner in the works for the time being. Claudio Ranieri and his boys will be confident of grabbing a result here. Nantes are too good a team to be dropping points against Guingamp – as such, the away win is tipped here.

43/20 Metz | 23/10 | Nice 5/4 (21:00)

Metz have turned their season around brilliantly in recent weeks with three wins, a draw and a loss in their last five fixtures. It should also be worth mentioning that they failed to win any of their opening 17 matches. Nice are another side who have turned it around. They looked as though they’d be dragged into a relegation scrap at the start of the season only to go on a run that has now got them pushing for an unlikely Europa League place. The away side have far too much quality, even more than a spirited and in-form Metz side.

Sunday 28 January

11/10 Lille | 9/4 | Strasbourg 26/10 (16:00)

Lille’s mini-resurrection has come to an abrupt halt following back-to-back defeats against Stade Rennais and Troyes. They sit in the play-off/relegation place at the moment and will be desperate to climb up the standings in the second half of the season. You never really know what you’re going to get with Strasbourg. They’re absolutely brilliant one week and woefully bad the next. They have been pretty bad on the road this season though with just two wins from 11 matches. Take the home win here – small stake on and not one to add to the multiples this.

23/10 Bordeaux | 24/10 | Lyon 23/20 (18:00)

Nice and simple here: Bordeaux – despite their 1-0 win over Nantes last week – have been rubbish over the last few months. Lyon, on the other hand, are flying. Back the away side to win here at 23/20.

19/20 Marseille | 26/10 | Monaco 26/10 (22:00)

The match of the weekend sees Marseille welcome Monaco to the Stade Velodrome. Marseille have been irresistible of late, winning all four of their last league fixtures, having conceded just one goal in the process. Further to this, they’ve only lost once at home this season, winning seven and drawing two. They’ll be very difficult to beat on Sunday. Monaco bounced back from two disappointing draws with a fine 3-1 win over Metz at the weekend. Looking ahead, one feels that they’ll struggle in the South of France in front of what will be partisan support for the hosts. Get on the home win here – Marseille should be far too strong here.

TREBLE @ 4/1
PSG (-1) Handicap 4/10
Troyes Win/Draw 8/10
Lille Win 11/10

Written by Jason Dewey