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French Ligue 1 Preview

Paris Saint-Germain will look to continue their Ligue 1 dominance against Strasbourg this weekend.
Paris Saint-Germain will look to continue their Ligue 1 dominance against Strasbourg this weekend.
Just as you think Ligue 1 is getting boring and predictable, we get a matchweek which sees both Marseille and Lyon draw and lose respectively against much lesser opposition to keep things interesting. Looking ahead, the headline clash of this coming weekend will see Marseille play host to Bordeaux while it’ll also be worth keeping an eye on Nantes’ trip to Nice.

Friday 16 February

Monaco 7/20
Draw 17/4
Dijon 6/1

Monaco are in excellent form heading into this match having not tasted defeat in 10 league matches. They were imperious last week as they brushed aside Angers in a 4-0 thumping. While they are still a whopping 12 points behind PSG on the table, Leonardo Jardim won’t have given up hope just yet of retaining their Ligue 1 title – especially without European football to contend with. Dijon are on a good little run at the moment having claimed back to back wins against Stade Rennais and Nice over the last two weeks. Things will get trickier this week, however, as they make the trip to the Principality to face the free-scoring champions. Monaco should be too good at home. Take them to win here at 7/20 – one for all weekend multiples.

Saturday 17 February

PSG 1/4
Draw 10/1
Strasbourg 25/1

Don’t be fooled by the modest 1-0 scoreline against Toulouse last weekend – PSG were completely and utterly dominant and should have won more comfortably as they rattled the woodwork on several occasions. They’ll look to put that right this weekend by laying down a marker against an inconsistent Strasbourg. And how inconsistent they are! Strasbourg have enjoyed very good purple patches this season only to go through awful runs which see them slide back down the table. As it stands, they’ve only managed to pick up six points out of a possible 21 of late. They did beat Troyes last time out but should prove no real threat to the Parisians. Home side to Win to Nil at 6/10 is the way to go here.

Amiens 16/10
Draw 2/1
Toulouse 19/10

Amiens have suffered three defeats on the spin as their plummet down the table continues. They went down 3-2 last week away at Bordeaux in a scoreline that flattered them a bit. They were 3-0 down in the 78th-minute before two late goals restored some respectability to the scoreline. Toulouse – despite probably deserving to lose by more than one goal against PSG – will take heart from last weekend’s performance. They also still have prior form which saw them beat Troyes and Nice to draw upon when this weekend – write them off here at your own peril. The away side is tipped on the Double Chance at 9/20.

Caen 16/10
Draw 22/10
Stade Rennais 7/4

We’re off to Caen next for a mid-table clash which sees them welcome Stade Rennais to Stade Michel d'Ornano. The hosts are undefeated in two, beating Nantes before holding Guingamp to a 0-0 draw last weekend. This weekend’s encounter will prove significantly more difficult, however, with Stade Rennais very much a team on the up. Stade Rennais are very much a side who could be mixing it up with the bigger boys in the division, however, defeats against some of the lesser clubs in the division have been hampering their progress. All of that aside, they achieved the result of the week last time out by beating Lyon 2-0 away from home. Sure they rode their luck with a stonewall penalty being turned down with the score at 1-0, but this was a result that they richly deserved. Back Stade Rennais to bag the points here as they build on last weekend’s result.

Montpellier 8/10
Draw 24/10
Guingamp 38/10

I honestly thought that Montpellier might win more comfortably against Metz last weekend, but it wasn’t to be. Still, three points is three points. They’ll be pretty confident heading into this weekend’s tie against Guingamp after winning three of their last four matches – perhaps a late push for a Europa League spot isn’t out of the question either, especially considering Lyon’s current form. Guingamp were held to a 0-0 draw at home against Caen at the weekend, a result that saw them hang on to 10th spot in the standings. They’ll need to improve this weekend, however, if they are to take points off of a very good Montpellier side. Big value on Montpellier to get the job done here at 8/10.

Angers 29/20
Draw 43/20
St. Etienne 2/1

Angers can thank their lucky stars that the teams around them are dropping points too or they could be well adrift. Any hopes they have of claiming the points this weekend will be slim too as St. Etienne – who haven’t lost in their last three – come calling. Wins against Caen and Amiens were followed up with a superb 2-2 draw against an immensely talented Marseille side. I love the fact that you can get 2/1 on St. Etienne to win here – this is easily one of the best bets of the weekend, in my opinion.

Troyes 12/10
Draw 9/4
Metz 24/10

We’re off to the bottom of the table next as 19th-placed Troyes host rock-bottom Metz in a match that could go a long way in deciding the relegation scrap. Troyes did win their last home game against Lille, however, they were subsequently beaten away by both Toulouse and Strasbourg. Perhaps a return to familiar surroundings will do them some good. Metz had their mini-revival halted in its tracks by Marseille and Montpellier over the last two weeks. You do worry for them here. Will they be able to bounce back against Troyes this weekend? One feels that a defeat will all but seal their relegation to Ligue 2. A cagey affair is expected here. Take the Totals Under 2.5 Goals market at 13/20.

Sunday 18 February

Nice 12/10
Draw 43/20
Nantes 5/2

Nice are another side who have seen their revival come to a screeching halt. Three consecutive defeats against Metz, Toulouse and Dijon have seen last season’s Europa League qualifiers drop down to ninth in the table. They’ll no doubt find it tough going this weekend when and impressive Nantes side arrive at the Allianz Riviera. Nantes are barely holding on to fifth place following the recent surge up the table of Montpellier. Claudio Ranieri will demand nothing less than a victory this weekend against an under-performing Nice side. That’s exactly what I expect to happen – take Nantes at a very valuable 5/2.

Lille 32/10
Draw 26/10
Lyon 17/20

This fixture is made all the more interesting by Lyon’s recent dip in form. Mind you, Lille haven’t been particularly good of late, however, two wins and a draw in their last six has seen them climb out of the relegation zone. Having said that, they’re well within reach of three of the four teams below them. Lyon’s extraordinary poor run continued last weekend as they were humbled 2-0 at home by Stade Rennais. That result has seen them fall four points shy of the Champions League places as Marseille and Monaco begin to open up a gap. This bizarre run has to come to an end at some point. Take Lyon on the straight win here at 17/20, they surely can’t lost against Lille too?

Marseille 13/20
Draw 3/1
Bordeaux 39/10

We round things off with a tasty looking Southern Derby with Marseille and Bordeaux set to do battle at the Stade Velodrome. Marseille have been superb of late and haven’t tasted defeat in seven outings. They were, however, held to a 2-2 draw against St. Etienne last week but will confident of bouncing back on home turf this weekend. Bordeaux are on fire at the moment taking 12 points from a possible 15 over the last few weeks. This included a narrow win over both Nantes and a 3-1 hammering of Lyon on 28 January. Whether or not they’ll be able to continue this superb run against another quality side remains to be seen, although you wouldn’t write them off. Neither of these two teams have struggled to find the back of the net lately, as such take Both Teams To Score here at 13/20.

TREBLE @ 15/2
PSG Win To Nil 6/10
St. Etienne Win 2/1
Montpellier Win 8/10

Written by Jason Dewey