French Ligue 1 returns this weekend with a full set of fixtures starting on Friday running through to Sunday.
Those who thought Nice’s blistering start to the campaign and Mario Balotelli’s goal scoring exploits would soon come to an end, may need to revisit their assessments. The former Liverpool and Manchester City man netted his sixth goal in five starts and helped guide Nice to a 4-1 victory over Nantes in gameweek 11. The result has left ‘Balo’ and Co. nine points clear at the top of the League 1 standings.
My tipping form, while not as hot as Balotelli’s striking, was decent last week as I went 8 from 10. Unfortunately, though, my suggested treble didn’t come in as hoped, with Monaco being held to a 1-1 draw by St. Etienne.
Friday 4 November
16/10 Montpellier | Draw 22/10 | Marseille 7/2 (21:45)
The first match of gameweek 11 sees draw specialists Marseille travel to Montpellier. The hosts were once again involved in a high scoring affair last week as they drew 2-2 with Lorient. Marseille, in typical Marseille fashion, also drew their gameweek 11 fixture. Unlike their opponents for this weekend, though, Marseille were unable to register a goal during the 90-minutes. I reckon Montpellier’s ability to find the back of the net – they’ve scored 16 goals this season and average just under 1.5 goals per game – and Marseille’s inability to do the same – Les Olympians have only registered 11 goals this season – will be the difference here. While the last statement was extremely rudimentary, it still lends credence to my verdict: a straight Montpellier win at 16/10.
Saturday 5 November
11/20 Monaco | Draw 31/10 | Nancy 52/10 (18:00)
Our next port of call is the French Principality of Monaco, where the hosts for Saturday’s first fixture will be looking to make up for last week’s sub-par result when they take on 19th-placed Nancy. The visitors come to the Stade Louis II off the back of a morale-boosting 2-0 victory over Caen. This was only Nancy’s second victory of the season. They have, however, managed to claim four points from their last two outings, so their tails should be up heading into this one. Monaco will be on Europa League duty on Thursday evening meaning they will have a short turnaround time for Saturday’s game. While I’m not bold enough to predict a Nancy win, I will be backing the Both Teams to Score – Yes market at 19/20. Get on.
9/20 Lyon | Draw 34/10 | Bastia 6/1 (18:00)
We move on from the sun kissed shores of Monaco to the rolling hills of Lyon for our second Saturday fixture. The hosts come into this one off the back of a much-needed victory over Toulouse. The 2-1 victory will have exorcized some of the demons of the 3-1 gameweek 10 home defeat to Guingamp. While Bastia didn’t manage a win last week, they did arrest a three game losing streak by drawing 0-0 with lowly Dijon. The game itself was nothing to write home about as Bastia again struggled to carve out decent goalscoring opportunities while making a meal of the ones they did produce. Lyon, while extremely unpredictable, should have enough to see off a struggling Bastia side. While I fancy Lyon on the straight win, the price just isn’t right. I’d recommend avoiding this game and looking for a bet elsewhere.
15/10 Nantes | Draw 2/1 | Toulouse 21/10 (21:00)
The first of Saturday’s late kick off sees 15th-placed Nantes take on sixth-placed Toulouse at the Stade de la Beaujoire. The hosts come into this one off the back of a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of league leaders while the visitors also went down last week but to a much tighter scoreline of 2-1. Four of the last five fixtures played between the two sides have ended in draws, while Toulouse were shown red cards in two of these games. The recent head to head statistics steered us in the right direction last week and as such, I’m going to go with them again. Get on the draw at 2/1.
27/20 Dijon | Draw 2/1 | Guingamp 22/10 (21:00)
High-flying Guingamp will make the trip to new boys Dijon in fine spirits having added another three points to their season’s tally. The men from Brittany have been in sensational touch lately winning their last three games. Dijon also managed to add to their unbeaten streak last week as they held Bastia to a goalless draw. The result extended Dijon’s unbeaten run to four games. They will be looking to maintain this momentum and move closer towards securing another season in the French top flight. Both sides are in decent touch but I just feel Guingamp have a lot more quality than their opponents. Get on the Guimgamp win at 22/10.
33/20 Angers | Draw 39/20 | Lille 39/20 (21:00)
Two teams who are in desperate need of a results square off in Saturday’s penultimate fixture. Angers 1-0 gameweek 11 defeat to Guingamp was their fifth of the season. And while they do still sit pretty in 11th place of the Ligue 1 standings, their recent run of form, which has seen them only pick up one point from their last two games will somewhat worry coach, Stephane Moulin. Lille, while giving a decent account of themselves, also fell to defeat in gameweek 11, going down to PSG by a 1-0 scoreline. This was Les Douges seventh defeat of the season and has seen them drop to three points off the foot of the table. Both teams average less than a goal per game and I reckon the Totals – Under 2.5 Goals market is the one to back here.
15/20 Bordeaux | Draw 26/10 | Lorient 38/10 (21:00)
Saturday’s final fixture sees ninth-place Bordeaux take on cellar dwellers Lorient. The hosts had to settle for a point last weekend as they were held to a goalless draw by a defensively sound Marseille side at the Stade Velodrome. Lorient also managed to pick up a point last week, drawing 2-2 with Montpellier. I’m not going to go further into detail here as my mind is well and truly made up. I will be backing a Bordeaux win at 15/20.
Sunday 6 November
18/10 Caen | Draw 9/4 | Nice 31/20 (16:00)
Onto Sunday’s action now and we kick things off with a tie between 18th-placed Caen and table toppers Nice. The hosts come into this one off the back of a 2-0 defeat to Nancy, which was their seventh loss of the season. Nice, on the other hand, make the journey to Caen fresh off the back of a 4-1 victory over Nantes. While I understand Nice do have a Europa League fixture to contend with, I still think the bookies have got their price wrong. 31/20 for a Nice win is fantastic value and should be taken ASAP as the price is likely to shorten.
5/2 Metz | Draw 23/10 | St. Etienne 23/20 (18:00)
The penultimate game of the week sees 13th-placed Metz host seventh-placed St. Etienne. The hosts poor run of recent form continued last week as they went down 1-0 to Rennes. That loss was Metz’s fourth in succession. St. Etienne have enjoyed a much more positive month and are undefeated in three. Metz have shown quality at home this term, however, which leaves me a bit reluctant to tip a St. Etienne win. Instead, I recommend backing the Both Teams to Score – Yes market at a healthy 8/10.
1/4 PSG | Draw 5/1 | Rennes 10/1 (21:45)
Our final game of the week sees defending champions PSG host Stade Rennes. The hosts, while nowhere near their dominant best, managed to beat Lille 1-0 in last week’s opener. Rennes also managed a victory last time out, beating Metz by a 1-0 scoreline. PSG will make the short trip to Belgium midweek for a Champions League tie against Basel. And while I think the fixture pile up will handicap them in the near future, the short trip across the border shouldn’t take too much out of them. Get on a PSG win at 1/4.
PSG Win 1/4
Nice Win 31/20
Bordeaux Win 15/20