French Ligue 1: Week 18 Preview

Our Ligue 1 scribe provides an in-depth look into this weekend’s French top tier action. 

So after a much-needed break, I make my return. And what a week to do so as there looks to be a plethora of value on offer this weekend.

The action gets underway on Friday evening with Angers and Metz going toe-to-toe. We then move onto Saturday’s fixtures which kick off with a tie between Guingamp and PSG. Gameweek 18 comes to a close on Sunday with the clash of the weekend; Monaco versus Lyon.

Friday 16 December

Angers 12/10 | Draw 39/20 | Nantes 28/10
We kick things off with a clash between mid-table Angers and relegation battlers Nantes. The hosts come into this one off the back of a surprise defeat to Nancy, while the visitors make the trip to the Stade Jean-Bouin well rested as their game against Caen was postponed due to heavy fog encompassing the Brittany area for the majority of last weekend.

The recent head to head results point towards a Nantes victory with the visitors winning the last two contests between the sides. While it’s a bit of a risk, I will be backing Nantes to get the job done at a handsome 28/10.  

Saturday 17 December

Guingamp 57/10 | Draw 33/10 | PSG 9/20 
Guingamp and PSG will get Saturday’s proceedings underway at the Stade de Roudourou. The visitors come into this on off the back of a frustrating week drawing both their Champions League tie with Ludogarets and their Ligue 1 match against Nice. The hosts were also unable to find a victory last time out, going down by a 1-0 scoreline to St. Etienne.

PSG are priced up as extremely short favourites, which is completely understandable when you take a look at the recent head to head results between the two sides. The Parisian giants have put 11 goals past Guingamp in the previous three meetings. I reckon we’re in for another big PSG win this week. The safe option is to back the Parisians on the straight win but for those in search of more value, I recommend backing PSG on the -1 handicap at 12/10.

Montpellier 13/10 | Draw 9/4 | Bordeaux 22/10 
Onto Saturday’s next fixture now and while it may not be a headline clash, it still looks rather tasty with mid-table rivals Montpellier and Bordeaux squaring off. Montpellier were brought back down to earth this past week going down 2-1 to Lille. That was not the result coach Frederic Hantz would have expected from his side, who had hammered PSG 3-0 the previous week. Bordeaux also come into this one off the back of a disappointing result; a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of a rampant Monaco outfit.

Games between these two sides certainly haven’t lacked for incident over the years with a plethora of red cards being dished out. The score lines have been relatively low, however, with only a solitary goal scored in the last 180 minutes of football played between the two. So it may well prove a rather smart bet to back the Under 2.5 goals market at 7/10. For those in search of a higher price, I recommend backing Montpellier on the straight win at 13/10.

Lorient 17/10 | Draw 43/20 | St Etienne 17/10 
The Stade du Moustoir is our next port of call for the weekend. The ground will host a fixture between cellar-dwellers Lorient and European hopefuls St Etienne.

I’m going to keep the remainder of this segment short and sweet as I think St Etienne are a gift at 17/10 for a straight win. St Etienne have won the last five games between the sides, and I reckon they’ll have added another victory to that streak come the conclusion of Saturday.

Caen 8/10 | Draw 51/20 | Metz 34/10 
Metz will be looking to bounce back from last week's 2-0 defeat to Bastia when they travel to La Beaujoire this Saturday. The visitors haven't played all too much football in recent weeks with their gameweek 17 encounter against Lyon being called off midway through the fixture due to fans throwing flares onto the pitch. Caen have also been left frustrated by external forces as their last game against Nantes was postponed due to heavy fog.

With only three points separating the sides on the league standings, this game could prove to be vital for both teams. I can see Caen taking a rather cautious approach to the game but ultimately being caught out by Metz's superior attacking firepower. A Metz win at 34/10 is my tip for this one. 

Toulouse 19/20 | Draw 22/10 | Nancy 33/10 
Saturday’s penultimate game pits seventh-placed Toulouse up against 14th-placed Nancy. The hosts come into this one off the back of a 3-2 victory over Lorient, while the visitors make the trip to Toulouse having achieved a vital victory over Lorient.

Toulouse have been solid in front of goal this term, finding the back of the net on 21 occasions at an average of 1.2 goals per game. The visitors, on the other hand, have struggled to score but have been shipping goals for fun, conceding 22 goals at an average slightly short of 1.3 goals per game. With stats like that staring me in the face, I simply can’t help but tip the Over 2.5 goals market at 12/10.

Rennes 17/20 | Draw 47/20 | Bastia 36/10 
Onto our final match of the day now, and this could well turn out to be a rather entertaining affair with both sides showing a penchant for conceding.

The hosts come into this one off the back of a decent performance against Lyon, although they were unable to get anything out of the aforementioned fixture as Lyon’s resolute defence thwarted their attacks to hold out for a 1-0 victory. Bastia, on the other hand, managed to grab two goals and secure a clean sheet against Metz last weekend. I quite fancy, Bastia to make it back to back wins here. They have managed a few upsets this season and they will be brimming with confidence after last weekend’s victory. My advice is to get on the straight Bastia win at a healthy 36/10.

Sunday 18 December 

Nice 11/20 | Draw 31/10 | Dijon 9/2
We get Sunday’s action underway with a clash between Nice and Dijon. The hosts managed to retain their spot at the top of the Ligue 1 standings by holding PSG to a 2-2 draw last week, while the visitors continued their rapid fall down the log as they went down 2-1 to Marseille.

This is another game where I think it’s better to avoid a long-winded write-up. As such, I’ll cut to the point; a Nice straight win should be included in all multiples this weekend!  

Marseille 23/20 | Draw 43/20 | Lille 51/20 
This is quite an intriguing fixture as Marseille have recently hit a decent patch of form and are unbeaten in their last three games. Lille have also been on a bit of a hot streak winning their last three fixtures.

I would generally look to the Both Teams To Score market here but it doesn’t seem a smart move as Marseille are one of the better defensive outfits in the league. Instead, I’d recommend punting the 31/10 draw or, for those who are happy to take a risk, a 0-0 draw at 6/1. 

Monaco 9/10 | Draw 26/10 | Lyon 28/10 
Our final fixture of the weekend happens to be the pick of the bunch with free-scoring Monaco taking on a resurgent Lyon side. Both teams come into this one off the back of positive results with Monaco beating Bordeaux 4-0 and Lyon grabbing a 1-0 win over a resilient Stade Rennes side.

Both of these teams have had no trouble finding the back of the net this term with Monaco averaging 3.1 goals per game and Lyon averaging 1.7 goals per game. As such, I wouldn’t look any further than the Over 3.5 goals market at a kind 16/10.

Written by Darry Worthington @Hollywoodbets

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