French Ligue 1: Week Two Preview

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Our French football writer previews the second round of fixtures from the 2018/19 edition of Ligue 1. 

There were some truly surprising results in the opening round of 2018/19 Ligue 1 fixtures, with both newly-promoted teams, Nimes and Reims winning away from home at Angers and Nice respectively.

It was business as usual for the big guns, with Marseille, Monaco, PSG and Lyon all claiming opening day wins. There aren’t really any blockbuster fixtures in week two, however, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not the division’s new boys can build on their wonderful start to the season.

Friday 17 August

Stade Reims 15/4 
Draw 29/10 
Lyon 7/10
Reims produced the upset of the round one as a second-minute strike from Moussa Doumbia was enough to claim all three points for David Guion’s minnows. It really was a case of smash and grab, however, with Reims enjoying just 28% of possession and four shots in the match compared to Nice’s 14. They’ll be at home this week but will certainly have their backs up against the wall when they welcome Lyon.

Lyon picked up a pretty straight-forward win over Amiens last week with Bertrand Traore and Memphis Depay finding the net. They’ll only get stronger, too with captain Nabil Fekir likely to feature this week after his exertions in the World Cup. While this Reims side did well last week against Nice, I just don’t see them getting one over the highly-fancied Lyon. Back the away side with confidence at 7/10.

Saturday 18 August

Guingamp 19/2 
Draw 5/1 
PSG 1/4
Guingamp were beaten 2-1 by St-Etienne last time out which speaks volumes for their chances against a star-studded PSG outfit. Get on PSG to clear the (-1) handicap at 13/20 for a bit of value.

Caen 16/10 
Draw 2/1 
Nice 37/20
Caen were unsurprisingly bested by PSG last week, a result that they won’t really be too troubled with. Realistically speaking, there are probably only one or two other clubs in the divisions who would genuinely fancy their chances against the Parisians. Caen are back at home this week where they welcome Nice.

Nice were embarrassed at home by Stade Reims last week. The uncertainty surrounding the Mario Balotelli’s future may have had an effect on Patrick Vieira’s charges. They need to quickly bounce back or risk falling even further behind in the race for Europa League places. Last week’s defeat should have shocked Nice into action. While I think they will claim the win here, play it safe and back them on the win/draw at 9/20.

Amiens 43/20
Draw 39/20 
Montpellier 15/10
There really is no shame in going down to Lyon as Amiens did last week. That said, they face another tricky tie on Saturday against Montpellier. They’ll certainly need to be better in the final third of the pitch this time around after failing to stretch Lyon last time out.

Montpellier were another side who suffered a pretty surprising defeat in the first round of matches, going down 2-1 at home against Dijon. Things started pretty well for the hosts who took the lead in the fifth minute before two second half strikes from Dijon ultimately sunk them. Montpellier are tipped to get the business done this week against an Amiens outfit who could find themselves fighting relegation this season. 

Dijon 33/20 
Draw 22/10 
Nantes 17/10
Olivier Dall’Oglio will be delighted with his side’s opening day performance against Montpellier. They now head back to the Stade Gaston-Gerard where they’ll be confident of getting one over a Nantes side who look a shadow of the team that took the league by storm in the first half of last season.

Nantes were soundly beaten at home by Monaco last Friday. They were never really in the game and only managed to pull a goal back in the 92nd minute as they went down 3-1. They did manage to dominate possession, however, and had plenty of shots on goal but were ultimately unable to make a contest of the match, which will be cause for concern for manager Miguel Cardoso. It’s difficult to call a winner here. Both sides look as though they’ve got goals in them though. Take both teams to score at 8/10.

Monaco 5/10
Draw 34/10 
Lille 5/1
Monaco got their season off to the perfect start as they cruised to a 3-1 win over Nantes- a side that would have been identified as a potential banana peel considering their form in the early parts of last season. With that challenge successfully navigated, they head back to the Principality for what should be a straight-forward encounter against Lille.

I must say that I was surprised at just how dominant Lille were at home against Stade Rennais last week. They kept their heads after going a goal down late in the first half and stormed back to win 3-1. This speaks volumes for their character after almost being relegated last seasons. Despite this, Monaco should still prove far too good. Get on the hosts at 5/10.

Stade Rennais 17/20 
Draw 47/20 
Angers 36/10
Stade Rennais will need to bounce back following their 3-1 hammering at the hands of Lille. They have the perfect opportunity to do just that against an Angers team who many have tipped to be relegated at the end of the season.

Angers threw away a 3-1 lead to go down 4-3 against Nimes last weekend. Hardly the ideal start for a side who may well be dragged into a relegation battle this season. The favourites here should rightly be backed at 17/20 here.  

Sunday 19 August

Strasbourg 37/20 
Draw 43/20 
St-Etienne 31/20
I love the fact that Strasbourg managed to grab a convincing 2-0 win over Bordeaux last week. They showed that they are comfortable in this division after winning promotion in 2017 and will no doubt look to kick on now.

They face a pretty stiff test in the form of St-Etienne, though. Jean Louis Gasset also grabbed a win on the opening day of the season with a 2-1 victory over Guingamp. Wahab Khazri looks a good fit for the side and likely pull strings from the number 10 position. St-Etienne look the stronger side on paper should be able to claim the points here.  

Toulouse 16/10 
Draw 21/10 
Bordeaux 37/20
Toulouse find themselves in familiar territory at the bottom of the table following their 4-0 hammering at hands of Marseille last week. They were completely and utterly outplayed by a far better team, but now need to show that they can mix it up with some of the lesser teams.

Bordeaux didn’t fare much better last week as they were surprisingly defeated at home by Strasbourg. Their cause wasn’t helped by the fact that centre-half, Pablo, was given his marching order just 13 minutes into the fixture. An 11-man Bordeaux should be more than a match for Toulouse. 37/20 is a cracking price and is certainly my value bet for the week.  

Nimes 32/10
Draw 29/10
Marseille 15/20
Here’s another one we don’t really need to look at too hard. Marseille should be far too good for Nimes despite the minnow’s excellent opening day win. Back the away side with confidence here at 15/20.

Treble tipped at 3.91/1
Lyon Win 7/10
PSG (-1) 13/20
Marseille win 15/20

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Written by Jason Dewey for Hollywoodbets

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