Welcome back to the French Ligue 1, where football proceeds as usual amidst a nuclear war in football, for now.Here
Paris Saint-Germain remain faithful to UEFA in light of football being turned upside down and get ready to face Metz with a much-needed three points on the line in the battle for their 10th Ligue 1 title. Monaco hit the road in pursuit of their win, which could see them possibly take top spot, before this week’s all-important clash between Lyon and Lille.
Let’s take a deeper examination at the upcoming football.
Friday 23 April
47/20 Reims | Draw 24/10 | Marseille 11/10
Olympique Marseille are on the verge of qualifying for European football and the first of their last five remaining fixtures comes in the form of Reims. The Olympians, however, have not won an away game in their last 10 fixtures, drawing five and losing five. The Red and Whites have come to a stalemate in their last six home fixtures and the head-to-head between these French clubs sits at four wins and five draws a piece. You might notice this word draw a lot in this game’s preview and I am calling this result a draw at 24/10.
Saturday 24 April
21/20 Saint Etienne | Draw 5/2 | Brest 49/20
Whenever Brest travel this season, they seem to forget how to play football. On the road, the away team have only won four matches in the past three years and have only put the ball in the back of the net three times this year. St. Etienne have not been promising either, winning just four of their 16 at the Stade Geoffrey-Guichard. The Greens have dropped to 14th and are still in a possible relegation battle statistically. The home win is the way to go.
9/1 Metz | Draw 46/10 | Paris Saint-Germain 2/7
Saturday’s feature fixture sees Metz welcome Paris Saint-Germain to the Saint-Symphorien where they last defeated the French giants when they were promoted to Ligue 1 in 2006. The Maroons, at home, have lost four games on the spin, and I have no confidence in them gaining any points against PSG. The Parisians are still in the running for all competitions and Mauricio Pochettino could defend a small score this fixture knowing his players are humans and not machines. Back PSG and Over 2.5 Goals at 8/10.
16/10 Nice | Draw 47/20 | Montpellier 33/20
Nice have kept a clean sheet in their last two fixtures at the Allianz Riviera. The two in-form players; loan signing defender William Saliba, who was awarded Player of the Month for the club, as well as silky smooth Amine Gouiri who sits on 16 goals and seven assists in all competitions, are to thank for the recent successes. However, Nice have lost 2-0 away to the Ligue 1 whipping boys Dijon who just won their first match since Christmas last year. Travelling team Montpellier have been halted in their 11-game unbeaten run in the league and you can expect Michel Der Zakarian to continue the teams run of form against a Nice outfit on the back of a disappointing loss. Montpellier at 33/20 hits the nail on the head for this preview’s value bet.
7/10 Lens | Draw 26/10 | Nimes 38/10
Fifth-placed Lens are trying to maintain a point gap between 6th-placed Marseille for European football, and a home fixture against struggling Nimes is a perfect opportunity. The Racers welcome the Crocodiles to the north of France where they are undefeated in their last six, including draws over the two Olympique teams, Lyon and Marseille. Since taking over in February, Pascal Plancque has managed to steer his team out of the bottom of the table, but not clear of relegation after winning four, drawing three and losing four. Lens will maintain their placing with three points.
12/10 Lorient | Draw 47/20 | Bordeaux 9/4
Bordeaux, the one-time Champions League competitors are now 15th in Ligue 1 and are not favourites against Lorient. Les Girondins have won just one match in their last 12 and their trip to du Moustoir is building up to see them fall short yet again. The home team are also struggling and have won a single match in their last five. Taking the whole season into account, I am backing Lorient to take the three points.
7/20 Rennes | Draw 4/1 | Dijon 15/2
Dijon have never won a fixture at Rennes’ Roazhon park, and with the form they currently hold, nobody should bet on them to do so this season. Rock-bottom Dijon managed a shock 2-0 home win over Nice to win their first fixture in 13 consecutive defeats. In the home teams’ corner, the Red and Blacks have not conceded a goal at home in back-to-back games. Dijon put their final kick in a win last gameweek and I’m putting faith in Rennes to take the win is easy.
11/10 Strasbourg | Draw 47/20 | Nantes 49/20
The away team travel to Stade de la Meinau, four points short of saving themselves from the depths of relegation. Nantes appointed Antoine Komboure to gain momentum to retain its place amongst the French elite, but he has failed to produce, winning just two of his last 10 fixtures. Strasbourg are not in the best of form and have lost their last two on home soil, but the Racers have won the last four meetings between the two. The home team will collect a full complement of points.
46/10 Angers | Draw 32/10 | Monaco 11/20
The travelling team have two players leading the charge for a title, Wissam Ben Yedder has netted 17 and Kevin Volland has scored 15 since joining in September, with manager Niko Kovac having a blistering start with Monaco after exiting Bayern Munich through the back door. Les Monegasques have kept clean sheets in their last four league victories on the trot. Angers have scored one goal and are winless in their last five fixtures. After long-serving Stephane Moulin announced he would be leaving the club at the end of the season, the team has struggled to find any form. Monaco to Win To Nil is my banker for the gameweek at 15/10.
11/10 Lyon | Draw 24/10 | Lille 24/10
Lyon and Lille take centre stage in a top-of-the-table clash at the Groupama Stadium. Lille has the opportunity to knock Lyon off of their scent, and through another lens, Lyon are putting their focus on closing a three-point gap to tie top spot with a win over the title race leaders. Both teams’ form guides are identical in their last five, losing one, drawing two and winning two, but Lille has been more solid in defence, conceding three goals in the five to Lyon’s seven. Les Douges boast a fully fit squad, whereas, Rudi Garcia sees his Zimbabwean national, Philana Kadewere, who has netted 10 and assisted three goals this season, out for this all-important clash. I believe a every team can score a goal, but a great defensive display will win you a league, so back Lille to march on to victory.