MARK O'HAIRE (@MarkOHaire) bagged his biggest ever priced European NAP last weekend. Can he give us another profitable pick on Sunday night?
PSG v Lyon | Sunday 20.00 | BT Sport 2
PSG fielded a surprisingly strong squad for their final Champions League group-game against Shakhtar in midweek. The Parisians ran out comfortable 2-0 winners and were able to preserve their energy for the most part in a fairly routine performance.
Laurent Blanc’s side were already guaranteed second spot in the pool and with European progression secured and top spot in Ligue 1 bolted down, the defending champions have been on cruise control for a number of weeks now.
On Sunday they welcome back the hugely talented Marco Verratti from injury and they’ll be keen to flex their muscles against one of their supposed title challengers. The hosts are the only team across Europe’s top five leagues to remain unbeaten but their 45-point tally is only the second best record after 17 games – Sunday’s visitors Lyon collected 46 points in 2006/07.
There’ll be more comparisons between the two dominant clubs from each era ahead of the weekend’s match-up, adding a bit of spice to proceedings. So we should be able to rely on the Parisians to put on a beefed up show; they’ve W23-D3-L0 in their past 26 Ligue 1 games at the Parc des Princes and their 40 goals total at this stage of the campaign is their best ever return from 17 games.
The capital club have W5-D2-L0 when entertaining Lyon in league action, keeping five clean sheets, and with Les Gones still struggling to come close to last season’s levels, I’ll happily back PSG off a -1.75 start in the Asian Handicap market – we’ll bag a full pay-out if the hosts win by three or more goals but if the margin of victory is exactly two, we’ll still pocket half of that potential full pay-out.
Lyon were surprise winners at Valencia in midweek but both goals came against the run of play and with Hubert Fournier’s men already consigned to bottom of the group pre-match, the victory was of little significance.
More worryingly, striker Alexandre Lacazette picked up an injury and is now out until the New Year; with playmaker Mathieu Valbuena still trying to solve his legal issues from the sex tape scandal, the travellers will be without their two leading offensive threats.
Lyon’s decline began when Valbuena affair came to light and they’re now winless in four Ligue 1 outings (W0-D1-L3). Les Gones have managed a solitary win in six on the road (W1-D3-L2) at rock bottom Troyes and are also without a host of important personnel in defence and midfield.
Gueida Fofana, Nabil Fekir, Aldo Kalulu, Samuel Umtiti and Christophe Jallet are all absent as under-fire head coach Hubert Fournier experiments with yet another centre-back pairing by partnering Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa alongside Jeremy Morel.
Umtiti is Lyon’s best defender and in the nine matches he’s missed since the start of last season they’ve lost seven times, with their only win coming against cut-adrift Troyes. Furthermore, these haven’t been difficult matches as the four last season were all against bottom-half finishers.
PSG lead the table by 15 points and have scored at least twice in 23/28 Ligue 1 matches. They should have little trouble brushing aside a poor Lyon team on Sunday night.
PSG v Lyon – PSG -1.75 Asian Handicap (1/1 888 Sport)
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