MARK O’HAIRE (@MarkOHaire) heads to France for his favourite European fancy of the weekend.
PSG v Reims | Saturday 16.00
I was a little disturbed at the amount of dissenting voices dismissing PSG before their Champions League game with Chelsea on Tuesday night.
I understand Les Rouge-et-Bleu operate in a totally different stratosphere to their Ligue 1 rivals but even so, they proved in last season’s competition they’re as good as any top level European club. And they’ve only gotten stronger since with the acquisition of Angel Di Maria.
Anyhow, I felt PSG confirmed their place as serious Champions League contenders with a confident and esteemed display when beating Chelsea in the French capital in midweek.
The defending French champions were sharp and incisive in attack and although the Blues did force Les Rouge-et-Bleu’s backline into a few blind allies on the counter-attack, the runaway Ligue 1 leaders were deserved winners.
Now Laurent Blanc’s men return to domestic action as they bid to continue their record-breaking ways in the French top tier. PSG will be looking to enhance their French top-flight record of 35 games unbeaten (W31-D4-L0) when Reims arrive on Saturday.
The hosts are looking to complete an invincible campaign with serious sights on having the title wrapped up before they head to London in March for the return leg with Chelsea. Real Madrid are the only side to beat PSG this season and across their last 23 matches, Les Parisiens have W21-D2-L0.
PSG’s form at their Parc des Princes home has been equalling devastating – they’ve W26-D6-L0 to form their second longest invincible streak in Ligue 1.
Inspirational leader Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been in fine fettle, contributing to 29 of their league goals this season – more than any other player in France’s top tier – and so with all these exceptional stats and trends in our favour, PSG are restrictively short in the betting.
So lets head to the Asian Handicap market where Blanc’s boys look far too big to turn down. BetVictor are offering 7/8 on PSG with a -1.75 start – backing this selection essentially means we’ll make money should the capital club beat Reims by two or more goals.
We’ll collect a full pay-out if PSG win by three or more goals with a victory by exactly two goals seeing our half our bet deemed a winner and half our stake returned as a push. The only way in which we won’t pick up profit is if Les Parisians manage just a one-goal win or fail to record maximum points.
Since Blanc arrived at the club, PSG have W40-D9-L1 in home domestic league fixtures – 34 (68%) of those encounters were delivered with wins by at least a two-goal margin with 19 (38%) arriving by a margin of three goals or more.
Full-backs Layvin Kurzawa and Grégory Van der Wiel may get the nod over Maxwell and Marquinhos, while Edinson Cavani will expect to start having come off the bench to net the winner against Chelsea in midweek as the PSG boss rotates his troops. But even so, PSG should prove far too strong.
Lowly visitors Reims slid to a very poor 1-0 home defeat to fellow scrappers Bastia last weekend with goalkeeper Johny Placide making a costly error. However, the visiting cat has been in inspired form of late mind and will be in for a busy afternoon in Paris.
Stade have W2-D4-L4 in their past 10 outings and their W2-D3-L6 road record across their most recent 11 matches has also contributed to their season of struggle. And the guests are still without injured quartet Grejohn Kyei, Hugo Rodriguez, Frédéric Bulot and Jordan Siebatcheu, with Alexis Peuget joining them on the sidelines now too.
With five of their eight losses under Oliver Guegan’s tenure arriving by a margin of at least two goals, a repeat on Saturday looks more than likely against a PSG side that’s enjoyed nearly 71% of the total shots-on-target in their Parc des Princes outings.
PSG v Reims – PSG -1.75 Asian Handicap (7/8 BetVictor)
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