MARK O’Haire’s (@MarkOHaire) opposing two big guns as week two of the new Ligue 1 season rolls out in France.
Guingamp v Lyon | Saturday 19.00 | BT Sport 1
Neither Guingamp nor Lyon will have been too pleased with their first weekends work. Guingamp, France’s surprise package under highly-rated coach Jocelyn Gourvennec last season fell to defeat in the Breton derby at Nantes – a late and unfortunate own goal costing EAG.
Meanwhile, Lyon were wasteful when being held to a 0-0 draw at home to Lorient. Les Gones have now gone four fixtures without scoring this season (including two friendlies) and were dealt a blow when star striker Alexandre Lacazette was forced off with a back injury in the dying minutes.
Clinton N’Jie looks set to seal a move to Spurs and although new forward Claudio Beauvue will line up against his old club, with Nabil Fekir off-colour and head coach Hubert Fournier critical of Lyon’s preparations for 2015/16, Les Gones must be opposed.
French international Mathieu Valbuena was snapped up this week and should go straight into the visitors team and captain Maxime Gonalons returns from suspension but should Lacazette miss out, as is expected, Lyon may struggle again. He smashed 29 goals in 35 appearances last season but Fournier’s troops W21-D7-L6 with their star striker and only W1-D3-L1 in the five fixtures he missed.
Guingamp have brought in Sloan Privat, Jimmy Briand and Mana Dembele to offset the loss of last season’s top marksman Beauvue and Christophe Mandanne in attack. Briand isn’t yet fit to start but with a record of avoiding defeat in 22/38 (58%) Ligue 1 games at the Stade du Roudourou under Gourvennec and Lyon managing just W8-D6-L5 when playing away last season, backing the hosts off a +0.50 Asian Handicap start at 3/4 with Winner makes sense.
Should Guingamp avoid defeat, we’ll have ourselves a winner.
Reims v Marseille | Sunday 13.00 | BT Sport ESPN
Well that escalated quick. Defending champions PSG made a winning start to the new Ligue 1 campaign but bitter rivals Marseille stole the week one headlines with a shock 1-0 home defeat to Caen.
Whilst the on-field performance raised eyebrows, the bombshell that boss Marcelo Bielsa handed in his resignation moments after the final whistle sent shockwaves around the French game. Despite signing a deal until 2017 only recently, El Loco called time on his stay at the Stade Velodrome, suggesting contract agreements weren’t being kept.
The home loss to Caen made the departure of Bielsa even harder to take for Marseille supporters. The team boasted 70% possession in their curtain-raiser and fired in 18 efforts on goal with Michy Batshuayi regular off-target. L’OM did hit the woodwork twice, had a goal ruled out and missed a catalogue of sitters to compound the home fans misery.
Now Marseille begin life without Bielsa by travelling to Reims on Saturday night, eager to get off the mark. Having won 5-0 at the Stade Auguste Delaune last term, the visitors should hold no fear about visiting the Champagne region with assistant Franck Passi taking interim charge.
Reims began their campaign with a surprise 2-1 victory in Bordeaux thanks to two late goals on the counter. Head coach Olivier Guegan was only installed at the backend of last season to ensure survival but having been handed the fulltime reigns, is keen to establish Stade as a comfortable Ligue 1 club.
The hosts suffered eight home defeats last term including that 5-0 walloping but we can turn those trends in our favour – Reims avoided defeat in 11/19 (58%). With so much uncertainty surrounding the visitors, it may pay to side with Stade.
BetVictor are offering 3/4 for Reims +0.50 in the Asian Handicap and we’ll be paid out should they avoid defeat again.
Guingamp v Lyon – Guingamp +0.50 Asian Handicap (3/4 Winner)
Reims v Marseille – Reims +0.50 Asian Handicap (3/4 BetVictor)
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