A full house of winning tips from Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) in last week’s Ligue 1 column. Can his latest batch of French fancies follow suit?
PSG v Toulouse | Saturday 16.00
There’s a sense of determination hanging around the French capital this week. PSG produced their best performance of the season on Tuesday night but couldn’t find a winner. Laurent Blanc and his players were left disappointed to only come away with a point but there’s a feeling that the Parisians’ midweek display could be the catalyst to turnaround an ailing season.
PSG are back at the Parc des Princes on Saturday and have the opportunity to go top of the Ligue 1 table after twice missing out on the opportunity in the past fortnight. The capital club were held to draws in Lyon and Caen and with both Lyon and Marseille not playing until Sunday, Blanc’s charges will be keen not to miss out for a third time.
True, the champions are often let-down by their lethargic attitude and motivation to mundane one-sided league affairs but I’m confident Tuesday’s result will have brought back the spark in this Paris side. They should be well capable of seeing off a terrible Toulouse side that are sliding towards the relegation trapdoor.
Alain Casanova’s side have lost four on the spin ‘to nil’ on the road and arrive at the Parc des Princes with the league’s third worst defence. Les Pitchouns have been beaten in 13 of their last 16 away matches including 10 defeats ‘to nil' and eight by more than one goal away from their southern home whilst star striker Wissam Ben Yedder is bang out of form and can’t hit a barn door these days.
What's more, holding midfielder Tongo Doumbia is suspended. He’s failed to start seven away games this season and Toulouse have lost six of those matches, including defeats by at least two goals in the three trips he missed to top-eight teams.
It’s a dangerous cocktail for Casanova’s men and with six of their 10 away losses coming by a margin of two goals or more, it would be rude not to take an interest in the 9/10 from BetVictor on PSG -1.5 in the Asian Handicap market. Taking this selection means we’ll be in the money should the champions win by two goals or more on Saturday afternoon; it's a bet that's banked in 19/31 PSG home games since 2013/14.
Reims v Metz | Sunday 16.00
On Sunday, Reims take on Metz with both sides desperate to record an overdue three points. And despite picking up just two points from a possible 18 since the winter break, I have to side with the hosts at 6/5 with William Hill.
Last time out Reims went to the Stade Velodrome and earned a well deserved draw against high-flying Marseille. Jean-Luc Vasseur’s team fired in 16 shots and were a constant menace on the break and I’m hopeful they can improve on their W6-D2-L5 record at the Stade Auguste Delaune this weekend when rock bottom Metz arrive.
Les Grenats put in another feeble display when going down to in-form Guingamp last time out, meaning the newly-promoted club have recorded W0-D3-L10 in their last 13 outings, failing to score in six of their last seven. And on their travels, Metz have already suffered defeats in 10 of their 13 away games, netting just three goals.
The team news from the Metz camp also puts a downer on the visitors. Florent Malouda remains a doubt and the strugglers have failed to score in their last four games without the former Chelsea midfielder whilst defender Guido Milan and defensive midfielder Guirane N’Daw will also be absent for the trip.
Reims boss Vasseur was given the dreaded vote of confidence ahead of their match at Marseille, and the home boss was delighted with his team’s response. They should be able to build on that result by putting away the league’s worst side on Sunday afternoon.
Lyon v Nantes | Sunday 16.00
Lyon’s title challenge has stalled in recent weeks with key players Alexandre Lacazette and Milan Bisevac both out through injury. However, Ligue 1’s top goal-getter Lacazette is expected to make his return to the side for Sunday’s match at home to Nantes and Hubert Fournier’s men should be supported to get their season back on track.
Les Gones struggled to cope with Lorient’s artificial pitch last weekend but still managed to fight back and pick up a point after going a goal down. Clinton N'Jie grabbed the equaliser and veteran full-back Christophe Jallet almost pinched a winner late on as OL finished the stronger of the two teams.
And back at Stade Gerland, Les Gones remain a force to be reckoned with. Lyon have W9-D1-L0 in their last 10 outings in front of their home supporters – only PSG have stopped Fournier’s charges continuing their winning run recently.
With eight of their 11 home victories in Ligue 1 victories coming by a margin of two goals or more, it’s hard to resist BetVictor’s 68/67 on Lyon -1 in the Asian Handicap market. Taking this selection means we’ll have ourselves a winner should the hosts come out on top by a margin of two goals or more but get our cash back if Lyon only win by a solitary goal.
Visitors Nantes have found the going tough during the winter months. Having suffered just two defeats in their first 14 matches, the Canaries have W2-D3-L6 since. Michel Der Zakarian’s men have struggled in front of goal in 2015, failing to score in five of their six games and were outplayed at home to Bastia last time out.
It could be a long afternoon for the side from west France who have a torrid record against Lyon, losing 10 of a winless 12 game streak at the Gerland and conceding at least 3 goals in their last 4 visits.
Nantes tend to have a complex about meeting France’s elite. Last season they picked up a solitary point from 10 games against the top-five. This season that record stands at two points from six matches. Even if Lacazette starts from the bench, Lyon boast enough quality in forward areas through Nabil Fekir and N’Jie to get their title challenge back on track with a comfortable victory.
PSG v Toulouse – PSG -1.5 Asian Handicap (9/10 BetVictor)
Reims v Metz – Reims to win (6/5 William Hill)
Lyon v Nantes – Lyon -1 Asian Handicap (68/67 BetVictor)
Who do you fancy in France this weekend? Has Mark overlooked a better bet on the Ligue 1 coupon?
We’d love to hear your thoughts so let us know in the comments box below.