FANCY a bet from France this weekend? Allow Ligue 1 fan Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) to share his best bets.
Bordeaux v Guingamp | Sunday 16.00 | BT Sport Extra
Not since 1995 have Bordeaux accumulated fewer points at this stage of a top-flight season (W4-D6-L6) and not since 1977 have Les Girondins leaked more than their current total of 26 goals after 16 games.
They’re two ugly statistics that boss Willy Sagnol is desperate to turn around after a difficult few weeks. In midweek, Bordeaux were well in command at Bastia but ultimately lost 1-0 late on thanks to a poor defensive error.
Sagnol’s urged his players to “beat Guingamp at all costs” on Sunday but the FCGB boss has several defensive issues to sort out. Clément Chantôme and Jussiê returned from Corsica injured whilst Lamine Sané and Pablo are struggling to be fit. That means Ilias Hassani looks likely start alongside Cédric Yambéré in an unfamiliar looking back four.
Les Girondins could start this match in the relegation zone if results go against them as they aim to bounce back from back-to-back league defeats but the good news is, key creative force Wahbi Khazri and Andre Poko are both back from suspension to boost their attacking options.
Bordeaux have lost only two of their last 17 home league games (W10-D5-L2), failing to score only once in that run. In fact, since Sagnol arrived at the club they’ve bagged W16-D7-L4, firing blanks just twice.
But with such a second string defensive line on show, it’s their remarkable knack for Both Teams To Score winners that stands out most ahead of Sunday’s clash. FCGB have seen BTTS bank in 20/27 (74%) home fixtures since the start of last season and so I’ve been seduced by the charms of Coral’s 23/20 on a repeat.
Like their hosts, Guingamp have their own troubles with leading attackers Jimmy Briand a doubt and Yannis Salibur suspended. They were poor against Reims in midweek and have now only won once in seven (W1-D3-L3) as well as twice in 10 on the road (W2-D1-L7) but they’re well capable of hurting this Bordeaux backline.
Jocelyn Gourvennec’s guests are looking a little leggy but only six clubs have fired in more on-target attempts on the road than EAG despite trips to defensively-sound PSG, St Etienne, Angers, Nantes and Caen already this campaign – a tricky fixtures list.
Reims v Troyes | Saturday 19.00
Jean-Marc Furlan was given a vote of confidence by the Troyes president at the weekend but on Thursday he’d left the club by mutual agreement following yet another humbling defeat.
Last season’s Ligue 2 champions lost the support of their fans following a 3-0 home loss to fellow strugglers Toulouse and now sit 13 points off survival. l'ESTAC have failed to record a victory in 16 since promotion (W0-D5-L11) with their five-point tally the second lowest at this stage in French top-flight history.
The team will now be led by former assistants Mohamed Bradja and Michel Padovani as well as goalkeeper coach Olivier Tingry this weekend but they’ve had just 48 hours to prepare their troops. Hamari Traoré misses out after being sent off against Guingamp, which means that either Omenuke Mfulu or Mickaël Tacalfred will start at right-back.
Troyes were outplayed by Toulouse and will also need to make-do without attacking midfielder Stéphane Darbion too, their brightest spark in their latest loss. So without a clean sheet in 12 and W0-D1-L7 on the road, it’s hard to find the faith to back the lowly visitors.
I put the boot into Reims during my midweek columns but they responded well and fully deserved their 2-1 victory at Guingamp. They defended stoutly, ran through brick walls and looked a threat in attacking areas. It was their first win since September and kept them above the relegation zone.
The hosts have taken just a point from their past 12 on offer in front of their home supporters but I don’t expect them to show any remorse against their local rivals. I’ll back Reims to collect a second successive win at 4/5 quotes with Betfred.
Toulouse v Lorient | Saturday 19.00
Toulouse had failed to record maximum points since the opening day of the season before an early red card helped them on their way to a 2-0 success over Nice last weekend. Les Pitchouns then followed it up with an impressive 3-0 dispatch of rock bottom Troyes.
Dominique Arribage was rumoured to have been handed an ultimatum to collect eight points from his next five games if he’s to keep his job until after the transfer window but six from six has certainly eased fears, even if results haven’t quite masked their inability.
TFC have been an absolute shambles most of the season as they are yet to put in one commanding or convincing display. Still, the hosts have found a way to avoid defeat at their Stadium Municipal base.
Since the start of last season, Toulouse have W10-D10-L6 on their own patch (W2-D4-L1 this term) but the league’s worst defence – TFC have leaked at least twice in eight of their last 13 – are unlikely to be able to keep out a fluent and enterprising Lorient side.
Alban Lafont – a 16-year-old – has helped the hosts to back-to-back clean sheets whilst also setting a record for making the most saves (10) without conceding a goal in a single game against Troyes. Perhaps that just reiterates the point that Dominique Arribage’s men aren’t particularly tight at the back.
Going forward, academy boy Zinédine Machach and Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro were outstanding in midfield whilst both forwards Martin Braithwaite and Wissam Ben Yedder managed to get on the scoresheet.
Toulouse have only failed to net twice in 26 in front of their home fans, keeping just five clean sheets. So with only PSG and Nice scoring more often than Lorient in Ligue 1 – only three times failing to score – I like the look of Both Teams To Score at 5/6 (10Bet).
Sylvain Ripoll should switch back to his orthodox 4-5-1 as Lorient look to extend a run of just one loss in seven (W1-D5-L1). Les Merlus have been involved in plenty of winning BTTS bets – 13 of their last 15 have rewarded Both Teams To Score backers now, as well as 12/16 (80%) in Ligue 1 football and each of their last six away whilst the guests also boast the league’s top goalscorer in Benjamin Moukandjo.
Reims v Troyes – Reims to win (4/5 Betfred)
Toulouse v Lorient – Both Teams To Score (5/6 10Bet)
Bordeaux v Guingamp – Both Teams To Score (23/20 Coral)
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