FRENCH football expert and betting aficionado Gary Clarke (@Gaz_Tips) has joined the WLB stable for 2017/18. Here Gary pinpoints the value for Friday night's curtain-raising clash from across the water.
Finally the long wait is over and Ligue 1 returns on Friday night.
It’s all gotten a bit exciting over the Channel with as a certain Samba star deciding to join the party this week. I guess a cold, wet night in Troyes will really test him!
Monaco v Toulouse | Friday 4th August 2017, 19:45 | BT Sport
Monaco come into this game on the back of a 20/1 winning campaign last time out. However, their squad has been looted by bigger fish.
Tiemoue Bakayoko, Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy and Valerie Germain are all off to pastures new, leaving the principality club considerably weaker than last term.
Les Monegasques have brought in some good replacements, mind. Youri Tielemans won’t be much of a downgrade on Bakayoko, Terrence Kongolo – a defender from Feyenoord – is a very decent player and a few exciting talents have also came through.
I'm not overly worried about Monaco but another title-winning campaign looks beyond them.
Toulouse's shot-shy attack
Toulouse’s big problem last season was getting the ball in the onion bag. And worryingly, look in a worse position in that regard going into 2017/18.
Forward Martin Braithwaite has moved to Middlesbrough – he wasn't exactly lethal but he was a major player. Coretin Jean and former Arsenal man Yaya Sanogo come in and they don't exactly arrive with major reputations.
Another struggling campaign looks likely for the visitors. In their five friendlies they've only scored three goals so you’d have to presume Monaco can and will win this curtain-raiser comfortably.
The betting angle
Back in April the hosts won this encounter 3-1 having fired in 28 shots to Toulouse ‘s seven.
Toulouse are and have been poor on the road for quite a few seasons now and it I don’t see that changing so back Monaco to beat the -1.5 Asian Handicap at 89/100 (Bet365).
Monaco v Toulouse – Monaco -1.5 Asian Handicap (89/100 Bet365)