EUROPEAN football expert Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) highlights the value in France on Tuesday night.
PSG v Lille | Tuesday 20:00 | BT Sport
Monaco’s 3-0 demolition job of Nice and recent 1-1 draw at PSG has kept the principality club top of Ligue 1 but the table-toppers will need to guard against complacency ahead of a tricky trip to Montpellier on Tuesday night.
Leonardo Jardim’s expected to rest and rotate his tired troops having already played eight games this calendar year, including two cup ties that went to extra-time. It means Les Monegasques make little appeal at odds-on quotes.
Montpellier have endured a difficult campaign on and off the pitch but under new management in Jean-Louis Gasset and following an overdue victory against Bastia at the weekend, I’m not keen to oppose the hosts who’ve lost just once at home all season.
Opportunity knock for PSG?
So instead, attention is turned towards defending champions PSG and their home tie against Lille. The capital club remain three points adrift of Monaco and head coach Unai Emery is well aware his side can’t afford any more slip-ups, especially at the Parc des Princes.
Marco Verratti, Kevin Trapp and Thomas Meunier will once again miss out whilst Layvin Kurzawa could also be taken out of the firing line. There’s a suggestion Emery could play a 4-2-3-1 with winter arrival Goncalo Guedes starting in place of Julian Draxler on the left wing but whatever XI is fielded, Les Parisians should be strong enough to seal maximum points.
PSG have W11-D4-L0 in their last 15 home Ligue 1 outings and their home league return since 2012/13 (the campaign in which they won the first of their four successive titles) reads a jaw-dropping W65-D18-L4. A huge 54 (62%) of those triumphs were achieved by a margin of two goals or more.
Win ‘to nil’
However, I’m not approaching the handicap markets here and instead focussing on the hosts to win ‘to nil’ with BetVictor quoting 9/10 on such an outcome.
Les Rouge-et-Bleu have shipped only four Ligue 1 goals at the Parc des Princes across 16-and-a-half hours of football. Twelve of PSG’s 15 league victories were bagged alongside clean sheets and the hosts have shutout 51/87 (59%) of visiting sides since 2012/13. Pretty damn impressive, huh?
Transitional times for Lille
Visitors Lille are in the midst of major transition following the takeover of the former president of the Lotus Formula One team, Gerard Lopez, in late January.
Lopez had earmarked Marcelo Bielsa as the man to take Les Dogues forward but a deal hasn’t yet been completed meaning the club are still in the hands of caretaker coach Patrick Collot. Collot was Frederic Antonetti’s assistant, the man axed as head coach in November.
Great Danes toothless on their travels
Results and performances have both improved under Collot but Lille still remain worryingly reliant on their home form. And the temporary boss has also come in for criticism over his lack of a coherent tactical approach.
With Lille signing a raft of new players in January – three of which featured in the weekend’s dreadful home loss to struggling Lorient – it’s hard to see the side functioning seamlessly in the capital on Tuesday night.
Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama should return but going forward questions have to be asked of an attack that’s failed to score in seven of 11 away Ligue 1 fixtures, notching a goal every 141 minutes in away league football. The visitors have fired blanks in five of their most recent seven road trips and I’d happily back a repeat here.
PSG v Lille – PSG to win ‘to nil’ (9/10 BetVictor)