Friday Night Ligue 1 & 2 Pre Match Analysis & Picks

Ajaccio – Nancy

Nancy suffered a couple of poor results before the international break, so will be desperate to rebound here. A victory in the cup last week facing Troyes should’ve boosted their confidence, but this wont be an easy trip to Corsica. Ajaccio have been much better since they sacked Christian Braconi and are likely to be tough to beat. On the positive side for Nancy, they have a squad at full strength, but will it be enough? A draw seems pretty likely to me here but if either team won it 1-0, it wouldn’t be too much of a shock. I’m not interested in betting on this game, I just don’t see an edge for either side.

Prediction: Ajaccio 1-1 Nancy NO BET

Clermont – Tours

It must be noted that Clermont actually have a fairly good recent home record. They have won 4 of their last 5 at Le Stade Gabriel Montpied and actually looked fairly decent in front of their own fans. You would think they have a decent chance here too facing a poor Tours outfit who have struggled this season. They are 2nd bottom having lost 11/15 games this season although have shown some recent signs of improvement. A draw at Niort and then a win against GFC snapped a poor streak, so perhaps the visitors shouldn’t be underestimated today. I think Clermont will ultimately claim victory in what should be an open match, but I don’t trust them enough to actually place a bet.

Prediction: Clermont 2-1 Tours NO BET

Creteil – Arles

I must say I really fancy Creteil in this match. They have had a 2 week break from competitive matches, so should be really refreshed and looked in form since they sacked Philippe Hinchberger as manager. Arles have just been a mess this season, used up too many players and simply don’t seem to have much team cohesion. They are constantly making mistakes at the back and getting punished. In terms of tactics and organisation, they are non existent. The Parisian hosts should win this contest, but can they be backable at odds-on? Really, only the top teams in Ligue 2 should be odds- on in any fixture so its dubious if they are worth betting on right now.

Prediction: Creteil 3-1 Arles NO BET

GFC – Auxerre

The big problem for GFC here is poor team news. They are missing 4 players to suspension in addition to a few injuries. In total, 7 first team starters are ruled out which is a really tough ask for any team, let alone a promoted outfit who have a small squad. Auxerre should be able to get the job done tonight, they themselves have no such problems in terms of team selection. For those who might be worried about GFC’s great home record, well if you look in detail maybe it’s not so impressive. Apart from Dijon, all they have beaten are really poor teams. Ok, they still deserve respect here on Corsica, but missing so many key players you really have got to think they’ll at least draw. I think it’s worth taking them DNB for a few units.

Prediction: GFC 0-2 Auxerre
Recommended bet: Auxerre DNB @ 2.15 4/10

Le Havre – Laval

I did actually fancy Havre here but they have undergone a managerial departure this week. Erick Mombaerts has moved to pastures new and resigned, although this might not be the worst of things. The ex France U21s boss has never really lived up to full expectations here in Normandie, so long term they might be better off without him. It is however possible in the short term that the squad is affected negatively though and they could struggle tonight. I personally think they’ll have enough for Laval but the visitors have drawn an incredibly large number of games this season and have proved difficult to beat. If Le Havre start this match well then I wouldnt hesitate to back them in running, but pre match there are one or two doubts, so I’ll stay away.

Prediction; Le Havre 1-0 Laval NO BET

Niort – Sochaux

Sochaux are unbeaten in 12 ligue games and have yet to suffer defeat away from home this season. They suffered a shock loss to Strasbourg in the cup on Monday night, but it’s quite possible of a rebound tonight. I don’t expect this to be much of a classic. Niort are only a mediocre side who tend to struggle scoring goals. This one smells of a draw, maybe even a 0-0. Chances are likely to be at a premium and it’s not the sort of fixture that really interests me from a betting point of view.

Prediction: Niort 0-0 Sochaux NO BET

Orleans – Angers

Under normal circumstances I would heavily favour the draw here, but Angers team news makes me think they’ll struggle. A number of first team regulars are ruled out of this contest and this doesn’t bode well, especially as they are normally pretty bad away. Orleans are a strange side who can be hard to protect. It’s rare I have gotten involved betting in many of their matches and again here I feel they might be just a bit too short. I’d want a little bit more before I got involved so although I think they’ll win, this is a currently a no bet contest for me.

Prediction: Orleans 1-0 Angers NO BET

Valenciennes – Chateauroux

This should really end up as a fairly comfortable home win. But just like the Creteil match, does anyone really want to back Valenciennes as an odds-on shot? I don’t really want to because they are just an average sort of side. It’s true the northern outfit have found some form of late but they aren’t yet a power outfit for ligue 2 standards. Chateauroux are the worst team in Ligue 2 and are usually awful away but there’s a chance they might sneak a draw. So unless the price rises a little bit then I wont bet here, although like I said, VA should get the job done.

Prediction: Valenciennes 2-0 Chateauroux NO BET

Lyon – Caen

This should be a really open and exciting game of football. Caen have really struggled of late but aren’t perhaps as bad as their results might suggest. Their problem is they don’t have much of a brain at times. They try and play attractive football but that is never going to work in ligue 1 unless you have a lot of really good players. They need to be more boring and defensive, otherwise in fixtures like this they could get torn apart. Lyon should win but the question is by how many. Caen are usually good for at least a goal against anyone and I could see them scoring at least once tonight. I’d fancy the overs but unfortunately with a goal line of 2.75 it’s fairly unbackable for France. Good match to watch but not bet in before it’s started IMO.

Prediction: Lyon 4-2 Caen NO BET

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Evian – Lyon

Amazingly, Evian are on a run of 3 straight win. They are a weird team who don’t really have much ability, but do have one exceptional player. It’s highly unlikely that Daniel Wass will be staying at the club much longer, maybe even in January he’ll be sold. The Dane has been in brilliant form this season and his skills have really progressed. Each team genuinely has to double or even treble team him, but they can do nothing about his set piece taking ability which is lethal. Lyon will have to think twice about conceding free kicks in dangerous areas because there’s a high chance they’ll be punished. Lyon are favourites today but I don’t personally think they should be as short as this. A fair line would be a DNB pick em’ but instead they are around 1.90 on a -0.25 handicap. This isn’t an easy place to visit for anyone, especially this time of year, and Evian have had an extra day of rest. I am not actually sure which way this match will go, much will probably depend how well Lyon deal with Wass. It’s worth noting that Evian had only had one draw all season, so perhaps they are finally due another one soon. I would say and all square encounter is the most likely outcome and overall I’m just not interested in betting on it.

Prediction: Evian 1-1 Lyon NO BET

Lens – Lyon

This match will be played at Le Stade de France in Paris, so nobody really has home advantage. Lens have been unfortunate this season that their own stadium is under reconstruction, in a fixture like this, their fans could’ve made one hell of an intimidating atmosphere. Both of these two teams are big rivals, and there is genuine hate between the sets of fans. So obviously it goes without saying that the players are going to fight incredibly hard to please their supporters. The form of both teams is pretty poor heading into this contest. Lens have just 2 wins in 10, whilst Lille have fared even worse – picking up just one victory in their last 10. Scoring goals is the major problem for the visitors and they have the worst attack in the whole of ligue 1. Lens have a few absences today, especially upfront. The likes of Touzghar, El Jadeyaoui and Chavarria are all ruled out. I can’t see this match containing many goals and maybe something like 0-0 is on the cards. Perhaps Lille’s big match experience might be enough for them to squeeze a 1-0 or something, but overall I’m not interested in betting on the contest.

Prediction: Lens 0-0 Lille NO BET

Reims – Guingamp

Both teams suffered contrasting fortunes in midweek. Guingamp hammered Caen 5-1 and produced their best performance of the season, a result which is sure to boost their confidence. The main problem that Guingamp have had this season is Europea League matches, but the squad is used to playing in midweek so that’s probably why they played so well on Wednesday. Reims meanwhile, performed fairly alright but lost at Lyon on Thursday. This ended their 7 game unbeaten run so it remains to be seen how they rebound from that result. I would say Reims are a slightly better team than Reims, so there could be some justification in backing them -0.25 today. It’s not easy having to play so soon after Thursday night though, and also against a team who are used to rotating their squad and playing a lot of matches this season. Guingamp have yet to draw a game domestically this campaign and something tells me they’ll have an all square game sooner rather than later.

Prediction: Reims 1-1 Guingamp NO BET

Marseille – Metz

This is a bit of a David vs Goliath fixture and Marseille should easily win it. They were held in midweek away at Lorient (1-1) but should have claimed victory, just missed a ton of chances. OM have a superb home record this season (7-0-1) and 5 of their 7 wins at the Velodrome have been by more than a one goal margin. The squad is in great condition and welcomes back Nicolas Nkloulou and Andre Ayew tonight. Metz have relatively few injuries but it’s difficult to see them getting anything here. Their away record is the worst in the whole of Ligue 1 and reads a miserable 1-1-6. It’s not as if they’ve even been close in some fixtures either, Les Grenats have lost by at least a two goal margin on 4 occasions. This should end up as a blowout win and although this is usually a poor handicap to take in France, the -1.5 on OM is appealing. They are going to win, it’s just a question of my how many.

Prediction: Marseille 3-0 Metz
Recommended bet: Marseille -1.5 @ 2.09 4/10

PSG – Nantes

It was no surprise to see PSG drop points in midweek away at Lille. Despite their great unbeaten run Les Parisiens just haven’t looked as good this season and have been lucky in a number of fixtures. Of course, perhaps they deserve credit for grinding out results, and teams still fear them, but it’s clear the PSG engine isn’t quite firing at the moment. At some point though, they will start to get into gear, perhaps it might happen this afternoon. Nantes aren’t a bad side, but I always feel they lack something when facing the really big teams in the ligue. It’s as if they just lack belief in getting a good result, although can sometimes play well. At Marseille a couple of weeks ago, they comfortably lost 2-0 and I could see a similar sort of outcome today. PSG don’t even need to be at their best to get 3 points, but in a week where both teams have played 3 matches, you have to think the extra squad depth of the capital club could be crucial. I’m not going to back them because like I said, I do have quite a lot of doubts about them at the moment. But sooner or later they must surely fire, and in a match like this should have too much for Nantes.

Prediction: PSG 3-0 Nantes NO BET

Bordeaux – Lorient

Logically, Bordeaux should win this match but like I said on Tuesday night, Lorient actually need to be given some respect at the moment. They have actually looked much improved in recent weeks, pushing some good teams hard and even picking up results in them. Bordeaux are the better team here and have home advantage,but you have to be careful of Lorient’s counter attacking threat away from home. Les Merlus just look to be playing in a good rhythm at the moment and have some confidence about them. As usual, the visitors have a load of injuries, especially in midfield but it doesn’t seem to be affecting them too badly. This wont be an easy test for Bordeaux, although ultimately I think they’ll pull through. @ this sort of price I’m not interested in backing Wily Sagnol’s men though. I’d need a better price to get involved with Les Girondins.

Prediction: Bordeaux 2-1 Lorient NO BET

Caen – Nice

It was very worrying for Caen that they took an absolute battering away at Guingamp in midweek. They lost 5-1 although rested players and had to play the last 30 mins with 10 men. The big question now is how they rebound and it’s clear to see that the Normandy outfit desperately need a win soon. Patrice Garande’s men have just 1 victory in their last 13 matches, which is a really poor record. They have been playing better than their results suggest but statistically their points return is extremely worrying. Tonight, they have a good chance though facing a Nice side that has lost its way a bit since beating Guingamp 7-2. Since that emphatic victory, Les Aiglons have lost 4 out of 5 and rarely threatened many goals. Caen will take this match IMO but I can’t be backing them @ their current price. I’d need at least 1.90 on a -0.25 line. They are nearly odds on with the bookies which is pretty ridiculous considering their terrible win record.

Prediction: Caen 2-1 Nice NO BET

Rennes – Montpellier

Right now, Rennes are on fire. They’ve won 4 straight games and are unbeaten in 8 fixtures. They just have the knack right now of picking up results and finding a key goal at the right time. Philippe Montanier has really turned around the Breton outfit and this isn’t a surprise when you consider his past coaching record at the likes of Valenciennes and Sociedad. Tonight, they really should have too much for Montpellier who are nothing better than an average team this year. Rennes have an extremely solid home record, whilst MHSC are nothing special on the road. Of course, the visitors might try and turn this into a tight affair but Rennes have a potential difference maker in their ranks – Paul Georges Ntep. This guy has been in lethal form recently and is on the radar of many big European clubs. If they need to find a goal from somewhere he will probably find a way to win them the match. This price looks generous to me on Rennes. I expected them to be a clear odds-on shot so I have no hesitation in taking them @ this sort of price which looks value.

Prediction: Rennes 2-0 Montpellier
Recommended bet: Rennes -0.5 @ 2.0 5/10

St Etienne – Bastia

What a great week for Sainte. They finally beat their arch rivals Lyon at home 3-0 for the first time in 20 years and followed it up with a convincing 2-0 success at Montpellier on Wednesday night. Even more impressive is the fact they’ve not been at full strength for this stretch of games and rotated their squad around a bit. Tonight, they should really have too much for a relatively poor, although improving Bastia outfit. The Corsicans have looked much better since they sacked Claude Makelele as coach, but the problem of not having a manager was very evident on Wednesday night when they somehow conspired to lose against Evian at home. They were in control but suddenly conceded against the run of play and had no plan B. The caretaker manager didn’t even make a single substitution during the last 25 mins! I think Bastia will ultimately fight hard but come up short and Sainte should claim a fairly easy win. I’m not however, interested in backing them -1.25 because for French standards this is a pretty big handicap. This time of year on any team that isn’t PSG or OM, I’d say it’s probably not the greatest of ideas to be backing them, even though I think they’ll cover.

Prediction: St Etienne 2-0 Bastia NO BET

Wednesday Ligue 1 – Pre Match Analysis & Picks

Bastia – Evian

It’s been remarkable how much better Bastia have been since they sacked Claude Makelele. At the time I thought it was an extremely harsh decision and that his players had let him down, but maybe the ex Real Madrid star was root of their problems! Since his departure, they played very well in two home games facing Montpellier (2-0) and Lyon (0-0), whilst on Saturday they were extremely unlucky to lose at Reims. The team is really fighting hard and seems to have regained some of it’s Corsican spirit. I would say they have an excellent chance of beating Evian tonight, this is just the sort of fixture a team like Bastia should be winning. The visitors are one of the poorest teams in Ligue 1 and actually possess the worst away record in the entire division. ETG won on Sunday at home to Guingamp but that means they’ve had a day less to prepare, and now they have to travel all the way to Corsica which isn’t ideal. Overall, I think Bastia will be sharper, up for it more and claim 3 points. This is one bet I really like tonight and taking them -0.25 makes a ton of sense IMO.

Prediction: Bastia 2-0 Evian
Recommended bet: Bastia -0.25 @ 1.90 6/10

Guingamp – Caen

Really big match between a couple of relegation candidates and it’s difficult to say which way it’ll go. Guingamp have lost a whopping 11/15 games this season which is a staggering amount. They are lucky they have won 4 times or else they’d be rock bottom of the table by a large distance. However, I don’t feel that the Breton outfit are quite as bad as their record suggests and the Europa League has definitely had real negative impact on their results and performances. The squad has struggled to juggle domestic and continental affairs, although it’s worth nothing they have generally played well in their midweek European fixtures. So does that mean they’ll put up a good display tonight? Well, maybe, but Caen will be much the fresher squad. I have an awful feeling that this Guingamp outfit are running on fumes at the moment and are on the verge of suffering complete burnout. I can’t bet on either team in this fixture and I’m going to predict a draw. Honestly though, I don’t have much of a clue and no result would surprise me. Overs is maybe worth considering because Caen play very open and often suck opponents into shootouts. Guingamp would much rather operate defensively though and often struggle to score goals.

Prediction: Guingamp 2-2 Caen NO BET

Metz – Bordeaux

Metz are currently situated in the relative safety of midtable, but only thanks to a great home form They have a 4-2-1 record at Le Stade Saint Symphorien and only PSG have managed to beat them here. But how long can they live off home points? Some of their recent performances on the road have been awful and this puts a lot of pressure on them to produce the goods in front of their own fans. Recent defeat at Toulouse and Lens were truly awful. On Saturday, Lens completely blew them out of the water and this was very worrying because Les Sang et Or are a pretty poor outfit themselves. Bordeaux are a bit of a weird team and have had problems on the road at times this season. But usually midweek rounds will always suit teams who have the better squad and there’s no doubt Les Girondins have more quality in their ranks. Statistically Metz might be value here and it’s hard to argue with their home record. But I can’t get their recent worrying displays out of my mind and my gut feeling is that Bordeaux will take the win tonight. No bet for me here.

Prediction: Metz 0-1 Bordeaux NO BET

Montpellier – St Etienne

Sainte picked up a massive result at the weekend, beating their arch rivals Lyon 3-0 for the first time at home in more than 20 years. So obviously that was a massive high for them and I actually think it could be difficult tonight facing Montpellier. It could be a case of ‘after the lord mayors show’ for Sainte because this is not an easy trip. MHSC aren’t playing their fixtures at Le Mosson any more this year, instead they are based at the city’s rugby stadium which has a weird atmosphere. They do however have a fairly good record here and are quite capable on their day of beating anyone. I don’t think this match will be a classic by any means but I could see Montpellier grinding out at least a draw. I’m not sure sure they should be such a clear underdog and I quite like taking a piece of them +0.25 tonight. I don’t expect the visitors to be at their best, and it doesn’t help they are missing a few players to injury either.

Prediction: Montpellier 1-0 St Etienne
Recommended bet: Montpellier +0.25 @ 1.80 4/10

Nice – Rennes

This seems like a really tough match to call and it’s capable of going either way. Both sides haven’t looked too bad recently and have shown an ability to keep things fairly tight at the back. Rennes have really turned into a ‘result team’ under Philippe Montanier and have to be respected for grinding out a score when they need too. Of course, they do also have plenty of attacking quality in their ranks, someone like PG Ntep can win matches on his own for them. Overall, I think this is going to be a really tight affair and it’s definitely a 0-0 candidate. If either team is to win, then one goal would probably be enough. Rennes would be that most likely winner, but I’m not confident enough to back them, even on a DNB handicap. This feels like a game best swerved and I have no interest in laying down any money on the affair.

Prediction: Nice 0-0 Rennes NO BET

Lille – PSG

Lille’s form is horrific. They’ve lost 5 of their last 6 ligue games and hardly done much better in Europe either. Rene Girard’s men are the lowest scorers in the entire ligue, yet to even reach a double figure goals tally for the season! Les Dogues lack much of a cutting edge in the final third of the field, although in defence and midfield they are still technically strong on paper. I don’t know, maybe this is a match in which they can surprise and maybe sneak a draw. They are a complete underdog and nobody expects anything of them tonight, even their own fans. I actually think they can avoid defeat. PSG aren’t in particularly good form and miss key man Ibrahimovic tonight. Yes, it’s true Les Parisians have won 9 straight matches in all competitions but in terms of performances, they haven’t actually been that impressive. Unless they improve, then sooner or later someone is either going to beat them, or at least draw. Lille have the ability to keep things tight, so a 0-0 or 1-1 isn’t out of the question. I’m not going to bet here but PSG definitely aren’t a banker that some people might think.

Prediction: Lille 1-1 PSG NO BET

Tuesday – Ligue 1 Pre Match Analysis & Picks

Lorient – Marseille

I look at this game and there are probably enough reasons not to back Marseille pre match. The Mediterranean giants have obviously been brilliant this season, winning a lot of matches and still find themselves top of the table. It’s worth noting however that they’ve lost their last 3 away games in all competitions and miss a key player tonight – Nicolas Nkoulou. The Cameroonian central defender lost his way a bit in the last year or so, but this season has been back to his best and could be missed at the back. Marseille also have Andre Ayew injured and they could ideally do with having him back soon. Lorient will definitely ‘have a go’ here and attack OM. This could prove to be a poor tactic, but on the other hand it might yield them a goal or two. The hosts know they aren’t going to get a result by keeping it tight, they have to outscore OM or keep up pace with them and hope for something like a 1-1 or 2-2.

Lorient didn’t impress me in the first 10 matches of the season and new coach Sylvain Ripoll looked out of his depth. However, I’m starting to change my mind about Les Merlus. They were very unlucky to lose against PSG and Rennes, and followed that up with a couple of fine wins against Lens and Toulouse. Their 2nd half at the weekend in the violet city was very impressive and they should have momentum following that success. Marseille have more quality, are in superb form and have had one extra day of rest, logically they should win this game. But I feel there are enough warning signs to avoid betting on them tonight, at least pre game anyway. The value isn’t quite there and my advice is for people to watch and see how the game goes, then maybe strike with an in-running bet. I expect Lorient to start strong and it’s possible OM could fall behind. Over 2.25 goals did interest me a bit, but the price isn’t quite there.

Prediction: Lorient 1-2 Marseille NO BET

Nantes – Toulouse

What on earth has happened with Toulouse’s form? That is the big question at the the moment and Alain Casanova’s men have shockingly lost 5 of their last 6 games. It’s not as if they’ve been facing that many great teams either during this period, the likes of Lens and Lorient have all managed to beat them which is extremely worrying and also uncharacteristic for them under the guidance of Casanova. The main problem has been failure to convert chances and being leaky at the back. TFC are renowned for being a solid side, but they look extremely leaky at the moment. Can Nantes take advantage? Well, the big issue for Les Canaris is scoring goals so perhaps they won’t. Only 3 teams have scored less goals than Les Canaris, and considering they are 7th in the table, this is a little unusual. The main reason why they are so high in the standings is because of their great defence which has only conceded 11 goals in 15 games (2nd best record out of anyone). I think they will just about sneak a win here, but I’m a little bit put off by their home record of only 3 out of 8 wins. Too many draws has hindered their progress and Toulouse will maybe prefer the role of underdog. On form though, Nantes should get the job done. I’m not going to bet on them pre match, but I expect the hosts to prevail.

Prediction: Nantes 1-0 Toulouse NO BET

Monaco – Lens

I don’t see how anyone could trust Monaco right now. Their form domestically has been pretty poor all season and it seems they have reserved their best displays only for the Champions League. Les Monegasques are languishing as low as 10th in the table and have the 5th worst home record out of anyone. The likes of Caen, Reims, Lorient and Nice have all managed to pick up something from their trips to Le Stade Louis II this season, so maybe Len can as well! On paper, Monaco should have enough quality to see them off here but the visitors played extremely well on Sunday against Metz, which should fill them with a lot of confidence. They have nothing to lose tonight and have no pressure on their shoulders. All the expectation is on Monaco, not just to win but also to play well. This is not a situation they will enjoy and I can definitely see them struggling tonight. It wouldnt surprise me in the slightest if Lens avoided defeat and if Monaco win then it’ll probably be close. I’m not going to bet on the game because I don’t trust Lens with my money on the road, but watch out for them here.

Prediction: Monaco 1-1 Lens NO BET