Julien Laurens' Ligue 1 Betting: Cavani to double up against Nancy and Balotelli could be benched by Nice

PSG - Nancy - Saturday 4:00PM

Four days before their trip to Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday, PSG host Nancy at the Parc des Princes on Saturday afternoon. The French champions are still three points behind the leaders Monaco in the table and they cannot afford any mistakes or drop any points. With a win, they would be level with Monaco and put pressure on them as they only play on Sunday evening against Nantes.

PSG beat second division Nitre in midweek in the last-16 of the French Cup (2-0) and Unai Emery used this match to rotate. The big players like Cavani, Verratti, Di Maria, Thiago Silva or Rabiot should be back for the game against Nancy though. However, Emery will also have the Barça game in mind and might field a mixed starting XI to keep some players fresh for the huge European clash.

The Parisians clearly have a lot of momentum at the moment. They are unbeaten since December 17 and humiliated their archrivals Marseille away at the Stade Vélodrome last weekend (5-1) after yet another exceptional performance. They have won 13 games and drawn two since that defeat in December. Most importantly, Emery has passed on to his players a winning mentality and the desire to win at all costs. Before, the PSG players were often complacent. Not anymore. So they won’t take this game for granted but will put on a big display even if recently the home games have been tough for Paris with a few draws (Monaco, Toulouse) and a last minute win (Lille). 

Nancy haven’t won in five league matches (four defeats and a draw), and haven’t scored for 476 minutes (8 hours)! They are currently 15th in the table but just a point above Dijon in 18th. They need points badly but despite a pretty good record lately in Paris (only one defeat in their last four visits), they know it will be very hard for them on Saturday. They should play with five at the back and will hope that the Parisians will already have their minds on the Barcelona clash. However, I think PSG will beat Nancy easily.

The odds are massively in favour of PSG with a home win at 1.14. The draw is at 8.00 and a Nancy away win is at 21.00.

Edinson Cavani is favourite to score first at 2.80. My best tip is Edinson Cavani to score a brace at 3.00.

Score prediction: PSG 3 Nancy 0 at 6.30


Dijon - Nice - Saturday 7:00PM

Nice travel to Dijon on Saturday evening in a tricky game for the team second in the table. Dijon have been playing very well against the big sides this season and it will a tough fight for Nice this weekend. However, they can put pressure on Monaco who only play on Sunday evening against Nantes. With a win at Dijon, Nice will go level with the league leaders. So it is a big opportunity to stay in the title race.

Mario Balotelli is back from suspension after missing last weekend’s win against Montpellier (2-1). In this match, Mickael Le Bihan, who had not played in Ligue 1 for 17 months, came on and scored a brace to give Nice the three points. It was an incredible story again for Nice, a team full of them this season. With Alassane Plea ruled out until the end of the season too, it is important for manager Lucien Favre to have Balotelli back, but will he start him? There is a lot of tension at the moment around the Italian striker, as players and manager admit he is not making enough effort for the team. Right back Ricardo Pereira is also still out for Nice but Souquet has done well replacing him.

Favre should keep his 4-3-3 formation on Saturday with Belhanda and Eysseric on the wings. Malang Sarr could be recalled to the squad after being dropped last week following some poor performances.

For Dijon, manager Olivier Dall’Oglio has some players missing through injury (Lees Melou, Abeid, Martin) but Marié is back from suspension. This is a huge game for the club, currently 18th in the table but only a point behind 17th place and ready to fight to stay up. Dijon have been good at home with only three defeats in thirteen league matches so far this season. They beat Lyon (4-2) and drew with Monaco (1-1) for example already this season. They will be well organised in their 4-4-2 formation, will work very hard, play hard. Their two strikers (Tavares and Diony) have been excellent this season. However, Diony got sent off last weekend in the Nantes defeat (3-1) and will miss this game. It is a huge blow for Dijon and I think they will struggle offensively without him. So I think Nice will win this game.

The odds are in favour of Nice with an away win at 2.30. A draw is at 3.20 and a Dijon home win is at 3.30.

Mario Balotelli is favourite to score first at 5.50. My best tip is Nice to win without conceding a goal at 3.85

Score prediction: Dijon 0 Nice 2 at 11.50