Lyon – Caen – Saturday 13:00 GMT
Lyon host Caen on Sunday afternoon in their new ground. Things seem to finally be clicking for Lyon under new manager Bruno Genesio. L’OL won at Angers (3-0) last weekend, four days after beating Bordeaux at home by the same scoreline. They did lose to PSG in midweek in the French Cup (3-0) but they already had their minds on this game against Caen. It could prove a crucial game for them with St Etienne and Monaco facing each other on Sunday and Nice hosting Marseille too.
Lyon are now sixth in the table and will be looking to close the gap on their opponents. It is a great opportunity for them but they need to beat Caen first.
Alexandre Lacazette has been playing very well lately, slowly regaining his form from last season when he was on fire. Nabil Fekir’s absence is still a big issue but he should be back in early April. Genesio has managed to get the players’ confidence back and despite the defeat in Paris, things have really improved. The players will have to continue on Sunday in a tricky game though.
Caen have an interesting record recently in Lyon with a win, a draw and a defeat in their last three visits. They are doing well away from home (five wins, two draws and five defeats), with the sixth best record in the league. But they are not in good form at all. They have struggled for good results recently. They have only won two of their last eleven matches in all competitions and have lost their last two league games. So it will be very difficult for them in Lyon and I can’t see them taking a point there on Sunday.
The odds are massively in favour of Lyon with a home win at 1.53. A draw is at 3.90 and a Caen away win is at 7.10.
Alexandre Lacazette is favourite to score first at 4.10. My best tip is Mathieu Valbuena to score at 4.70.
Score prediction: Lyon 2 Caen 0 at 7.50
St Etienne – Monaco - Sunday 16:00 GMT
Monaco won the Riviera derby against Nice last weekend almost at the death and now they travel to St Etienne on Sunday for another big clash. It is fourth vs second and St Etienne are coming back strongly after a dip of form earlier this year. They were very good last weekend at Bordeaux (4-1).
The stadium will be full and les Verts can cut the gap with Monaco to just three points if they win. It is a big incentive in a superb race for the Champions League as nine teams can still finish second or third. Every point will be important and especially when you face another team fighting for these two places. That’s why this game is so important for St Etienne. They have good momentum after winning five of their last seven games in all competitions, with just one draw and one defeat against PSG, where they actually played very well. So they have confidence and their new signings are doing very well already. Soderlund and Tannane have integrated very quickly. It will be a very strong St Etienne team for sure on Sunday.
However, Monaco will be ready for a big fight too. They were knocked out of the French Cup in midweek by Ligue 2 team Sochaux. It was very disappointing from Monaco and they were not good enough and too complacent on the day. Leonardo Jardim was not happy at all with his players and he expects a big reaction on Sunday, in a crucial game.
A win and l’ASM would consolidate second place in a weekend with big games in the race for second and third, with Lyon playing Caen and Nice hosting Marseille. I think St Etienne and Monaco will draw.
The odds are quite even with a St Etienne home win at 2.55. A draw is at 3.05 and a Monaco away win is at 3.00.
Alexander Soderlund is favourite to score first at 6.50. My best tip is a draw with both teams to score at 4.60. Vagner Love to score at anytime at 3.50 is also interesting.
Score prediction: St Etienne 1 Monaco 1 at 6.40
Nice – Marseille – Saturday 20:00 GMT
Nice lost the derby against Monaco last weekend and now they host Marseille on Sunday evening in another big Mediterranean derby. The hatred between the two sets of fans is massive and the atmosphere will be great in the stadium.
Nice will be without their best player Hatem Ben Arfa who is out for a month with a thigh injury. It is a huge blow for Nice as he has scored 11 goals already in the league so far. He has a huge influence on the team and they will miss him massively. They have other strengths offensively, with Plea who is coming back from injury and Germain but HBA is a special player for them. The Nice midfielders will have an interesting battle with the Marseille ones, especially with Lassana Diarra who has been exceptional this season for l’OM. He was excellent against PSG last Sunday.
Nice are doing well at home with seven wins, a draw and four defeats so far this season - the last one against PSG back on December 4th. They have a good record recently against their rival at home: only one defeat in Marseille’s last five visits and they have won this derby for the last two seasons.
Marseille, 10th in the table, have been excellent away from home in the league this season, where they are unbeaten since October. Their record is impressive: six wins, three draws and only three defeats away from the Vélodrome in the league. They are in a good run with only one defeat in their last 13 matches in all competitions. They were unlucky to lose against PSG last weekend as they played some great football at times and showed more desire. Despite the defeat, they kept some momentum and have a full squad - even About Diaby is back!
The visitors have to win if they want to keep their hopes alive of finishing in the top three and I really fancy Marseille winning this derby.
The odds are in favour of Marseille with an away win at 2.35. A draw is at 3.25 and a Nice home win is at 3.15.
Mickey Batshuayi is favourite to score first at 5.75. My best tip is Marseille to win and both teams to score at 4.90.
Score prediction: Nice 1 Marseille 2 at 9.50