Nantes - PSG
PSG got back to winning ways on Tuesday evening at home against Guingamp after two league draws in a row. They now take on Nantes away on Saturday afternoon before the return of the Champions League.
It was not a vintage performance against Guingamp. They didn’t play great football and they scored two goals in the last ten minutes. But the most important thing was to win. They controlled the game and played at 30% of their ability but it was enough. Di Maria scored his first Ligue 1 game for PSG and Ibrahimovic netted his first of the season. Psychologically, it will be a big boost for him and for the team. His goal drought lasted 502 minutes, his longest since joining PSG. This goal will probably kick start his season, even if he is still not totally 100% after his recent injuries.
Paris still have a lot of room for improvement. They didn’t seem to take the game really seriously on Tuesday, which could explain the lack of brilliance in their display. Di Maria also needs to get to know his new team-mates and with a bit more time, the collective should be much stronger.
PSG have a good record away at Nantes with three league wins in a row at the Stade de la Beaujoire. Their last defeat there was in 2004. However, they always find it difficult there. They are not always comfortable with the physicality of the Nantes players. Some players may have their eyes and minds on the Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk away in Ukraine next week. They are always more to the bigger games and they may not be totally focused on their trip to Nantes.
Laurent Blanc should also make a few changes. Thiago Silva and Marco Verratti should be back, Serge Aurier as well at right back, while Ibra could be rested.
For Nantes, the season has been very difficult so far. They stand in 17th place before hosting the leaders. They have only won two games so far this season and are struggling to score. They will have Adryan and Sigthorsson suspended for this game too. It will be a big task to get something out of this game and Michel Der Zakarian has asked for his players to be very aggressive on Saturday. I don’t think it will be enough though and PSG will get a narrow win.
The odds are massively in favour of PSG with an away win at 1.40. The draw is at 4.40 and a Nantes home win is at 9.25.
Edinson Cavani is favourite to score first at 3.65 but my best tip is Angel Di Maria to score at anytime at 4.70.
Score prediction: Nantes 0 PSG 1 at 5.80
Bordeaux – Lyon
Lyon travel to Bordeaux on Saturday afternoon and they prepared this game with a good win at home against Bastia on Wednesday. It won’t be as easy at Bordeaux but the victory against the Corsicans was good for the confidence, three days after the tough draw at Marseille.
Lyon can thank their new findings from their excellent academy. Aldo Kalulu, only 19 years old, scored his first Ligue 1 goal on his first Ligue 1 start. He took his goal very well and showed a lot of very good things throughout the game. He was Lyon’s best player, starting alongside Alexandre Lacazette up front in the usual 4-3-1-2. He should be on the bench come Saturday with Claudio Beauvue coming back in the starting XI after being on the bench in midweek. But Kalulu showed that he could do a good job while Nabil Fekir is out until March after his knee injury, and he'll have to here given that Lacazette is not in the squad.
Overall, if Lyon are not yet back to their flowing best of last season, there are improving game after game, especially collectively. But this is a big game for them. They are unbeaten away from home so far this season and they have a good record recently away at Bordeaux, where they have registered a victory in their last three visits, scoring 11 goals and only conceding one. Their 5-0 win there last season was one of the games of the year in Ligue 1. However, they won’t take this game for granted.
Lacazette is still not back to his best, there are some players missing (Yanga Mbiwa, Rafael, Fekir, Bedimo) but at least Valbuena should be back.
For Bordeaux, this is an even more important game. Les Girondins were humiliated in midweek at Nice, losing 6-1 after scoring the first goal of the game. They produced a shocking performance and they need to bounce back on Saturday.
Under manager Willy Sagnol, they have always reacted after a heavy defeat and when needed for a big game. This is a massive match for them as they are only 16th in the table after a very inconsistent start. They were too poor defensively in midweek and they need to be more solid. Sagnol criticised the players publicly and asked for a reaction. I think he will get it, even without Crivelli (suspended) and Diabaté (injured) up front, and with the Champions League coming up for Lyon, I can see Bordeaux winning this match.
The odds are even with a Bordeaux home win at 2.80. The draw is at 3.10 and a Lyon away win at 2.70.
My best tip is over 2.5 goals scored at 2.23.
Score prediction: Bordeaux 2 Lyon 1 is 12.00