Lyon – Troyes –16:00 GMT
Lyon start 2016 against Troyes on Saturday in a brand new stadium, the Stade des Lumieres, in front of 60 000 fans. It will be a special day for the club as this is a 10 year project that has finally been completed. The club, the players and the fans are really looking forward to this game and the atmosphere will be exceptional. It will be an even more special day for Bruno Genesio. He is the new manager of the first team after Hubert Fournier was sacked before Christmas, following Lyon’s defeat at Ajaccio in the last game of 2015. It was a humiliating defeat and Fournier could not stay on. Genesio is Lyon through and through but he has never managed before. It will be interesting to see how he does after years of experience as an assistant.
Lyon are only ninth in the table but are just five points behind Caen in third place. So Champions League qualification is not impossible but they will need points quickly. This is a perfect game to start the New Year in the league. They have lost only once in seven home games against Troyes.
For his first league game in charge, Genesio has some injury worries. Nabil Fekir is obviously still out but so is Mathieu Valbuena. At least Alexandre Lacazette is fully fit now, as is Samuel Umtiti.
Lyon started 2016 with an easy win in the French Cup against a very low division club. More serious tasks await in the coming weeks but it will be important for Genesio and the players to start well in their brand new stadium.
For Troyes, it is a tough game to start the year. They are yet to win a single match in Ligue 1 this season. They are bottom of the table with only eight points, 13 behind the first team outside the bottom three. They look doomed and they are still without a manager since the sacking of Jean Marc Furlan a month ago. They look gone but they will keep fighting until the end and try to turn things around. However, I can’t see them getting anything out of this game. I expect Lyon to put on a very good performance.
The odds are massively in favour of Lyon with a home win at 1.32. A draw is at 5.25 and a Troyes away win is at 9.60.
Alexandre Lacazette is favourite to score first at 10.00. My best tip is Lyon to win both halves at 2.90.
Score prediction: Lyon 3 Troyes 0 at 10.00
Monaco - Gazelec Ajaccio – 19:00 GMT
Monaco the Ligue 1 year with a tough game at home against Gazelec Ajaccio on Saturday. Monaco are second in the table going into the New Year, after finishing 2015 with only one defeat in their last 13 league games. They haven’t been exceptional but by being efficient and well organised, they have managed to get back to the top after a bad start to the campaign.
However, there is a feeling that Monaco are still not convincing in their performances. They have lost only three times in Ligue 1 this season but they have only won eight times. Picking up eight draws as well. They will have to do better in 2016 to stay in the top three and qualify for the Champions League next season. They need to start with a win against Ajaccio in a tricky game.
The hosts will be without their striker Lacina Traore, who scored four goals in their 10-2 win against a very low division club in the French Cup last weekend before getting sent off. El Shaarawy should be heading back to Milan after his poor performances in the Monaco jersey and Carrillo is a doubt after a calf injury. But Leonardo Jardim will still be capable of playing a strong XI with Toulalan, Moutinho, Bernardo Silva, Dirar and Pasalic all available. They will be under pressure though because this is a game where Monaco cannot afford not to take the three points.
For Gazelec Ajaccio there is no pressure at all. The Corsicans were bottom of the table after 10 league games and without a win. They are now 12th, five points clear of the bottom three after an incredible run of nine league games without a defeat (six wins and three draws). They are unstoppable at the moment and will relish the challenge of traveling to Monaco on Saturday. I still think they will get beaten though as I expect Monaco to start playing better and be even tougher to beat.
The odds are in massive favour of Monaco with a home win at 1.52. A draw is at 4.00 and a Gazelec away win is at 7.00
L is favourite to score first at 5.10. My best tip is under than 1.5 goals scored at 2.95.
Score prediction: Monaco 1 Ajaccio 0 at 5.80