Julien Laurens' Ligue 1 Betting: Lyon To Edge Out Monaco In 'Champions League Final'


All matches kick off at 20.00 GMT Saturday

 

Lyon - Monaco

This is not just the game of the weekend between Lyon and Monaco, it is one of the games of the season for sure as Lyon, second in the table, host Monaco, third but level on points with their opponents.

With only two games to go, including this one, it is a final to finish 2nd and qualify directly for the Champions League next season. It is the 30 million euros match. It’s a huge game.

Lyon have to be favourites. They are unbeaten in their new stadium since moving in in January (seven wins and two draws). They are unbeaten in their last nine league matches home and away too (seven wins and two draws too).

Bruno Genesio, who took over as manager in December, has turned things round brilliantly. Not long ago, Lyon were ten points behind Monaco in the table but they came back thanks to their form in those last nine league matches.

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Mathieu Valbuena should be ruled out with a thigh injury but it is not a big deal as Lyon have played much better without him. Maxwel Cornet, his replacement in the starting line-up, is fit and only Corentin Tolisso is missing. Lyon have a great home record in Ligue 1 against Monaco, with only one defeat in their last 10 encounters in Lyon.

So it is a big challenge for Monaco to go there on Saturday and bring something back. Draw, and it will all be down to the last game of the season with Monaco hosting Montpellier, already safe, while Lyon will travel to Reims who will probably still be fighting to stay up.

Monaco’s form has not been good recently with just three wins in the last nine Ligue 1 matches. They have lost two of their last five games when they had lost only two in their previous 19. They are not as solid defensively and are not scoring enough offensively.

Vagner Love should be called back in the starting lineup but Joao Moutinho and Jeremy Toulalan might not be ready which would be a huge blow. Monaco will draw inspiration in their win away in Paris back at the end of March where they were very efficient on the counter attack. However, I think Lyon, in their stadium and in a great atmosphere, will be too strong for them and will win this ‘final.’

The odds are massively in favour of Lyon with a home win at 1.80. A draw is at 3.65 and a Monaco away win is at 4.50.

Alexandre Lacazette is favourite to score first at 4.75. My best tip is Lyon to win and both teams to score at 3.65.

Score prediction: Lyon 2 Monaco 1 at 8.50

 

Gazelec Ajaccio - PSG

PSG, already champions, travel to Corsica to face Gazelec Ajaccio on Saturday evening and the Parisians will be looking to finish the league on a high in their last three games (they have a game in hand) before focusing on the French Cup final on May 21st against Marseille.

Paris destroyed Rennes last weekend at home, showing that they were very much still motivated and concentrated on the league despite having nothing to play for there anymore after wrapping up the title ages ago. So you can expect them to be up for it at Ajaccio on Saturday. They want to beat their points tally from last season and a win will do that.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic wants to break the club’s record of most goals in a domestic season. The Swede is on 34 at the moment, just three less than Carlos Bianchi who scored 37 in 1978. Ibra will also be mindful of the all-time record number of goals scored in a single French top flight season held by Marseille’s Josip Skoblar with 44. He is still 10 behind but with three games to go, he will not give up on it! Marco Verratti is a doubt for the game but Laurent Blanc is expected to line up a very strong team.

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It is the first time that PSG will travel to Ajaccio to play the Gazelec, and if the Parisians have nothing to play for anymore, it’s the total opposite for the Corsicans.

They need points as they are in the middle of a big fight to stay up. They are just a point clear of the bottom three before this weekend and they will put on a proper fight to get something from this game. They need to play the perfect game, put PSG under pressure, be aggressive, solid defensively and efficient offensively.

It is easier said than to do but they believe they can do it. The atmosphere in the stadium will be immense. It is arguably the biggest game in the club’s history. They will play for a draw on Saturday. However, despite all the desire and motivation, I don’t think they will get anything from this game.

The odds are massively in favour of PSG with an away win at 1.48. The draw is at 4.40 and a Gazelec home win is at 6.70.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is favourite to score first at 3.55. My best tip is PSG to win with both teams to score at 2.90.

Score prediction: Ajaccio 1 PSG 3 at 12.00

 

Marseille - Reims

Marseille, who host Reims on Saturday at the Stade Vélodrome, have finally won a football match, last weekend away at Angers (1-0)!

It was not a brilliant performance but they got three crucial points and are now safe and back a bit higher in the table (13th against 16th before their victory at Angers). Their last win was back in early February and ten Ligue 1 matches ago. But the situation is still very bad at home where they have not won since September! They have only won twice at home in the league this season!

They will draw encouragement in their performance in Angers. It was far from perfect but there was more desire and movement than before and it was a good win for the confidence of the players. Now, the priority is the French Cup final against PSG on May 21st and the last two league matches will be used to prepare the final.

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Lassana Diarra is still not back, and Nicolas Nkoulou is still suspended but they did well without them last weekend. Michy Batshuayi scored and showed some glimpse of his talent too. It was important for him and Franck Passi, the interim manager, will use the Belgian alongside the Scotsman Steven Fletcher once again on Saturday.

For Reims, it is the biggest game of the season. They have been dreadful, they sacked their manager not long ago (the one who saved them last season) and are in big trouble. They play in Marseille this weekend and then host Lyon at home in the last game of the campaign.

It is the toughest schedule for the teams at the bottom of the table. But the Rémois have a fantastic record away in Marseille with a draw last season, a win two years ago and another draw the year before that.

However, they have lost six of their last eight matches with one win against Nantes and a draw away at Monaco (2-2). They will try to reproduce this kind of performance on Saturday in Marseille but they have lost a lot of confidence and I can’t see them winning over there.

The odds are massively in favour of Marseille with a home win at 1.82. A draw is at 3.70 and a Reims away win is at 4.30.

Batshuayi is favourite to score first at 4.90. My best tip is Marseille to win both halves at 5.20.

Score prediction: Marseille 2 Reims 0 at 10.00