Angers – Monaco – Sunday 16.00 GMT
This is a very interesting game between Angers (5th in the table) and Monaco (2nd) on Saturday afternoon. It is the big clash of the top of the table in Ligue 1 this weekend and is quite hard to call.
Monaco are on a good run at the moment with only one league defeat, away at Bordeaux, in their last 16 matches. They have scored at least one goal in 17 or their last 18 league matches and their 4-0 demolition of Toulouse last weekend at home was their best performance of the season so far. So they are full of confidence and momentum despite all the injuries as nine players are out, including Toulalan, Lemar, Traoré and Cavaleiro.
They have just signed a very promising Brazilian defender Emerson, who won’t play this weekend, but Vagner Love, their other big signing of the month, could make his debut for l’ASM. He could bring a lot to the team.
Leonardo Jardim’s players are performing much better offensively and are more and more solid defensively as well. They are a solid second in the table, despite having only three more points than Nice in 3rd and want to stay there to get a place in the Champions League next season. Monaco are the second best team in the league away from home behind PSG, but this is a tricky game for them away at Angers.
The promoted side is the big surprise of the season so far. They were heavily beaten last weekend in Paris (5-1) because they tried to play and were left too open at the back and got punished. But they will revert to what they know best: being well organised and defending well as a unit.
They will make life very difficult for Monaco on Saturday. They have lost only one league game at home this season, winning four and drawing six. They have only conceded four goals though in 11 Ligue 1 games on their ground, which is the best home record in the league so far, even better than PSG’s seven.
Angers will fight hard and will get a draw, I think.
The odds are in favour of Monaco with an away win at 2.35. A draw is at 3.05 and an Angers home win is at 3.40.
Guido Carrillo is favourite to score first at 6.50. My best tip is a draw and both teams to score at 5.00.
Score prediction: Angers 1 Monaco 1 at 6.75
Bastia – Lyon – Sunday 19.00 GMT
Lyon travel to Bastia on Saturday evening in a really tricky game for them. They got a point against Marseille last weekend (1-1) after a good performance but were also lucky that the referee’s decisions went for them.
They are going through a tough period, even if they are playing a bit better under new manager Bruno Genesio who replaced Hubert Fournier just after Christmas.
L’OL have only won one of their last nine Ligue 1 matches, losing six of them with two draws. They are only 9th in the table and they have a real fight on their hands to finish in the Top three.
They need to put on a good run of results now. So this is a crucial game for them especially with teams from the top of the table facing each other like St Etienne and PSG, Angers and Monaco and Caen and Nice. It is a good opportunity for Lyon to crawl back towards the top of the table but for that they will need a win. And their record in Corsica is not that great, with only one win in their last sixth visits to the Furiani stadium.
For Bastia, it has been a tough week.
The Corsicans, 15th in the table, are in a big relegation fight and their defeat in the last second of the game last weekend at Guingamp after a mistake by the referee was a huge blow. They finished the game with nine men as well.
The club decided to sack their manager Ghislain Printant this week and replaced him by François Ciccolini, his former assistant. So the players will want to impress the new manager but the team is weakened. Four players are suspended and they are all key players: Cahuzac, Modesto, Fofana and Ayité. They also have a few injuries but the ones who will play will give their everything and fight hard.
However, I think it won’t be enough for Bastia to even get a point. I see a Lyon win on Saturday.
The odds are massively in favour of Lyon with an away win at 1.70. A draw is at 3.50 and a Bastia home win is at 5.25.
Alexandre Lacazette is favourite to score first at 4.35. My best tip is Lyon to score in both halves at 3.15.
Score prediction: Bastia 0 Lyon 2 at 8.50