Marseille – Nice – Sunday 16.00 GMT
This is a big derby in France. The two cities are very close and the two sets of fans really hate each other. It will be a cracking game as well at the Velodrome on Sunday and in a wonderful atmosphere.
Marseille played on Thursday in the Europa League against Braga (1-0) and won their third game in a row in all competitions. Their recovery is going well after no wins in their seven previous matches. But it is all fragile and Michel and his players will have to solidify the foundations. They will need to play better than in the last few games.
Marseille are still only 12th in the table so they need points quickly. They have been defending better in the last few games but offensively they could do better. Michy Batshuayi is their key player after scoring 8 league goals in 12 league games but he has been too much on his one for most of the season so far. Marseille need more from Cabella, Alessandrini, Barrada or Nkoudou.
They will be under pressure to deliver on Sunday in a game that their fans really want them to win. At least, they have some momentum going into this game and have kept two clean sheets in a row as well. But their home record is poor lately with no victory in their last three Ligue 1 matches at the Velodrome.
For Nice, the last few weeks have been tough. They were the revelation of the start of the season and were fourth in the table at some point. But two defeats and a draw in their last three league games meant they have dropped to eighth in the table and the team has lost a bit of confidence.
But they will still be very dangerous offensively with Hatem Ben Arfa, coming back to Marseille, his former club and boosted by his first call up with France on Thursday for the first time in three years. I think they will be lots of goals in this game as the two teams are very offensive and I see a draw in the end.
The odds are in favour of Marseille with a home win at 1.72. The draw is at 3.70 and a Nice away win is at 5.00.
Batshuayi is favourite to score first at 4.80 but my best tip is over 3.5 goals scored at 2.90. I fancy Hatem Ben Arfa to score at anytime too at 4.10
Score prediction: Marseille 2 Nice 2 – 16.00
Lyon - St Etienne – Sunday 20.00 GMT
This is the big game of the weekend in Ligue 1, the Rhone derby between arch-enemies Lyon and St Etienne on Sunday night at the Stade Gerland.
Both clubs played in Europe in midweek, Lyon in the Champions League and St Etienne in Europa League, and Lyon didn’t prepare for this clash well at all, with another defeat (2-0) against Zenit. They were not good enough on the day and showed their limits. They have to quickly focus on the league now because this could prove a crucial game for them. For the first time this season, they are in top three, in second place in the table, but they have not been convincing at all. And they are only ahead of St Etienne, 4th, on goal difference.
Alexandre Lacazette is still struggling and Mathieu Valbuena is at the heart of a sextape scandal involving Karim Benzema as well. Defensively, they were all over the place in midweek. Their confidence is low at the moment but the motivation should not be difficult to find. This is a game you can’t lose as the rivalry and hatred between the two clubs are so fierce. But Lyon don’t have a good home record in the derby lately: they have won only one of their last seven home encounters with St Etienne.
However, despite the statistics, St Etienne will not be favourites at Gerland on Sunday and it is a status that suits them. Being the underdogs has worked for them lately in this encounter and, unlike Lyon, you can feel that Les Verts are more ready for it, once again, this season. They had a very convincing win on Thursday in the Europa League against Dnipro (3-0).
Despite a dip of form earlier last month, they won four their last five games in all competitions. Robert Beric, the striker who signed in the summer, is in good form too with two goals in his last two matches. I think St Etienne will continue their great run of form against Lyon with a draw on Sunday.
The odds are in favour of Lyon with a home win at 1.90. A draw is at 3.50 and a St Etienne away win is at 4.20.
Lacazette is favourite to score first at 4.90. My best tip is a draw and both teams to score at 4.90.
Score prediction: Lyon 1 St Etienne 1 – 7.50
Bordeaux – Monaco – Sunday 20.00 GMT
Bordeaux are in big trouble before hosting Monaco on Sunday evening. Willy Sagnol and his men are 14th in the table and have won only one of their last seven games in all competitions.
Their defeat at Ajaccio last weekend was a disgrace. They didn’t compete at all in this game and Sagnol was not happy at all. The fans were not happy and gave the team a hostile reception at the airport on their return to Bordeaux. The crisis is big but the players showed some reaction in the Europa League on Thursday with a 1-1 draw away at Sion in Switzerland, where they deserved to win.
They will have to do even better on Sunday against Monaco. They will be under pressure as the fans will expect a reaction. They are capable of playing well, like they showed earlier in the season against Lyon (3-1). But too often, they have put on poor performances. They really need a reaction and they need to score more. They have netted only four times in their last seven games. The return of Diabaté up front is a very good thing. Thomas Touré also had a very good game on Thursday.
On the other hand, Monaco are showing more signs of form and of the old Monaco, the one of last season which was solid and efficient.
They have not lost since the 20th of September, a nine game unbeaten run. They are now 6th in the table after their poor start of the season. The manager Leonardo Jardim has found his best team now and despite the injury of Thomas Lemar, their player of the season so far, they are still going strong.
Bordeaux is usually a tough ground for them, despite two wins in their last three visits there, but I fancy them to get a point.
The odds are quite even with a Bordeaux home win at 2.35. A draw is at 3.15 and a Monaco away win is at 3.25.
Cheikh Diabaté is favourite to score first at 6.25. My best tip is a draw and both teams to score at 4.75.
Score prediction: Bordeaux 1 Monaco 1 – 7.00