Monaco - Lorient - Sunday 16.00 GMT
Monaco face Lorient at home on Sunday afternoon. They continued their slow start of the season last weekend with a narrow win away at minnows Ajaccio. They didn’t play well at all and even conceded a few chances in a game they should have dominated.
The team is still trying to adapt to a tough summer with a lot of key players leaving and a lot of new players arriving. At least they kept a clean sheet which is an an improvement after conceding a lot of goals since the start of the season. They need to get back to being really solid and organised at the back.
They missed Jeremy Toulalan last weekend and he should miss this game as well. He didn’t travel to Anderlecht in the Europa League on Thursday. Monaco drew 1-1 and their focus went quickly back to the league where they need points to improve their position in the table (only 8th before Week 6). This is a good game for them to finally kick start their season.
They expect Lorient to defend deep and try to hit them on the counter attack. They will have to be really careful. Once again they will rely a lot on Bernardo Silva, their playmaker but they need to find goals. They have only scored four times in five Ligue 1 games, So far Stephan El Shaarawy and Guido Carrillo have been disappointing.
At least they will have Joao Moutinho back. The Portuguese midfielder got injured a few weeks ago in the Champions League playoffs first leg against Valencia and the team has missed him massively. It is a great boost that he is back for this league after taking part to the game in midweek too. He will not be totally 100% but psychologically, it is very important for Monaco to have him back.
Lorient will have nothing to lose. They are already fighting not to be in the bottom three. They were in 17th place before Week 6 thanks to their first victory of the season last weekend at home against Angers (3-1). They redeemed themselves after their heavy 4-1 defeat away at Reims in Week 4. They are struggling to keep a clean sheet though. And despite their surprise win at the Stade Louis II last season (2-1) on the opening day, Lorient have always struggled there: one draw and seven defeats in their eight other visits.
I think they will lose again on Sunday and Monaco will finally score a few goals, winning by at least two.
The odds are massively in favour of Monaco with a home win at 1.62. A draw is at 3.80 and a Lorient away win is at 5.90.
Carrillo is favourite to score first at 5.30. My best tip is Monaco to win both halves at 4.50.
Score prediction: Monaco 3 Lorient 1 at 17.00
Marseille - Lyon - Sunday 20.00 GMT
This is the big clash of the weekend in Ligue 1 - the Olympico as we call it in France, between Olympique de Marseille and Olympique Lyonnais on Sunday at the Stade Vélodrome.
There is always a lot of tension in these games. They are big rivals even if it is not a proper derby. They have both started their season slowly. Marseille are only 11th before this game after three defeats in five league games. But they have won their last two home matches under new manager Michel and in an emphatic way as well: 6-0 against Troyes and 4-1 against Bastia last weekend.
They have been very good going forward under the Spaniard. Their attacks are more controlled and varied than under Bielsa who left the club after the first game of the season. The players are still adapting to Michel’s new methods and this is a huge test for the coach and the players.
Marseille played in the Europa League on Thursday and impressively won 3-0 at Groningen in Holland. Lassana Diarra didn’t travel so he could rest ahead of this big clash. Everybody else is also available for this match on Sunday. The atmosphere will be incredible and Michel will field his strongest XI available. Alessandrini was superb in the win against Bastia, like Diarra and Lucas Silva, the young Brazilian on loan from Real Madrid. They will have a key role to play on Sunday like Michy Batshuayi, the Belgian striker. The team relies a lot on him as he is the only real striker in the squad. Michel rotated a bit in midweek but l’OM had one day less to rest than Lyon.
The visitors played on Wednesday in the Champions League in Belgium against Gent (1-1) and were very disappointing. They played at 11 men against nine and could not win.
Alexandre Lacazette epitomised their bad evening. He could not score his first goal of the season and missed a penalty in the dying minutes to win the game. It was a bad night for l’OL. At least they didn’t lose, but it is their second draw in a row and they would have hoped for a better preparation prior to this clash in Marseille.
The absence of Nabil Fekir is a massive blow and they haven’t found a way to play without him yet. At least, Hubert Fournier has everybody else available (apart from long term injuries like Grenier). But he is short up front where Beauvue and Lacazette are his only established centre forwards. Mathieu Valbuena will be back against his former club, and the reception should be hostile but I fancy him to score. Fournier could decide to go only one up front though and change his usual 4-3-1-2 to a more balanced 4-2-3-1 maybe. Lyon have a good record in Marseille recently with only two defeats in their last six visits.
Apart from the 0-0 from last season, this fixture is always very exciting with a lot of goals. There will be loads of goals on Sunday, one from Valbuena, with a draw at the end.
The odds are slightly in favour of Marseille with a home win at 2.20. A draw is at 3.40 and an away win for Lyon is at 3.30.
Michy Batshuayi is favourite to score first at 5.50. My best tip is Mathieu Valbuena to score at 7.50.
Score prediction: Marseille 2 Lyon 2 at 17.00