Lorient v Marseille, Sunday 2pm
Marseille, who travelled to Lorient on Sunday afternoon, have had a terrible week. They were humiliated at home by their arch rivals PSG last Sunday with a 5-1 defeat, their worst home loss since 1953 against Nimes (4-0). Then they lost again at home, against Monaco this time, on Wednesday evening in the French Cup (4-3 after extra time).
They played better in midweek than last weekend but were still not good enough. They need to bounce back urgently this Sunday at Lorient. It is one thing to lose against PSG and Monaco, the two best teams in the league, but they can’t afford not to win at Lorient, bottom of the table.
Monaco are currently seventh and in the race to finish fourth or fifth. They need to put on a good run of results together though and their fixture list is a good one (Lorient, Angers, Lille, Dijon). They still have some key players missing in Evra, Gomis and Sanson and they struggle without them.
Sakai and Bedimo are doubtful for Sunday but should be ok. Dimitri Payet is slowly getting back to his best. He scored a lovely goal on Wednesday but he still needs to do more for his team. He has to carry this team forward. Defensively, Marseille are still poor with Rolando, Doria or Sertic as centre halves. They need to find some solidity but manager Rudi Garcia is not always making the best choices tactically.
If Marseille cannot afford not to win, it is exactly the same for Lorient. They are bottom of the table and need the three points at home. They are five points behind 18th place Dijon and six adrift of Metz in 17th. It is not over for them but they need to win which they have not done in their last five games.
Bruno Casoni is a former Marseille player and manager so he will be extra motivated to do well against his former club. Peybernes and Mesloub are still injured but Moukandjo could be back in the starting XI after being on the bench in midweek in their 2-1 defeat to Bordeaux in the French Cup. I think that Marseille will bounce back on Sunday by beating Lorient.
The odds are in favour of Marseille with an away win at 2.35. A draw is at 3.25 and a Lorient home win is at 3.15.
Clinton Njie is favourite to score first at 6.40. My best tip is under 1.5 goals scored at 3.95.
Score prediction: Lorient 0 Marseille 1 (9.50).
Monaco v Nantes, Sunday 8pm
Monaco host Nantes on Sunday evening at the Stade Louis II to continue their road towards the Ligue 1 title. Both Nice and PSG played on Saturday but they have been coping very well with the pressure so far this season.
It won’t distract them at all. They beat Marseille in the French Cup in midweek (4-3 after extra time) in another fantastic game. They are scoring for fun at the moment, like pretty much through the whole season, but they are also conceding a lot of goals and chances.
They are pretty confident before this game though. Jardim rotated his squad against Marseille and key players like Lemar, Bernardo Silva, Fabinho, Sidibé or Subasic should be back in the starting XI. Glik and Falcao are doubtful through injury.
The player who impressed the most once again in midweek was Kylian Mbappé. He scored, set up another goal and was outstanding once again, at only 18 years of age. He is an incredible talent. Monaco have already played 44 games this season and have been playing a lot lately as well and signs are starting to appear over their fitness, especially considering their very attacking style of football.
Physically, it could be a problem in this match because Nantes are a very fit and physical team since Sergio Conçeicao took over. But the home form of Monaco (only one defeat all season against Lyon in December) and their confidence and momentum at the moment will be the key in this game.
Conçeicao has totally turned around this Nantes side, in the bottom three when he arrived and now 11th in the table, seven points clear of 18th place Dijon. They managed to snatch a draw at the last minute against Bastia on Wednesday in a postponed league match (2-2). They are well organised in their 4-4-2 formation, work very hard for each other and lately have been much better in front of goal to. It will be a tough game for them and they will try to frustrate Monaco but I still think that the home side will be too strong for them.
The odds are massively in favour of Monaco with a home win at 1.39. A draw is at 4.50 and a Nantes away win is at 9.00.
Radamel Falcao is favourite to score first at 4.00. My best tip is Monaco to win both halves at 3.20.
Score prediction: Monaco 3 Nantes 1 (11.50)