Ajaccio – Monaco – Sunday 13:00
It was a very eventful end to the transfer window for Monaco. They sold their striker Anthony Martial to Manchester United for a lot of money and lost Kurzawa and Abdennour as well. Monaco signed Fabio Coentrao from Real Madrid and he should make his debut on Sunday afternoon in this game away at Ajaccio, but not as a starter.
It is a short trip for l’ASM but a tricky one. They will play on a small pitch, in a difficult environment and they need a result after being beaten heavily by PSG just before the international break. They were not good enough against Paris to get anything out of the game but they will be big favourites on Sunday. It will be interesting to see who the manager, Leonardo Jardim, chooses to start up front in Martial’s place. Guido Carrillo, the Argentine striker, is a possibility but he has not done much since joining the club this summer. Stephan El Shaarawy and Ivan Cavaleiro are both an option but they are more wingers. It will be a big task to replace Martial. Monaco need to focus on the league now as they have to bounce back after the PSG loss and cannot afford not to get all three points on Sunday.
They can expect a big battle against Ajaccio, who are bottom of the table with just a point so far. Monaco will then focus on the Europa League, but before they need to get back to winning ways. They will be without Moutinho, still injured, and Toulalan is very doubtful too after picking up an injury in training, which would be a big blow. Jardim has a lot of options in midfield too with Pasalic, Traoré, Bakayoko and Lopes. Bernardo Silva will have a very important role to play and he will be one of the leaders of the team now.
For Ajaccio, it is another difficult game. They have been conceding too many goals so far this season and they will have to defend better on Sunday. Their new signings are feeling much better physically in the shape of Zoua, Dia and Sylla. Thierry Laurey, the manager, will change his tactics to make life more difficult to Monaco and his players will fight hard to frustrate the visitors. However, I think Monaco will be too strong and will win the game.
The odds are massively in favour of Monaco with an away win at 1.85. A draw is at 3.30 and an Ajaccio home win is at 4.80.
Guido Carrillo is favourite to score first at 5.60. My best tip is Monaco to win both halves at 5.75.
Score prediction: Ajaccio 0 Monaco 2 at 9.00
Marseille – Bastia – Sunday 20:00
Marseille and their manager Michel are looking to redeem themselves at home on Sunday evening against Bastia, after their poor defeat at Guingamp before the international break. Michel arrived with a big aura and gained great momentum after winning his first game in charge 6-0 against Troyes. But the loss at Guingamp brought the club back down to earth. It was a really poor performance by the players and the manager’s tactics were no better.
Marseille have now lost three of their first four Ligue 1 matches this season. It is an incredible record for l’OM. They need to bounce back straight away on Sunday in a tricky game. Michel has had plenty of time to work with his squad during the international break, even if a few of the players were missing. His sessions have proved simpler and more chilled than under his predecessor Marcelo Bielsa.
Michel wants the team to play in a 4-3-3 formation. He also managed to sign a few players before the end of the transfer window. Rolando, Lucas Silva and Isla have arrived from Porto, Real Madrid and Juventus. But only the former QPR defender or the Brazilian midfielder could start this weekend. Rolando is not ready yet. DjaDjedje is still out injured like Abou Diaby but everybody else is fit. Lassana Diarra has worked really hard during the international break to improve his fitness and will be a key player on Sunday. More is expected from Remy Cabella, who joined the club on loan from Newcastle, and Michy Batshuayi, the Belgian international, who scored twice against Troyes but was really disappointing against Guingamp. He needs more consistency in his game.
Defensively, the pair of Nkoulou and Rekik needs improvement too. They have been solid enough when they have played together but this is a big test of character for Marseille. It will not be easy against a Bastia team that has started the season really well and are sixth in the table.
The two sets of fans are big rivals and don’t like each other too much, so the atmosphere will be great and the Corsicans will cross the Mediterranean full of confidence, even if they have won only once in Marseille in their history - back in the 1971-1972 season. Their record stands at 21 defeat and four draws. They have nothing to lose here and they were unlucky to be beaten away at St Etienne before the international break. They will put up a good fight against l’OM and I think they will get a point at the Stade Velodrome.
The odds are massively in favour of Marseille with a home win at 1.45. A draw is at 4.10 and an away win for Bastia is at 8.40.
Michy Batshuayi is favourite to score first at 5.00. My best tip is a draw and both teams to score at 6.10.
Score prediction: Marseille 1 Bastia 1 at 9.00