Nice v Caen, Friday 6pm
Nice host Caen on Friday evening at the Allianz Riviera and want their revenge. Their first defeat of the season came away at Caen a few months ago (1-0). Since then, Nice are still in the title race, 3rd in the table, three points behind Monaco who play on Saturday. It is a great opportunity to put more pressure on the leaders. After a tough period at the start of the year, Nice are back to their best, even if the loss of Alassane Plea, their best striker ruled out for the rest of the season.
They still have Mario Balotelli though and after some poor performances, he came back last weekend against Dijon with a much better attitude. He will start up front and needs to get back on the scoresheet after just one goal in his last seven league matches. Younes Belhanda is suspended after receiving too many yellow cards. It is a big blow because he is a very important player in the system of Lucien Favre, the manager.
The Swiss has many options to replace him (Donis, Le Bihan, pushing Cyprien higher). At the back, Ricardo Pereira is in the squad after his injury but will sit on the bench while Mounir Obbadi is also back but will start. Nice can expect a similar game than in the reverse fixture where they lost. Caen will play very defensively and will try to counter attack quickly. Nice will have to find a way to break them down. But the confidence is high in the team at the moment.
For Caen, this is a big game because they are still close to the bottom three, albeit being 14th in the table. It is really tight in the fight against relegation and will fight for every point in every game. They will try to stay solid and to frustrate Nice but I can see the home side getting three more points.
The odds are massively in favour of Nice with a home win at 1.70. A draw is at 3.55 and a Caen away win is at 5.50.
Mario Balotelli is favourite to score first at 4.60. My best tip is Nice to win without conceding a goal at 2.75.
Score prediction: Nice 2 Caen 0 (8.50)
Marseille v Angers, Friday 7.45pm
Marseille, who host Angers on Friday evening, bounced back in style last weekend with a convincing win away at Lorient (4-1), after losing their two previous games against PSG (5-1) and Monaco (4-3). It was a crucial win for l’OM as there were some tensions around the team. Marseille are now sixth in the table and still fighting to get to fifth. They have been really good at home in the league this season, despite the heavy loss against arch rivals PSG, and the Velodrome is a tough place to go.
Rudi Garcia and his players are eyeing a second win in a row to put pressure on Bordeaux and Lyon ahead of them who only play later in the weekend. Patrice Evra is still injured while Hubocan is not fully ready yet. Bafétimbi Gomis back in the squad but will sit on the bench. He could be crucial to call upon as he is a key player with 16 league goals to his name this season. However, without him, Marseille scored seven goals in their last two matches.
Dimitri Payet scored a beauty last weekend and is pretty much back to his best. Florian Thauvin is also performing very well. Defensively, it is still a bit shaky but they are usually pretty solid at home. L’OM need to start a positive run of results now until the end of the season to finish on a high. They have nothing left to play for other than the league and they are huge favourite before this game.
However, Angers usually do really well away at Marseille with a win last season and a draw the previous year. The team is in great form with four league wins in a row and sits in a comfortable 10th position in the table. There is no pressure on them before their trip to Marseille and they are on the hunt for an upset. I think they can cause problems to Marseille, especially on set pieces and on the counter. I think it will be a draw between the two teams.
The odds are massively in favour of Marseille with a home win at 1.63. A draw is at 3.65 and a Angers away win is at 6.00.
Remi Cabella is favourite to score first at 5.75. My best tip is over 3.5 goals scored at 3.55.
Score prediction: Marseille 2 Angers 2 (18.00)