Bastia - PSG - Saturday 16.00 GMT
PSG won the Classique against arch-rivals Marseille (2-1) before the international break two weeks ago and they extended their lead at the top of the table. But they face a much more difficult game on Saturday afternoon away at Bastia. They lost 4-2 in Corsica last season despite being 2-0 up after 20 minutes. The two previous seasons, they were dominant over there though with two 3-0 and 4-0 wins. But last season, they switched off and could not cope with how aggressive the Bastia players were.
They prevented the Parisians from playing their usual game and they will do the same on Saturday. For Paris, the biggest game will be four days later against Real Madrid in the Champions League. Laurent Blanc will probably not field his strongest team this weekend. David Luiz is also out with a knee injury and Blaise Matuidi is suspended. On top of that Marco Verratti is out, and Kevin Trapp suffered an injury at training last week and will be out for six weeks. So Salvatore Sirigu will play his first game this season.
He will be under big pressure and will have a point to prove as well. He is not happy with his number 2 status and he needs to show he is better than Trapp. It is a big game for him. I think Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who played twice with Sweden, could be rested. On the other hand, Thiago Silva and Edinson Cavani will be fit and roaring to go as they were not involved with their national teams. PSG are the only unbeaten team left in the league at the moment and they have really impressed at times so far by winning without playing at their best. They won’t be allowed to make any mistakes on Saturday if they want to keep their unbeaten run alive.
For Bastia, this is a crucial game. After a good start of the season, they are going through a really bad patch with only one win and five losses in their last six league games. They are still 13th in the table but they need to stop the bad results. The stadium will be packed and the atmosphere will be great and they will want to reproduce their performance from last season.
They will be without their defender Florian Marange, and also their manager Ghislain Printant! He is finishing his coaching badges in Paris, but I don’t think it will disturb the players too much though. They will be very up for it and will be very aggressive. It might not be enough to win the game but I think they will still take a point with PSG thinking more about the Real Madrid game next week.
The odds are massively in favour of PSG with an away win at 1.33. The draw is at 4.90 and a Bastia home win is at 10.50.
Edinson Cavani is favourite to score first at 3.60 but my best tip is Bastia to win at least one half at 4.60.
Score prediction: Bastia 1 PSG 1 at 11.50
Marseille - Lorient - Sunday 13.00 GMT
Before hosting Lorient on Sunday afternoon, Marseille have not won in their last five games in all competitions! They lost their last three matches, the last one in Le Classique against PSG (2-1) and drew the previous two.
Their performance in Paris was very good though, and they certainly didn’t deserve to lose the match but overall, it is not good enough from Michel and his players. The Spanish manager is struggling to find the best team possible but the display against the Champions will have been encouraging for him and for the players. They worked hard during the international break with the players not involved with their national teams, and they are ready for a tricky game against Lorient.
L’OM are only 16th in the table now, four points clear of the relegation zone and already 15 points behind PSG. At this stage last season, they were top of the table and seven points clear of the Parisians. Things have changed quickly since Marcelo Bielsa left the club after the opening day of the season. Marseille are desperate for win this weekend and for their new players to show more than we have seen so far. Cabella and Rekik have not been good enough, Lucas Silva looks promising but lacks personality, Manquillo is only a prospect at the moment while De Scigle was poor in Paris and we have not seen enough of Rolando or Isla.
The only very positive thing for l’OM is the form of Lassana Diarra. He has been outstanding since joining the club in the summer. He is Marseille’s leader and best player. He bossed the midfield against Paris two weeks ago and made his come back with France, five years after his last cap. He will lead the team once again on Sunday.
Abou Diaby trained with the first team this week for the first time this season, but won't be in the squad for Sunday. Benjamin Mendy is back from suspension but now it’s Abdelaziz Barrada’s turn to be suspended, and in an additional problem the Stade Velodrome won't be full again, with one stand closed this time following the sanctions after the incidents against Lyon. Regardless of this, Marseille will need their fans this weekend and they will all want to forget the humiliating 5-3 defeat inflicted by Lorient last season.
Lorient are the in form team in Ligue 1 at the moment. They are 9th in the table and won four out of their last five matches in Ligue 1.
After a poor start, Sylvain Rippoll, the manager, has found his way and his best team. The return to form of Yann Jouffre was crucial. He is in the leader of this team and will be the inspiration on Sunday. Jeannot and Lautoa are out but Guerreiro is back from injury and Ndong should be fit too to start in midfield. However, despite Lorient’s good form, I think that Marseille will finally bounce back and react to get a first win in six games.
The odds are massively in favour of Marseille with a home win at 1.60. The draw is at 3.85 and a Lorient away win is at 10.20.
Michy Batshuayi is favourite to score first at 4.60 but my best tip is Marseille to win with both teams to score at 3.50.
Score prediction: OM 2 Lorient 1 at 9.50