Monaco v Bordeaux, Saturday 5.45pm
Four days before a mouth-watering clash with Manchester City in the Champions League last 16 second leg, Monaco host Bordeaux on Saturday afternoon at the Stade Louis II. The players’ minds will surely be focused on the City game but they won’t take anything for granted against Bordeaux either.
It is first against fifth and Monaco will not want to drop points. They are three points clear of PSG and Nice coming into Matchday 29. They are still playing some great football and scoring lots of goals. They demolished Nantes at home last weekend and have only lost to Lyon all season at home! Their manager Leonardo Jardim will field a very strong team.
Falcao should be back up front with Germain while Mbappé could be rested before starting against City. He has been incredible in the last month or so. Jardim will keep his 4-4-2 formation and Joao Moutinho could enjoy a rare start in midfield like Raggi at the back.
Despite all the confidence and the momentum and for once, Monaco had a whole week to prepare for a league match, they also have a terrible home record against Bordeaux in Ligue 1. They have not beaten them at Louis II in the league since August 2003!
Bordeaux really enjoy playing in Monaco. They won last year for example and seem to have a psychological edge when it comes to facing the team from the Principality. However, they know that this time round things might be different. This is a fantastic Monaco side and it will be very difficult to get anything out of this game. But the visitors are playing well, drew with Lyon last weekend (1-1) and their 4-3-3 could cause problems to Monaco. I still think the leaders will win again on Saturday.
The odds are massively in favour of Monaco with a home win at 1.49. A draw is at 4.20 and a Bordeaux away win is at 7.00.
Radamel Falcao is favourite to score first at 4.20. My best tip is Monaco to win both halves at 3.65.
Score prediction: Monaco 3 Bordeax 1 (11.50)
Lorient v PSG, Sunday 8pm
PSG travel to bottom of the table Lorient on Sunday evening after their humiliating 6-1 defeat at Barcelona in the Champions League which saw them squander a 4-0 lead from the first leg. The players are totally distraught and ashamed after one of the biggest crumbles in football’s history.
They had an incredible nightmare at the Camp Nou. However, they need to regroup quickly as they cannot afford to get drawn into a negative spiral because they can still win the domestic treble to save their season. They are currently in second place in the table, three points behind the leaders Monaco. The manager, Unai Emery, is under huge pressure. This failure is mostly his and he might get sacked in the summer. He will have to be make big calls regarding the team and that will start on Sunday evening.
He can field the same team as against Barcelona to give those players an opportunity to bounce back and move on. Or he can make changes, rotate the squad and give some of the players who were on the pitch in Barcelona a break.
It will be very interesting to see his selections. Edinson Cavani will be starting for sure. He scored again in midweek, his 38th goal this season in 37 matches in all competitions. He is on fire and will fancy facing Lorient, the team with the worse home record in the league. On the other hand, Paris have the best away record in Ligue 1 this season. They also have a great record away at Lorient in the league, with their last defeat dating back to January 2008.
For Lorient, the situation is difficult. They have lost their last four league matches and are five points behind 18th place which is the relegation playoff place. They need points quickly but this is a huge game for them. They are hoping that PSG will still be down and distraught by their defeat in midweek and won’t be up for it so they could take advantage of it.
However, they also fear the backlash of an angry PSG team which want to bounce back. I think Lorient will show desire but it won’t be enough and they will get beaten comprehensively by a Paris team who will want to move on from their midweek nightmare.
The odds are massively in favour of PSG with an away win at 1.33. The draw is at 5.50 and a Lorient home win is at 8.50.
Edinson Cavani is favourite to score first at 3.25. My best tip is PSG to win both halves at 2.80.
Score prediction: Lorient 0 PSG 3 (9.50)
Lyon v Toulouse, Sunday 4pm
Unlike PSG, Lyon, who host Toulouse on Sunday afternoon, had an excellent European week, beating Roma 4-2 on Thursday in the Europa League last 16 first leg. It was a fantastic performance by l’OL, who were 2-1 behind at half time against the Italians. Alexandre Lacazette and Nabil Fekir led their team to victory with two sumptuous goals to wrap up the win in the last 15 minutes of the match.
Now their focus switches back to the league where they are only four points clear of 5th place Bordeaux, albeit with a game in hand. They cannot afford to rest on their laurels. Despite their excellent run of results (five wins and one draw in their last six matches in all competitions), they are cautious before Toulouse’s visit.
The Lyonnais know they can be inconsistent in the league, as they have been at times this season. But the confidence and the momentum are high. Corentin Tolisso was outstanding against Roma and so was Lacazette, who has 22 goals in 22 league matches as well. They will be the key players once again on Sunday.
Rafael could miss out after coming off at half time in midweek. But Memphis Depay is back after missing the Roma game because he was ineligible. So Bruno Genesio will pretty much have a full squad to pick from. He could decide to play in 4-2-3-1 formation that changed the game on Thursday after starting in a 4-3-3 formation. Lyon have a wonderful record at home in the league against Toulouse as their last defeat against them was back in 1966.
Toulouse, 9th in the table, are the only team in France to have beaten both PSG and Monaco this season. After a really bad period (5 defeats in a row in all competitions), they are back to their best level with a current run of six wins without a loss. The last three games have all been draws though but they would be happy with another point on Sunday. They will use the same tactics as against PSG (0-0) three weeks ago, playing deep and counter attacking. Andy Delort, who they signed in the summer, has had a great impact already. I think Toulouse will score but get beaten by Lyon on Sunday.
The odds are in massively favour of Lyon with a home win at 1.52. A draw is at 4.25 and a Toulouse away win is at 6.40.
Alexandre Lacazette is favourite to score first at 3.40. My best tip is Lyon to win and both teams to score at 2.75.
Score prediction: Lyon 2 Toulouse 1 (8.50)