Reims – Monaco – Sunday – 13:00 GMT
For Monaco, who travel to Reims on Sunday after their Europa League game against Qarabag on Thursday, the disappointing season continues. They cannot get any momentum into their campaign. They are only 10th in the table, have not won at home once this season in Ligue 1 and have not won two games in a row all season. They took the lead against Lyon at home last Friday but ended up dropping two more points late in the game.
It has been the story of the season for them so far. They have kept just two clean sheets in 12 games in all competitions so far this season and have drawn their last four. Their problem, and we highlight it every week, is offensively. They lost Martial, Carrasco and Berbatov in the summer and the forwards in the squad are not doing enough. It’s Pasalic, a defensive midfielder, who scored last Friday from a corner. But El Shaarawy, Traoré, Carrillo or Cavaleiro have all been disappointing so far.
The only revelation this season is the great form of Thomas Lemar, who has been outstanding for them. Unfortunately he was ruled out for a month just before the weekend. They are unbeaten in their last six visits to Reims. They won 3-1 there in the league last season. But they are not as confident this time round. They will have to work hard and play much better to finish third again this year.
For Reims, it is a good opportunity to get the better out of another big gun in the league. They already took a point of PSG and beat Marseille at home too. They have had a good start and are eighth in the table with 15 points, just one more than Monaco. However, they will not approach this game with a lot of confidence or momentum as they lost their last two league games against Caen and at Lyon, but I think they will react to get a point on Sunday.
The odds are slightly in favour of Monaco with an away win at 2.40. A draw is at 3.20 and a Reims home win is at 3.10.
Guido Carrillo is favourite to score first at 6.75. My best tip is a draw and both teams to score at 5.00.
Score prediction: Reims 1 Monaco 1 at 7.00
Lille – Marseille – Sunday 16:00 GMT
Marseille are in crisis before their trip to Lille on Sunday afternoon. They are 16th in the Ligue 1 table and they have not won in the league since September 13th against Bastia. Since that match, they have drawn three times and lost twice. Michel, the manager who stepped in after Marcelo Bielsa left a week into the new season, is struggling to find the solutions. They are not scoring enough and are giving away cheap goals like against Lorient last Sunday.
There are real concerns over Marseille at the moment. The club has been hit by a part closure of some of the stadium too after the incidents against Lyon last month. Michel called up 23 players for the trip to Braga on Thursday in the Europa League. Five players stayed in the stands to watch their team-mates but he did to keep everybody together. The dressing room needs to stick together to come out of this bad run.
The game at Lille will be tricky. They have the best defence in Ligue 1 with only five goals conceded in 10 league matches. For an OM side as inefficient as this one, it will be a big task to score a goal. Batshuayi, Alessandrini, Cabella and Ocampos are not doing enough. The team did well in Paris three weeks ago despite the defeat but they were poor against Lorient last weekend. They are too inconsistent.
They will have to be on top of their game on Sunday though because they are in for a tough game. Lille are only 13th in the table and it’s down to their poor attack: only five goals scored and only once have thry scored two goals this season in all competitions. However, they will be fresher as they didn’t play in Europe. I think that will play a part in this game but it won’t be enough for Lille to win. I think Lille and Marseille will draw on Sunday.
The odds are even with a home win for Lille at 2.65. The draw is at 3.15 and a Marseille away win is at 2.80.
Mickey Batshuayi is favourite to score first at 6.30 but my best tip is a draw and both teams to score at 4.80.
Score prediction: Lille 1 OM 1 at 7.00
PSG - St Etienne – Sunday 20:00 GMT
PSG host St Etienne on Sunday evening, four days after a disappointing 0-0 draw with Real Madrid in the Champions League group stages on Wednesday evening. The Parisians didn’t play well against Cristiano and Co and Kevin Trapp, back in goal, was excellent to keep a clean sheet and get PSG a point. Laurent Blanc played his strongest starting eleven against the Spaniards and was left disappointed and frustrated by poor performances from Ibrahimovic, Cavani, Verratti and Di Maria. But at least Paris didn’t lose and still got a point without conceding a goal. They are still unbeaten this season in all competitions and will be approaching this game with St Etienne with a lot of confidence.
Blanc will make changes. So we could see Lucas and Pastore starting while Van der Wiel and Kurrawa could come in at the back too. David Luiz is still out for this game but Paris have plenty of cover defensively. With eight wins and two draws in 10 Ligue 1 matches so far this season, they are cruising at the top of the table and they are showing no signs of complacency, unlike in previous years. They have not lost at home in the league for more than 18 months and they will want to keep this unbeaten run going.
PSG have a very good home record against St Etienne. Apart from in 2012 when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang caused chaos in the PSG defence and Ibra was sent off in a 2-1 defeat, PSG have not been beaten by les Verts at the Parc des Princes since 2007. Last season, they won 5-0 with a hat trick for Ibra.
St Etienne are fourth in the table after their win last weekend against Ajaccio. But they didn’t play well and they also played on Thursday away in Ukraine against Dnipro. It is not an ideal trip to prepare for a clash against PSG.
Their victory at the weekend came after three defeats in a row and St Etienne are not as solid defensively lately as they were last season. They conceded four goals against Nice, three away at Lazio and the balance of the team was not good enough. They will have to be at their best on Sunday but I don’t think it will be enough as PSG will want to make amends for their poor display against Madrid and will win.
The odds are massively in favour of PSG with a home win at 1.27. The draw is at 5.50 and a St Etienne away win is at 12.00.
Edinson Cavani is favourite to score first at 3.45 but my best tip is PSG to win both halves at 2.80.
Score prediction: PSG 2 St Etienne 0 at 6.75