Julien Laurens’ Ligue 1 Betting: PSG to spoil sold-out Velodrome atmosphere while Lyon should continue free-scoring form


Marseille v PSG, Sunday 8pm 

This is the big game of the weekend in Ligue 1, one of the biggest of the season as well. Marseille host PSG on Sunday evening at the Stade Velodrome. There is huge rivalry between these two teams and the atmosphere will be amazing. For the first time this season, the Velodrome is sold out. 

And they both have a lot to play for. PSG are three points behind Monaco, the league leaders and can’t afford to drop points again after their disappointing 0-0 draw last weekend at home against Toulouse. They will have to be back to their best level to see off this Marseille team, who have been quite dominant at home this season.

They will surely be up for this massive game, unlike against Toulouse where they were maybe a bit complacent and tired. Angel Di Maria, who was out for the Toulouse game, should be back in the starting eleven. Thiago Silva is also fit and ready after missing the last two matches. 

So Unaī Emery should field his strongest formation with a front three of Draxler, Cavani and Di Maria. Cavani has 25 league goals in 24 games this season and will lead the line once again. He has been scoring in all the big games this season for Paris and he could well deliver again on Sunday. PSG will play in their usual 4-3-3 and they have an incredible record in the last few years against Marseille as in their last 13 encounters, PSG have won 11 for two draws and no defeats.

This is a huge game for l’OM as well. They are in a big fight with St Etienne and Bordeaux, all on 39 points, to finish fifth or try to catch Lyon in fourth. This game means more than anything else though for the club and the fans, especially as the last win for Marseille in Le Classique was back in November 2011. 

The players need to be at their best and they will be without Bafétimbi Gomis, their main striker, who is still out for a few games. They coped well without him in the last game with a 2-0 win against Rennes. Clinton Njie started up front and will do again on Sunday. Lassana Diarra has now left the club as well. But Fanni and Sakai, who missed the last game, will be back so Rudi Garcia will field a very strong team. However, I don’t think it will be enough and I think PSG will beat Marseille again on Sunday. 

The odds are massively in favour of PSG with an away win at 1.64. The draw is at 3.95 and a Marseille win is at 5.25.

Edinson Cavani is favourite to score first at 3.65. My best tip is PSG to win without conceding a goal at 3.00.

Score prediction: Marseille 0 PSG 2 (9.50)


Lyon v Metz, Sunday 4pm

Lyon, who host Metz on Sunday afternoon, have avoided a big crisis by winning their last three matches, league against Dijon (4-2) last weekend and against Alkmaar in the Europa League away first last week (4-1) and then at home on Thursday (7-1). 

They scored 15 goals in those three games and the confidence is high now. The fans have really enjoyed watching the team play and the peace is back between the ultras and the team. However, they need to confirm their good form against Metz on Sunday. It is a game they have to win and should be winning, but they have been so unpredictable this season.

Mathieu Valbuena is still out injured while Nkoulou should be dropped again from the squad. The manager Bruno Genesio will have to make some choices after some players performed very well in Europe. With Lacazette, Fekir, Depay, Ghezzal and Cornet, there is a lot of talent up front but they can’t all play together. It’s the same in midfield with Gonalons, Ferri, Darder, Tousart and Tolisso. but it is a good problem for the manager to have so much quality there. Lyon, currently fourth in the table, are 13 points behind Nice with a game in hand though.

For Metz, in 16th place just a point above the bottom three, this is going to be a tough game. They have done well against big teams this season, getting a point at Nice for example and beating Marseille at home earlier this season. 

But this is a daunting game considering Lyon’s current form. The visitors have nothing to lose though and will make life hard for the home side. Diabaté has had a great impact since arriving in the January transfer window. He will be a handful for the Lyon defence but I fear he will be too isolated up front and I can see Lyon winning this game quite comfortably.

The odds are massively in favour of Lyon with a home win at 1.25. A draw is at 6.20 and a Metz away win is at 11.00.

Alexandre Lacazette is favourite to score first at 2.95. My best tip is Lyon to win both halves at 2.23.

Score prediction: Lyon 3 Metz 0 (7.50)