Julien Laurens' Ligue 1 Betting: Spoils To Be Shared In Weekend's Big Game

Lyon - Nantes - Sunday 16.00 GMT

It is hard to believe but Lyon are still top of the table at the time of writing despite playing their last three games without their best player and top scorer Alexandre Lacazette.

They drew three times, at Monaco (0-0), against PSG at home (1-1) and away at Lorient (1-1). But in the mean time, neither Marseille or PSG have been able to overtake them in the table due to their own disappointing results. Hosting Nantes at home on Sunday afternoon should assure the leaders to stay top for another week. The good news for this game is the return of Lacazette. It is a massive boost for the team. They have struggled without him offensively. Only Njie scored in his absence.


He has worked very hard to come back and wants to pick it up where he left it: 21 goals in the 22 league games he played in this season. Lyon, who could be second behind PSG at kick off, could be under pressure. They also want their revenge after being knocked out of the French Cup by Nantes (3-2) a few weeks ago. Bessat scored a hat-trick in this match at the Stade de la Beaujoire that day. It shows that Nantes have the qualities to disturb Lyon especially on the counter attack. But it will be a different story in the league.

Nantes are struggling, especially to score goals. They are now only 10th in the table but their recent form has not been good enough. The manager Michel Der Zakarian was really not happy last weekend by the performance of his players so he expects a reaction on Sunday. It will be tough though at Gerland and I think the return of Lacazette will be the difference.

The odds are in favour of Lyon with a home win at 1.50. The draw is at 4.00 and a Nantes away win is at 6.85. Lacazette is favourite to score first at 3.25 but my best tip is Lyon to win without conceding a goal at 2.20.

Score prediction: Lyon 2 Nantes 0 at 7.00


St Etienne - Marseille - Sunday 20.00 GMT

This is the big game of the weekend on Sunday evening in a sell out stade Geoffroy Guichard. There is a big rivalry between the two most successful French clubs in history. St Etienne have won 10 league titles against nine for Marseille. The matches between the two clubs are always tense and passionate. The pressure is always high.

It is a massive game for Marseille. They have not won away from home since October 4th and their form has been so poor on the road. They really struggle and their opponents know how to play them now. Last weekend, they conceded a draw at the last minute at home against Reims (2-2). However, they are still in the title race. But they could be third at kick-off on Sunday evening. If they want to stay in the run for the title, they cannot afford not to win this game on Sunday. Only three points would do.


But they need their best players like Gignac, Thauvin, Nkoulou - who should be back - and Mandanda to come back to their best. Ocampos who arrived in January could start for the first time after two good displays off the bench. L'OM and their manager Marcelo Bielsa will have to find some inspiration to beat the solid St Etienne defence. Even if defensively, due to some players missing, they have not been as solid as earlier in the season (although they are still the best defence in Ligue 1 with Lyon and Monaco), Les verts will be difficult to break down at home.

Their keeper Stephane Ruffier is one of the best in the league and Loic Perrin, their captain, one of the best defenders in the league too. The problem is that they are struggling to score goals at the other end too. They managed only 27 in 25 games so far this season and it's mostly the reason why they have not been able to join Lyon, Marseille and PSG in the title race. However, they are happy in fourth and it would be a great season if they can hang on to that position. I think they will get a draw on Sunday and that Marseille will fail to win away from home once again.

The odds are quite even. A St Etienne home win is at 2.40, the draw is at 3.20 and a Marseille away win is at 3.00. André-Pierre Gignac is favourite to score first at 5.25. My best tip is a draw with both teams to score at 4.75.

Score prediction: St Etienne 1 Marseille 1 at 6.50