Julien Laurens's Ligue 1 Betting: St Etienne To Give Lyon A Tough Game


Lyon 1.85 Draw 3.45 St Etienne 4.35

This is the big game of the weekend. On Sunday evening will be played the 110th derby du Rhône between Lyon and St Etienne, two of the biggest enemies of French football.

This is the biggest derby in France with PSG - OM. And this season, this legendary clash is one of the biggest in the rivalry between the two clubs. The Stade Gerland in Lyon will indeed welcome the Ligue 1 leaders Lyon against fifth place St Etienne.

L’OL is fighting for the title with PSG while l’ASSE is battling to finish third with Monaco, Marseille and Bordeaux (only four points between those four teams)! There has hardly been so much at stake in a derby du Rhône before. Both teams have a lot to lose on Sunday. First, Lyon could actually be back to second place in the table at kick off.

If PSG beat Nice on Saturday, they will indeed go back to the top of Ligue 1. If it is the case, it will obviously add to the pressure for the young Lyon players. But most, importantly, this is the penultimate big game for Lyon until the end of the season. They will host Bordeaux on the penultimate Matchday of the season but their other remaining matches of the season are against lower ranked teams (Reims, Evian, Caen and Rennes).

Psychologically, it is very important for the Lyonnais to win this derby. They were humiliated in the reverse fixture back in November (3-0). They want their revenge and will be well up for it. Hubert Fournier, the manager, has a few issues with players injured. Yoann Gourcuff is out while Dabo, Jallet and Tolisso all face late tests.

Nail Fekir has some back problems but he should be ok to start on Sunday. He has been the revelation of the season but has been struggling to have an impact lately. The heroes of Lyon’s win against Bastia on Wednesday were the unlikely Yattara, with a goal, and Njie, with the assist for Alexandre Lacazette’s goal, his 25th goal of the season in Ligue 1. It was great to see Clement Grenier back for the first time this season and he was decisive with an assist on the first goal. He could start on Sunday.

St Etienne also got a big boost in terms of injury news. Franck Tabanou and Romain Hamouma who were big doubts are actually fit and will start on Sunday. They are both having a very good season as well as Max-Alain Gradel who will be the main threat for Lyon. St Etienne go into this derby on the back of two wins in the last two derbies.

They could be make it three in a row, which would be absolutely incredible. They have al to of belief and they should also be fresher as they have not played in midweek, unlike their arch rivals. They are also full of confidence. They have lost just once in their last nine league games and they have a great record recently at Gerland: two wins, one draw and just one defeat in their last four visits there in the league. However, I think Lyon will be too strong at home and will just edge it.

Best bet: Alexandre Lacazette is favourite to score first at 3.65 and my best tip is Lyon to win without conceding a goal at 2.95.

Score prediction: Lyon 1-1 St Etienne 7.00