Laurens: Neymar to be presented to the fans as PSG kick off their Ligue 1 campaign today


PSG – Amiens (Saturday, 4pm)

PSG start their quest to regain their French league title on Saturday afternoon at home against newly promoted Amiens. The game itself could be in the shadow of Neymar’s presentation to the fans at the Parc des Princes before kick-off.

PSG are unbeaten in their last 33 home matches in all competitions and didn’t lose a single league game at home last season. The atmosphere will be incredible on Saturday and manager Unai Emery will field a very strong side. Marco Verratti is fit to start alongside Thiago Motta and Adrien Rabiot in midfield.

Dani Alves will move back to right back after starting as right winger against Monaco in the French Community Shield last Saturday, which was won by PSG (2-1). Up front, Pastore, Di Maria and Cavani will lead the line.


PSG are often slow starters in the league and last season they struggled away at Bastia for example on Week 1, but the players have great confidence at home and will want to start the Neymar era very well.

For Amiens, life in Ligue 1 could not start any tougher. It is the first time in the club history that they reach the top flight and they will start by the biggest game of all, away at Paris. They have nothing to lose though.

The odds are massively in favour of PSG with a home win at 1.10. The draw is at 9.00 and an Amiens away win is at 23.00.

Edinson Cavani is favourite to score first at 2.80. My best tip is Cavani to score at least two goals at 3.50.

Score prediction: PSG 3 Amiens 0 (6.50)

 

Lyon – Strasbourg (Saturday, 7pm)

Lyon start their season at home on Saturday evening against newly promoted Strasbourg. It is a perfect way to start the season for them. It has been a busy summer for l’OL with key players leaving (Lacazette, Tolisso, Gonalons, Valbuena) and a lot of players arriving (Traoré, Diaz, Marçal, Mendy, Tete, Marcelo).

It is a new era at the club and all the new signings will be involved for this first game, apart from Mendy who has not been called up in the squad. The new faces have big boots to fill and it will be hard for Lyon, especially with Lacazette who was the offensive leader of the team in the last five seasons.

Nabil Fekir has been named captain for the season and will play in his favourite number 10 position in a 4-2-3-1 formation just behind the striker Mariano Diaz, signed from Real Madrid. Fekir will have to be back to his best level after an average season last year. Bruno Genesio, the Lyon manager, is also under pressure to deliver this season. Some of the fans are asking for him to go already. Lyon had a disappointing season last year and aim for better this campaign. They need to start well.


Strasbourg have nothing to lose in this game. They had a great season last year in Ligue 2 and totally deserved to come back up. After 10 years away from the top flight, they are back and are ready to fight to stay up. N’Dour is the only player missing for them and all their new players are included, including Jonas Martin in midfield. Strasbourg will be well organised defensively to try to frustrate Lyon. However, I still think the visitors will struggle and the home side will win.

The odds are massively in favour of Lyon with a home win at 1.38. A draw is at 4.90 and a Strasbourg away win is at 8.00.

Mariano Diaz is favourite to score first at 4.50. My best tip is Lyon to win without conceding a goal at 2.40. 

Score prediction: Lyon 1 Strasbourg 0 (8.50)

 

Marseille – Dijon (Sunday, 8pm)

Like PSG and Lyon, Marseille start their Ligue 1 season at home, on Sunday evening against Dijon. The Stade Velodrome should be near full for this game as l’OM is very ambitious this season. They have invested a lot of money in key players like Mandanda in goal, Rami at the back, Luis Gustavo in midfield and Germain up front.

They will all feature on Sunday. Marseille have already played two competitive matches in the Europa League qualifiers, against Oostende (4-2, 0-0). They are really fit due to their earlier start of the season and have a great momentum coming into this game. Their 4-3-3 formation with a mix of youth (Lopez, Thauvin, Sanson) and a lot of experience (Mandanda, Evra, Rami, Rolando, Luis Gustavo).


Dimitri Payet will be the captain this season and he is under pressure to lead the team and to do well. He has had ups and downs since coming back to Marseille last January. Now, Rudi Garcia, the Marseille manager, has built a good team around him. Marseille are strong favourites although they sometimes struggled against smaller sides last season at home. They will want to start the game really well to put Dijon under pressure.

The visitors are the big underdogs and have nothing to lose. They lost their best player, Diony, in the summer and they might struggle offensively without him. They will try to play on the counter but Marseille are fitter and have good momentum too. I think they will be too strong for Dijon.

The odds are massively in favour of Marseille with a home win at 1.40. A draw is at 4.50 and a Dijon away win is at 7.50.

Valère Germain is favourite to score first at 4.70. My best tip is Marseille to win both halves at 3.30.

Score prediction: Marseille 3 Dijon 0 (10.00)