Monaco 1.45, draw 4.20, Evian 7.35 – Saturday 19.00 GMT
Monaco got a very good point in Paris (1-1) in their last league game before the international break. The draw showed that the team is improving under new manager Leonardo Jardim but they need to get more points on the board now. Last season’s runners up are only 13th in the table at the moment. However, they are just four points behind PSG in 3rd place.
It is very tight in Ligue 1 right now which makes this home game against Evian even more important for the Monégasques. Unfortunately, they are still without Dimitar Berbatov, their best player, who has an ankle injury. They did well against PSG without him but it is still a big blow. They could have done with him in a match where Evian will leave no space at all to the Monaco forwards and play on the counter.
This season, the team from the Principality struggle against teams with 11 men behind the ball. They will have to find a way on Saturday so they can get back to winning ways after three matches without a victory in all competitions. They have been more solid at the back lately though so they should not be in too much danger against Evian. But they still need to be careful against a rejuvenated Savoie team.
After a dreadful start of the season and no win in their first six league games, Pascal Dupraz and his players have now won their last three. They are out of the relegation zone and are full of confidence and momentum. They will make life very difficult for Monaco. They will try to frustrate them by defending all together, very compact and hard to break down. It will be tough for the home side, however, I think Monaco will manage to get a scrappy win on Saturday.
Lacina Traoré is favourite to score first at 4.60, but my best tip is under 1.5 goals scored at 3.45.
Score prediction: Monaco 1 Evian 0 at 6.00
Marseille 1.63, draw 3.75, Toulouse 5.50 – Sunday 13.00 GMT
Marseille are unstoppable at the moment. Before the international break, they recorded their seventh straight league win of the season at Caen (2-1). They didn’t shine as much as in previous games but they still managed a victory. They are flying at the top of table, five points clear of Bordeaux in second and seven ahead of PSG in third!
Marcelo Bielsa has revolutionised the club and the team despite using the same players as last season. L’OM is much more solid at the back and excitingly creative up front. André-Pierre Gignac is also unstoppable. He has now scored nine goals in nine Ligue 1 games so far this season. He is flying as high as his team and he will be a massive threat for his old club Toulouse on Sunday afternoon. He also scored for France on Tuesday afternoon against Armenia.
The only worry maybe for Bielsa is that many of his players have been involved in the international break. Payet, Mandanda and Gignac played on Tuesday like Thauvin and Imbula, who lost with the U21s in Sweden which could have shattered their confidence, while the Africans (Nkoulou, Romao, Dja Djedje) played on Wednesday. But overall, everything is going very well in Marseille right now and the visit of Toulouse should not change anything.
In their last game, Alain Casanova’s players inflicted a first home defeat in sixteen games upon St Etienne but this trip to Marseille is far tougher considering their form at the moment. They also have a player in top form in Wissam Ben Yedder, their striker, who has found the net six times already this season but the very physical Marseille defence will make it difficult for him to express himself. He won’t have much freedom compared to previous games this season. Marseille will watch him very closely to make sure he has no impact on the match.
Overall, Toulouse is a very inconsistent team this season and I doubt they can repeat the performance they had in St Etienne and get a win in Marseille this weekend. It will be eight in eight for Gignac and the leaders.
André Pierre Gignac is favourite to score first at 3.80 and my best tip is Gignac to score at any time at 1.93.
Score prediction: Marseille 2 Toulouse 1 at 9.00
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