Paris SG 1.40, draw 4.60, Bordeaux 8.10 – Saturday 16.00 GMT
PSG finally won two games in a row this week, for the first time this season, after beating APOEL on Tuesday in the Champions League (1-0), four days after a victory against Lens in Ligue 1 (3-1). The French Champions are now looking to extend this winning run on Saturday, at home against Bordeaux.
it’s 2nd vs 3rd, it’s Blanc vs Sagnol and it’s a game the Parisians have to win to put pressure on the leaders Marseille. However, they have a big problem up front. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still injured and will miss this game. It will be the sixth match he misses and it’s a big blow because Edinson Cavani will also be out. The Uruguayan is suspended after his red card against Lens. He was sent off in ridiculous fashion by the referee but without him and Ibra, Blanc has no real number 9 left in the squad.
The manager will have to either play Pastore as false 9 or young Bahebeck, who is probably the closest to a number 9 in the Paris squad right now. He has done quite well recently so he could be the best option. The good news is that Lavezzi is back in the squad and probably Marquinhos too. PSG didn’t play well at APOEL on Tuesday but they kept a clean sheet, the first time that David Luiz and Thiago Silva have managed one together at centre half for the club.
On Saturday, they will have to defend against giant striker Cheick Diabaté who will lead the line for Bordeaux. The Girondins have only won twice on the road this season so far and they were very disappointing at home on Sunday against Caen (1-1). They should have lost that game actually. They look wobbly at the back and hardly create anything up front. They looked like they ran out of steam quickly, too.
Even if PSG have played in Europe in midweek, Bordeaux will have to be at 200% physically and be ready to run a lot after the ball. Sagnol’s players are usually more comfortable when they have possession and it will be a very tough game for them. I think PSG are on a run now and it will be very difficult to stop them, even without Ibra or Cavani. Bordeaux have not won in Paris in six years and I think they will lose again on Saturday.
Jean-Christophe Bahebeck is favourite to score first at 5.50 and my best tip is PSG to win without conceding a goal at 2.10.
Score prediction: PSG 2 Bordeaux 1 at 9.00
Bastia 3.85, draw 3.20, Monaco 2.05 – Saturday 19.00 GMT
Claude Makelele, the Bastia manager, saved his job by leading his team to victory in the Mediterranean derby at Nice (1-0) last weekend, but he still needs another positive result on Saturday in another derby, this time at home, against Monaco.
Bastia hadn’t won since August and beating their enemy Nice was a massive breath of fresh air. They were desperate for a victory and despite the incidents with the home fans afterwards, they have taken a lot of positives from it. It is a mother tough game coming up though against Monaco. But they will have their home crowd behind them in a sold out match. They will need their support.
They will also need to find more inspiration offensively. Their goal in Nice was after a mistake by Diawara, the Nice centre-half, early in the game but apart from that they didn’t create enough. They will face a very solid Monaco defence who kept another clean sheet in midweek in the Champions League against Benfica (0-0).
Monaco are defending very well now in their 4-3-3 formation. The problem for them is offensively. After three weeks out for an ankle injury, Dimitar Berbatov got injured again on Wednesday, this time injuring his groin, and he will miss a few weeks of action. It is a massive blow for Monaco as he is their best player and their only real number 9 too.
Young Martial replaced him on Wednesday but he is still just 18. Germain, Ocampos or Ferreira-Carrasco are not pure number 9s either. But at least Monaco will have pace up front which will trouble the Bastia slow defence. The Furiani stadium is a very difficult place to go to and the atmosphere will be intimidating but Les Monégasques won their last two games in Bastia and I think they will make it three on Saturday.
Lacina Traoré is favourite to score first at 5.50. My best tip is under 1.5 goals scored at 2.80.
Score prediction: Bastia 0 Monaco 1 at 6.75
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