Monaco 1.92, draw 3.25, Lille 4.25 – Saturday 16.00 GMT
Like for Marseille, Week 3 has been very positive for Monaco. They recorded their first win of the season after two defeats in their first two matches. They were dominated by Nantes, who missed a penalty and many chances too, but they managed to hang on to get three crucial points.
Radamel Falcao started his first Ligue 1 game in over seven months and did what he does best: score the winning goal. He had one chance and buried it. It is a massive boost for him and for the team, in terms of confidence and momentum. The Colombian is not back to his best yet but Monaco needed him badly and he delivered.
Funnily enough, new manager Leonardo Jardim went back to basics in Nantes with the team assembled by former manager Claudio Ranieri last season. If everything was not perfect, especially defensively (they conceded their fourth penalty of the campaign already!), the Monégasques showed the mental and physical resilience of last year combined with Falcao’s incredible efficiency.
They are off the mark and hope that their season has finally kicked off. They will need to keep the momentum on Saturday at home against Lille. It is a tough game for the visitors, who have been knocked out of the Champions League by Porto in midweek.
They were beaten by a team stronger than them but their start of the season is reassuring. They still haven’t conceded a goal in the league so far (0-0, 1-0, 2-0) and with seven points they are third in the table.
However, they are struggling offensively. Salomon Kalou is on his way out and he was involved in 45% of their goals in the last two seasons. Divock Origi is not back to his best form either and the lack of creativity in the team, from the midfielders and the wingers, is a big problem.
They got a good 1-1 draw last season at the Stade Louis II but it was a campaign where everything went their way. They will have to be well organized and solid on Saturday but their two centre halves, Basa and Kjaer, are doubtful for the game. It would be a massive blow if they were to miss the match. However, I think Lille will travel to Monaco to get a draw and will get it.
Falcao is favourite to score first at 4.50. My best tip is under 0.5 goals to be scored at 7.00.
Score prediction: Monaco 0 Lille 0 at 7.00
PSG 1.50, draw 4.05, St Etienne 6.75 – Sunday 20.00 GMT
As we expected, PSG found it very difficult last weekend at Evian and drop two more points after a disappointing performance (0-0).
They suffered a lot of the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is injured but could return for this game against St Etienne on Sunday. Edinson Cavani replaced him in the lone striker role but missed two big chances and was not good enough, once again, in that position. The champions also lost Cabaye who was sent off for two yellow cards after a bad display as well.
PSG don’t like travelling to Evian but the problem is that they don’t like facing St Etienne either. Les Verts are Paris’ bogey team. PSG have only won one of their last four league meetings with them. They struggle against the organisation and discipline of Christophe Galtier’s side.
The hosts are praying for Ibra to be back from his injury. It is still 50-50 at the moment but it would be a massive boost for the team to have him back. This is the first big clash of the season for Paris and they need to be up for it.
Reims (2-2), Bastia (2-0) and Evian (0-0) have been poor opponents compared to the opposition St Etienne will provide on Sunday evening. Thiago Silva is still out at the back but David Luiz has been solid in the last two games. However, for him as well it is his first big test of French football.
For St Etienne, this game doesn’t arrive at the right time. They have started the season well and are second in the table, behind Bordeaux, before Week 4. But in the last three games they have struggled offensively, and they needed penalties to see off Turkish side Karabukspor in the Europa League, which will also mean that they will not be as fresh as the Parisians coming into this game.
Mevlut Erding is also not totally fit because of some pain in his ankle, but Les Verts know how to upset PSG. They have done it in the past and psychologically, this is important. However, I can’t see the champions failing to turn up for the second game in a row.
They will answer their critics with a good performance on Sunday and win this match.
Ibrahimovic is favourite to score first at 3.65. My best tip though is over 2.5 goals to be scored at 1.91.
Score prediction: PSG 2 St Etienne 1 at 8.00
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