Angers SCO v Monaco, Saturday 4pm
Four days before their clash at Dortmund in the Champions League quarter-finals, Monaco travel to Angers on Saturday afternoon in Ligue 1. Their title race with PSG is in full flow and they could take a six point lead over Paris if they beat the SCO as the Parisians then only play on Sunday evening at home against Guingamp. Both teams played in the French Cup quarter finals in midweek. Monaco put their humiliating defeat against PSG in the League Cup final last weekend behind them by beating Lille (2-1) while Angers put on a very good display to get the win against Bordeaux at home too.
Monaco will have the huge match against Dortmund on their minds and might not be totally focused on this difficult trip to Angers. However, they have been very good at being committed in each competition so far this season. Their manager Leonardo Jardim has rotated his squad very well although Monaco looked a bit jaded against PSG last weekend.
The league leaders should play their strongest team on Saturday after resting some key players in midweek. Radamel Falcao is still doubtful after missing the last four matches in all competitions. He is the team’s captain and a very important player. However, Kylian Mbappé will start up front after not featuring in midweek. He has been exceptional since February. Andrea Raggi is still out injured like Carrillo and Boschilia but everybody else is ready and available. Last season, Monaco were battered 3-0 at Angers. They will want their revenge. Their previous defeat was back in 1975!
However, Angers are a tough team to beat at home this season in the league. They have only lost three times in 15 matches (for five wins and seven draws). Their victory against Bordeaux in midweek and their qualification for the French Cup semi-final was a huge boost in confidence. They are 12th in the league table and certain to stay up now. This is a prestigious game for them and they will be well up for it. I think they will frustrate Monaco and get a point on Saturday.
The odds are massively in favour of Monaco with an away win at 1.70. The draw is at 3.80 and a Angers home win is at 5.00.
Kylian Mbappé is favourite to score first at 4.20. My best tip is a draw at half time and a draw at full time at 5.60.
Score prediction: Angers 1 Monaco 1 (8.00)
Lyon v Lorient, Saturday 7pm
Lyon host Lorient on Saturday evening, four days after beating Metz in a rearranged match (3-0). They were outstanding in the second half with Fekir, Tolisso and Lacazette all playing very well and the last two scoring as well. Lyon will struggle to come back on Nice in third place but they need to secure fourth spot and are currently seven points clear of Marseille.
However, they cannot afford to drop points against small teams like Lorient like they have done in the past already this season. They were beaten at Lorient back in August for example and have also dropped points at home with four defeats in fifteen matches at home this season in Ligue 1.
They need some consistency to finish well the season. They will also be thinking about their clash with Besiktas on Thursday in the Europa League quarter-final first leg. They dream of winning the Europa League this season which would be an incredible achievement for the club. Offensively, they are ready for that but not really defensively where they lack talent.
Memphis Depay is back for this game as he could not play in midweek. Bruno Genesio has everybody available for this game and will field a 4-2-3-1 formation with his strongest players. Lacazette is in great form with 24 goals in 26 league matches this season so far. Nabil Fekir is also very good in the second striker position at the moment. Lyon have a very good record at home in the league against Lorient with just one defeat in 14 encounters.
However, for the first time this season, Lorient have just won two league matches in a row! For the first time since October, they are not bottom of the table anymore and are 19th. They believe they can stay up as they are now level with Nancy in 18th and just a point behind Dijon in 17th and four behind Caen in 16th. They will have no pressure before this game and even a point would be a great result for them. However, Lyon will be too strong for them.
The odds are massively in favour of Lyon with a home win at 1.27. The draw is at 6.00 and a Lorient away win is at 10.00.
Alexandre Lacazette is favourite to score first at 3.20. My best tip is Lyon to win without conceding a goal at 2.75.
Score prediction: Lyon 3 Lorient 0 (10.50)
Toulouse v Marseille, Sunday 2pm
Marseille, who travel to Toulouse on Sunday afternoon, were disappointing again last weekend with a poor 1-1 draw at home against Dijon. It was their second successive draw after the 0-0 at Lille before the international break. They had a very poor first half and only a great free kick by Payet saved them and salvaged a point.
Manager Rudi Garcia was angry at his players after their performance and expects a reaction on Sunday in a tough away fixture. Marseille are still 5th in the league table at the moment but only seven points clear of their opponents, Toulouse, currently in 10th place.
L’OM want to finish in 5th place which will qualify them for the Europa League next season but they can’t drop too many points with Bordeaux and St Etienne right behind them with Guingamp, Rennes and Toulouse not too far either. Garcia has pretty much his whole squad available.
He should start again in a 4-3-3 formation with Payet-Gomis-Thauvin up front. Gomis was very poor last weekend and has to do better this weekend as Marseille rely on him a lot. Defensively, Marseille will have to be strong. Sertic, moved from midfield to central defence by Garcia, scored an own goal last weekend.
Toulouse prepared well for this game with a good win away from home at Montpellier last weekend. Andy Delort scored for the first time in a few weeks and Pascal Dupraz’ team looked solid and well organised as well as threatening offensively. The players are really looking forward to playing this prestigious game in front of a full stadium. It will be a great atmosphere on Sunday afternoon and the players believe they can beat Marseille although the club’s last victory at home in the league against them was back in 2007! I think they can too but I will settle for a draw.
The odds are quite even with a Marseille away win at 2.55. A draw is at 3.25 and a Toulouse home win is at 2.85.
Andy Delort is favourite to score first at 5.25. My best tip is a draw at half time and a draw at full time at 4.70.
Score prediction: Toulouse 1 Marseille 1 (6.75)
PSG v Guingamp, Sunday 8pm
A week after demolishing Monaco in the League Cup final (4-1) and four days after easily beating third division Avranches in the French Cup, PSG host Guingamp at the Parc des Princes on Sunday evening to stay in touch with Monaco in the title race.
The Parisians are currently three points behind their rivals in the table. They have great momentum and confidence after winning their first title of the season last weekend. They have forgotten about their humiliating defeat at Barcelona in the Champions League last month and are ready to fight Monaco and win the league title again and the French Cup.
A domestic treble would save their season. Unai Emery rested a lot of key players in midweek in the French Cup like Verratti, Cavani, Draxler, Di Maria, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos but they will all be back on Sunday and the manager should field his strongest team. Cavani has now scored 40 goals in 40 appearances for Paris this season which is an incredible ratio. The team is super dependent on him but he keeps delivering. PSG will play in a 4-3-3 formation and will look at dominating the game and scoring lots of goals against Guingamp.
The visitors are having a great season and are currently 8th in the table despite a tough start of 2017. Former PSG manager and player Antoine Kombouaré will be back at the Parc too against his former team which is always a special occasion.
Guingamp will be without Benezet in attack but have the strongest midfield and defence available. They will try to stay in the game for as long as possible but expect to suffer a lot. They have a very poor record in Paris against PSG in the league with a 6-0 defeat last season. Their last goal in Ligue 1 at the Parc was in 2001! I think PSG will be too strong for them once again.
The odds are massively in favour of PSG with a home win at 1.16. The draw is at 8.00 and a Guingamp away win is at 15.00.
Edinson Cavani is favourite to score first at 3.00. My best tip is PSG to win both halves at 2.07.
Score prediction: PSG 3 Guingamp 0 (8.00)