It’s always nice to look out for the big value bets and the outsiders but sometimes it pays to go with the tried and tested, and that maxim applies to the fixtures in Ligue 1 this weekend. Marseille and Lyon landed the odds for us in the opening round of fixtures last week, with PSG just one goal short of giving us a clean sweep of winning tips in French football. This Saturday and Sunday it should pay to side with the big guns again, as Monaco, PSG and Marseille all stand out from the crowd.
Marseille comfortably beat Dijon 3-0 last weekend, and after coming out of the financial doldrums a big season is expected. They travel to Nantes on Saturday afternoon – a side that lost its opening fixture by the same 3-0 scoreline away at Lille. Monaco are also on the road, at Marseille’s latest victims, Dijon. It’s a tough start to the season for a side which only survived relegation by a hairs breadth last term, and they are not expected to get much change from last season’s champions. Meanwhile, PSG are away at Guingamp as they await news of whether Neymar is eligible to play. The former Barcelona star’s debut has been delayed due to paperwork, and according to reports it could go right to the wire on Saturday night to determine whether he can make his debut in Sunday’s match.
Nantes v Marseille
First we’re backing Marseille at a reasonable +125 with Marathonbet to grab three points at Nantes.
Nantes finished a very respectable 7th in Ligue 1 last season, just outside the European qualification places but only two places short of a Marseille side that finished 5th. The circumstances of Marseille’s late run up the table suggest that there is a bigger gap than that between the two sides, and Nantes are not in great shape prior to this game.
They won just one preseason game over the summer and started their Ligue 1 campaign with a dismal 3-0 away defeat at Lille. It’s also worth pointing out that much of Nantes’ success last season was due to away form – their record on the road last term was 6th best in the league, compared to their home form which was 13th best in the final table.
Marseille got the campaign underway with a 3-0 win over Dijon, a continuation of the form that has seen them go unbeaten in all competitions and friendlies since the 1st of March. They are a side in much better form than Nantes, and with Dimitri Payet pulling the strings a strong season beckons.
Dijon v Monaco
Last year’s champions survived a scare last week as they had to come from behind to beat Toulouse 3-2. It was important to get a good start as they seek to defend their title, especially as so much talent has left the club over the summer. It remains to be seen if they can challenge PSG for the league again, but they are one of the strongest sides in Ligue 1 regardless, and should prove to be better than Dijon.
The French minnows were resoundingly beaten 3-0 at Marseille last week, but will seek solace back on home soil. They did hold Monaco to a 1-1 draw here last term, so they can be hopeful at least of getting a result. However, they managed to win just 7 of 19 home games last season and will always be vulnerable against the top sides in the division. Monaco are one of those teams, and they’ll be disappointed to come away with anything other than three points.
Guingamp v PSG
Guingamp finished a respectable 10th in the table last season, and their home record stands up to scrutiny. It was the 5th best home account in the division over the course of the season, and included a 2-1 win against PSG last December. Guingamp rarely fail to score in front of their own fans, and have found the net in four of their last five home games against PSG.
Having said all of that, PSG look stronger than ever this season and are expected to bang in the goals throughout the Ligue 1 campaign as they try to take back the title from Monaco. If Neymar does make his debut we can expect him to be heavily involved and it’s hard to see anything other than a Paris win.
Marseille to beat Nantes
Saturday 12th August, 16:00 GMT
Monaco to beat Dijon
Sunday 13th August, 16:00 GMT
PSG to beat Guingamp & both teams to score
Sunday 13th August, 20:00 GMT