France were on the end of a humiliating result in the international break when they were held to a 0-0 draw by minnows Luxembourg. French fans could be forgiven then for looking forward to the return of domestic football and the chance to go back to supporting club not country this weekend!
We hit some decent odds last time out with our Ligue 1 tips, backing over 2.5 goals and over 3.5 goals in the match between Monaco and Marseille. Neither bet was ever really in doubt as Monaco thumped Marseille 6-1 in a seven-goal thriller. Both teams feature again in our French football round up this week, with the side from the French Riviera travelling to Nice, and Marseille looking to recover with a home tie against lowly Rennes.
Nice, assisted by a resurgent Mario Balotelli, had a superb season last year finishing third in the standings behind Monaco and PSG. They beat Ajax over two legs in a Champions League qualifier earlier this season, but lost out to Napoli in the play off round, missing out on a place in Europe’s elite competition. They have the consolation prize of a spot in the Europa League group stages, but for now must focus on the league where they are just one place above the relegation zone. Hosting Monaco is no easy task. The champions have won their first four games of the season and are neck-and-neck with PSG at the top of the Ligue 1 table.
Rennes finished 9th in the league last year, but have had a poor start so far this season after two draws and two defeats from four games. A trip to Marseille is not the ideal opportunity to turn things around this weekend, particularly if Payet and co. produce a backlash from that humiliating 6-1 loss at Monaco. Marseille are currently 6th in the table and will be determined to get back to winning ways on Sunday night.
Another side looking to push for Champions League places again is Lyon, and they host Guingamp on Sunday in what looks like a perfect opportunity to get back on track after two consecutive draws.
Nice v Monaco
Of Monaco’s four wins this season they have conceded in three of them, and such is their free-for-all attacking nature that they are always liable to let in one or two at the other end. This bet would have been a winner on many occasions last season, and there is little to suggest things will be any different this term.
Nice have been poor in Ligue 1 so far this year, but they are sure to have been distracted by those Champions League qualification games against Ajax and Napoli. They have managed a 2-0 home win over Guingamp to claim their only three points, but have already been beaten at home in a 2-1 defeat to Troyes. There is every chance they will raise their game for the visit of Monaco – remarkably Nice beat them 4-0 here last term – and they are certainly capable of finding the net.
However, Monaco have been incredibly strong so far this season despite losing so many players, and they are taken to outscore Nice on the day.
Marseille v Rennes
Marseille have won ten of the last eleven games at home (competitive and friendly matches) and they should prove to be too good for Rennes at odds of -133 with BoyleSports.
Rennes are yet to win this season and currently occupy 19th spot in the early standings. It was their home form that helped them to a top-half finish last season, but on the road it was a different story. They won just two of 19 away games, and lost the corresponding fixture with Marseille 2-0 back in February.
Marseille have pretensions of improving on last season’s fifth-placed finish but dropped points in their last home game which was a 1-1 draw with Angers. To finish in the Champions League positions they will need to win the vast majority of home games, and they are a good bet to win on Sunday night.
Lyon v Guingamp
Guingamp owe their 9th position in the table to wins over bottom club Metz and newly-promoted Strasbourg. In their other two games they have been beaten to nil by Nice and PSG.
Surprisingly they shocked Lyon 3-1 on this ground last season, but the home side had won the previous three and normal service should be resumed on Sunday. Lyon are unbeaten at home this season, while Guingamp have lost 8 out of 10 on the road. This one should go down as the banker of the day in the French league.
Monaco to win and Both teams to score
Saturday 9th September, 16:00 GMT
Marseille to beat Rennes
Sunday 10th September, 20:00 GMT
Lyon to beat Guingamp
Sunday 10th September, 16:00 GMT