Another three selections this week for Dermot with two entertaining clashes bookending an optimistic treble
Another week has passed in Ligue 1 and the red card counter for the league keeps on going up. There were five last weekend bringing the season total to 49 through 12 weeks. For context there have been just 8 in the English Premier League. It makes Ligue 1 entertaining but it can make betting on it a tricky proposition.
Speaking of entertaining, the weekend starts and ends with two very open looking fixtures. High flying Lens host Toulouse on Friday night and the action wraps up with a big clash at Groupama where Lyon take on Lille. Both of those games feature in this week’s selections with the other coming against a team picked last week. An honorable mention for potentially the game of the weekend goes to Rennes and Montpellier, it just depends on which version of the away side turns up.
Lens Vs Toulouse
Fri 28th 20:00 GMT
Franck Haise appears to be reveling in his new role as head coach/director of football (also known as ‘the manager’ in English football pre Roman Abramovich’s arrival at Chelsea). Lens sit 2nd after an impressive 1-0 win in the Vélodrome last weekend. The key to their success has been those gritty away wins which would have been draws or defeats last season. At home though, Le Sang Et Or are flawless so far with a perfect played 6, won 6 record.
Toulouse must also be happy with their start to the season but should sit 8th rather than 10th after giving up a 2 goal lead to Strasbourg last time out (see the aforementioned red cards). My suggestion in this game is a home win and both teams to score even though Lens haven’t give up a goal at Stade Bollaert-Delelis in their past 3 games. I just feel that Toulouse have that little bit of belief and arrogance that most teams don’t have when dealing with Lens high press. Les Violets have only failed to score just once in 5 away games this season.
Nantes Vs Clermont
Sun 29th 14:00 GMT
Even though Nantes are the reigning Coupe de France champions, manager Antoine Kombouare’s tenure has been questioned after a poor start to the season. It would be an incredibly harsh sacking given the lack of depth in Les Canaris squad. The manager is a master tactician in terms of setting his side up to have the best possible chance to beat the opposition. Trying to keep the squad fresh whilst competing in Ligue 1 and the Europa League is probably more of an issue than Kombouare’s ability. A loss to 2nd place Lorient is the only bad result for the home side after a European game so I’d have no fear of the mythical “European football hangover”.
Last week I tipped Clermont to win, but without Maxime Gonalons (for 75 minutes) they were truly abysmal. Then bottom side Brest could have reached double figures on the scoreboard if they had a reliable striker, that’s just how bad Clermont were. The main reason I fancy Nantes to win this game is just how poor Clermont became without Gonalons patrolling in front of the defence. With Nantes almost at full health and fresh off a Europa League win, they should be closer to the top 10 than the relegation spots by the end of this game.
Lyon Vs Lille
Sun 30th 19:45 GMT
Laurent Blanc’s arrival at the Groupama hasn’t changed a whole lot about Lyon in his first pair of games. Four scored, four conceded over those 2 games would indicate that maybe Bosz wasn’t entirely the issue beforehand. A change of system will take an adjustment period for the defence but it’s utilising the attack a bit better that might turn things around for OL.
Lille arrive to the game off a highly entertaining victory over Monaco. They have finally beaten one of the top Ligue 1 sides this season, getting the better of a seven goal thriller in the principality. This season LOSC look more like the side that won the league two seasons ago but with a far more emphasis on attack. Remy Cabella has been reborn on his return to French football and is the link between the defence and attack that was sorely missed last term. Given both sides’ recent form this should be an open affair. In such a game, Alexandre Lacazette will look to continue his excellent form under Blanc, having scored 3 of the 4 goals of his tenure so far.
Lens to win & BTTS @ 19/10 (2pt win)
Nantes to win @ EVS (1pt win)
Alexandre Lacazette to score anytime @ 13/8 (2pt win)
Above in treble (best priced): 13/1 (1pt win)