The international break saw a number of key players injured for various Ligue 1 sides. Nice have the unenviable job of trying to beat PSG in Paris on Saturday. Lens entertain Lyon in what should be an exciting encounter to round out gameweek 9.
Angers Vs Marseille
Fri 30th 20:00 GMT
Gérald Baticle has performed a minor miracle in leading Angers to back to back Ligue 1 wins. They were however benefactors of an injury crisis at Montpellier and a dreadful sending off decision of Jean-Clair Todibo after only 9 seconds against Nice. During the week, main striker Loïs Diony tore his ACL which leave Baticle with a choice of strikers who have the following ‘last played for’ resumés: MLS bit part player, French 3rd tier player or English U21 league striker. Add into the mix that their star attacker and creator Sofiane Boufal is suspended, how Angers get on the scoreboard is a mystery at this point.
Marseille’s last Ligue 1 outing saw them do something not many teams have done over the past two seasons, dominate Rennes in the possession stakes. However, they only drew 1-1 and probably lack a ruthlessness to challenge PSG for the title. They should be too strong for Angers especially now that Igor Tudor will have had an additional two weeks training with those not on international duty. I strongly fancy Marseille to win this game and don’t see the 5/6 available at the time of writing to last.
Strasbourg Vs Rennes
Sat 1st 16:00 GMT
If Strasbourg’s injury crisis wasn’t bad enough they will now be without star centre back Alexander Djiku who picked up a calf injury on international duty with Ghana. Strasbourg will also likely be without two other stars in Ludovic Ajorque and Adrien Thomasson. Add in Colin Dagba, Karol Fila, Thomas Delaine, Lebo Mothiba and Strasbourg should struggle against a Rennes side that plays with such a high intensity.
Rennes are still looking to find some consistency this season. A record of W3 D3 L2 is not the form of a side that almost finished 2nd last season. Bruno Génésio is still trying to get the balance of the side right after plenty of summer transfer window changes. He will have been delighted with the international break, as no players picked up an injury. He will also have had more time to gel new centre back pairing of Joe Rodon and Arthur Theate. If they can finally keep things tight at the back, Rennes should win this game.
Rennes to win @ 11/8
Lens Vs Lyon
Sun 2nd 19:45 GMT
Fourth take on 6th when Lens welcome Lyon to Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Sunday evening. Franck Haise is repeating last seasons early season form and arguably has Lens playing better this time around. The showmanship in putting on a massive display for Seko Fofana’s contract renewal is paying dividends with the midfielder sitting 16th in Ligue 1’s top rated players (according to WhoScored.com) this season. He isn’t their top rated player on that list however, that belongs to 5th place Florian Sotoca. After spending most of his career as a number 9, Sotoca is revelling in a free role behind the main striker. He has 5 goals in 8 games this season.
Lyon’s head coach Peter Bosz could be on the hot seat if OL fail to win this game after 3 losses in Ligue 1 on the spin. Losses to PSG and Monaco are not completely unexpected but they were dismantled by what the club hierarchy would call an inferior side in Lorient. After quite heavy investment (to offset a few key player sales), the board at the Groupama will expecting a win in this game. I’m not sure it will will come but given both of these two teams playing styles, I expect plenty of goals to close out the gameweek.
Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals @ 5/6
Marseille win @ 5/6 (4pt win)
Rennes to win @ 11/8 (2pt win)
Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals @ (1pt win)
Above in treble (best priced): 13/2 (1pt win)