Dermot shares his French Fancies for week two of Ligue 1.
Last week PSG opened the season win a bang by hammering Clermont 5-0 on the road. There were also impressive showings from Monaco, Marseille, Lyon and Lille suggesting the title race will be closer than last year. This week we’ll focus on some of the lesser lights in what looks like a tough set of fixtures.
Reims Vs Clermont – Sun 14th Aug 14:00 GMT
Reims conceded four in Ligue 1 for only the 2nd time under Óscar García when losing to Marseille 4-1 at the Velódrome on the opening day. On paper it’s a dreadful result but they bettered the home side in terms of shots on goal (12-11). Les Rouges et Blancs produced some memorable upsets last season (Monaco, Lyon, Lille, Rennes) and with a little more composure in front of goal could have produced another.
Their oppenenets however were utterly abysmal. Yes, the arrival Christophe Galtier appears to be the fire some of PSG’s stars needed but the Parisiens would have tougher training games against their 2nd string. Clermont have sold a few of the key players that kept them in Ligue 1 (Bayo, Samed & Zedadka) last season. Les Lanciers are going to take 4-5 games for the new signings to settle. Given Reims are odds against, this feels like an automatic home win play.
Troyes Vs Toulouse – Sun 14th Aug 14:00 GMT
Troyes will feel they let three points get away from them rather than just one at Montpellier in Week 1. ESTAC had massive total of 15 shots on goal but were undone by some poor defending. They are another Ligue 1 team that will improve as the season progesses as a lot of new signings are quite young compared to the experience they are replacing. The link up with the City Football Group has seen an influx of young signings to bolster the side that finished 15th last season.
Les Violets returned to Ligue 1 after a two year absence and will be more than happy with a point against Nice. Toulouse will know that the away side’s issues in front of goal (which have marred Nice since last season) probably saved them from defeat rather than their own performance. Of the promoted sides, the Occitan’s appear to have the best defence. It’s their attack though that was most impressive last season (82 scored in 38) when winning the Ligue 2 title. A repeat from last week for Troyes should see them both score and concede which makes both teams to score the bet in this game.
Nice Vs Strasbourg – Sun 14th Aug 16:05 GMT
Returning manager Lucien Favre will have been pleased with his sides overall performance away to Toulouse to start the season. The biggest plus will have been the goal of Aaron Ramsey, who has the potential to be the game changer Les Aiglons sorely missed in the middle of the park in Galtier’s term. Last season’s central midfield contributed 6 goals and 7 assists between five players, something the Welshman would see as an average personal performance should his fitness hold out.
Strasbourg challenged for a top 5 finish all the way to the last day last season having been 6th in the betting for relegation in the antepost market. The Alsace side’s succes came from being able to almost put the same starting XI out each game. One of the stars from last season, Ludovic Ajorque, has caused some discontent by handing in a transfer request. Until the matter is settled Le Racing may not achieve last season’s perfomances. Nice let the column down a lot last season but I trust in Favre to get things right. A first win of the season for the home side looks overpriced here.
Reims Vs Clermont – Reims Win (2pts @ 6/5)
Troyes Vs Toulouse – Both teams to score (1p @ 4/5)
Nice Vs Strasbourg – Nice Win (1pt @ 5/4)
Above in a treble – 1pt win @ 17/2