Toulouse v Angers
Toulouse have started to get a head of steam up in Ligue 1 largely thanks to some very decent home form. TFC might only have won a couple of matches in front of their home support this season, but in the five games they have played, they have faced the leading two sides in France in the form of Lorient and PSG.
Indeed, they have been stirred into action over the course of the last month, when they have finally faced some relatively straightforward opponents in the form of Reims and Montpellier. Both clubs were swept aside and now Philippe Montanier’s side tackle an opponent that is sitting in the relegation zone.
Angers actually won their previous away match but have since suffered defeats against Marseille and Strasbourg at home. Prior to their 1-0 success over an out-of-sorts Nice side, they had suffered heavy losses against Lyon and Troyes on their travels, while they were also held 2-2 by Auxerre. They do not look like a team comfortable on their travels.
Both clubs will have close to full squads available for this match, with the only pertinent player missing Rhys Healey of Toulouse. Despite this absence, the hosts should have the firepower to take them past Angers, who the
Rennes v Lyon
Rennes are in the midst of their best spell of form of the season and play a Lyon side that has travelled miserably this season but who have a new manager at the helm.
The home side come into this game after winning their last four matches in all competitions, while they are undefeated in 10. On Thursday, they beat Dynamo Kyiv 1-0 away from home in the Europa League, setting them up for qualification in Europe. Domestically, meanwhile, they have won their last four home matches by an aggregate score of 13-2. Perhaps the only concern for the Bretons with regards to this statistic is that they have not played a strong opponent.
Lyon, meanwhile, are coming off the back of a traumatic spell of form. Peter Bosz was sacked last weekend and swiftly replaced by Laurent Blanc, but there has to be a question mark over the new manager given that it has been more than six years since he coached domestically in France. Certainly, the turnaround process for OL looks unlikely to be quick. They have lost four of their last five matches, while they have taken only one point from four road games.
This is a fixture that Rennes have dominated in recent times. They have won six of the last nine and last season won 4-1 at home and 4-2 away. Even if it is unlikely this match is as thrilling, the hosts are still a very good price for the win.
Monaco v Clermont
It can be a little difficult to know what to expect from Monaco at present. Philippe Clement’s side have won their last five domestic matches but on Thursday went to Trabzonspor and suffered a 4-0 defeat against the Turkish side, despite playing with a strong team from the outset.
What Monaco have not been good at this season has been keeping clean sheets at home. Indeed, their record at Stade Louis II is lamentable this season, with two wins and a draw from five matches. Worryingly, they have a negative goal difference at home, having scored 10 but conceded 11. Remarkably, they have not kept a single shut out at home this season, and notably conceded four goals against both Lens and Troyes.
Clermont, meanwhile, are a capable offensive side and should have all of their key players in the team from the outset of this game, with the exception of tempo-making midfielder Johan Gastien. They come into this match in high spirits, too, having recorded wins over Ajaccio and Auxerre.
Visiting boss Pascal Gastien typically takes an attack-minded approach into these matches, and it would be no surprise to see Clermont have a real go at a Monaco outfit who have already proven themselves to be vulnerable defensively this season. Equally, though, the hosts are capable going forward, and they should have enough to score against a Clermont side that has conceded 15 times in 10 games.
Monaco have won their last four against Clermont, but while that winning streak is likely to continue – at odds much too slight to justify backing – the value in this game is on both teams finding the net.
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