OGC Nice v Marseille
Marseille travel to the Allianz Riveria in what will be their sternest test yet in Ligue 1 thus
far. Les Olympians will be looking to continue their unbeaten start against Lucien Favre’s
Nice side who have been lifted by their Europa Conference League qualification after coming
from behind to beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 2-0 on Thursday evening.
Last season’s feisty scenes between fans and players were symptomatic of the fiery contest
on the pitch, in a rivalry which has provided 15 goals in the last 5 meetings between the two
Nice are still looking for their first league win of the season, having largely disappointed
against Strasbourg, Clermont, and newly promoted Toulouse. European play-off competition
has proved to be distraction for Les Aiglons – and once again a long 120-minute slog against
Tel Aviv will take its toll on the Nice defence.
However, Alexis Beka Beka is looking for sharper game by game, and provided a wonderful,
curled finish to take his club to Europe – he will look to threaten again from midfield
alongside Aaron Ramsey and Khéphren Thuram.
OM will be hoping to exploit Nice’s European exploits – with Milik departing the club for
Juventus, it will be time for the Colombian Luis Suarez to pick up the mantle up front, but he
will be confident after having scored two goals in two bench appearances already.
Once again, Nuno Tavares and Jonathan Clauss will threaten from the wing-back positions –
the former’s driving runs, and the latter’s pinpoint early crosses being a key component of the
All in all, it is a Côte d’Azur derby between two of Ligue 1’s most volatile clubs which has
seen goals in the past and will see both sides looking to kick on with their respective new
bosses. It could be another goal-filled feisty affair once again between Nice and Marseille.
Brest v Montpellier
Brest’s home encounter with Montpellier is liable to be a game that produces plenty of goals. The
hosts’ matches this season are averaging close to four goals this season, while their opponents are
averaging exactly five. This continues a trend from last term in which they were both typically
involved in high-scoring matches.
This time around, it is Brest who have made the better start. In each of their three games, both
teams have found the net and two of these have produced more than 2.5 goals. Their only previous
home match was a 1-1 draw against Marseille, in which they were the stronger side. Last weekend,
they were handsome 3-1 winners in Angers.
Montpellier’s matches have been even more laden with goals. They have conceded at least twice in
each of the fixtures they have played and are clearly a side who are stronger offensively than they
are at the back. Worse, they face a defensive headache this weekend as Mamadou Sakho, their most
experienced defender, is a doubt with a broken nose. Key playmaker Teji Savanier’s absence will
blunt their attack, but they still have other good options going forward and should remain a threat.
The hosts, meanwhile, will have Islam Slimani ready to debut, although after Jeremy Le Douaron
scored twice last weekend, this is likely to be from the bench.
Six of the last seven between these clubs have yielded more than 2.5 goals, and the evidence all
points to another entertaining affair.
Troyes v Angers
Troyes were not a side associated with goals last season as Bruno Irles ensured his team ground
their way to safety, yet this time around, there has been something of a change. It’s not been a
positive one as far as ESTAC are concerned.
They have totally forgotten how to defence. In their three matches to date this season, they have
conceded 10 times and the return of Adil Rami last weekend proved to be a disaster as his lack of
match sharpness told with an early error that blew the game open against Lyon and led to a 4-1 loss.
Irles is a coach who already finds the pressure on him and a negative result here could see him well
on the way to the exit door, despite a recent vote of confidence. His side will have to be relatively
open at some point, but with Ike Ugbo signed, they do at least have some offensive muscle to call
upon. Indeed, they were better against OL last weekend than their one goal suggested, while they
also netted two in a defeat to Montpellier on the opening weekend.
Angers, meanwhile, are another side better offensively than at the back thus far. They failed to close
out a two-goal lead in their previous away game at Auxerre in their previous away game, for
Against a team disastrous defensively, they will expect to have enough attacking quality to find the
net. Sofiane Boufal, who scored last weekend’s consolation, should be back in the starting XI and is
their best player. Meanwhile, Abdallah Sima could debut, having picked up an injury late in pre-
season. His performances in attack over the summer were very promising indeed.
When these sides played last season, the matches finished 2-1 and 1-1. Expect something similar this
time around, with goals at both ends probable.
PSG v Monaco
Christophe Galtier’s ambitions for an unbeaten season with PSG were supposed to be tested
by a difficult game away to Lille but were instead proven to be justified as the Parisians blew
away their manager’s former side 7-1.
His reformed PSG side look sharper, more intense, and more focussed on each individual
game which has resulted in their blistering early season form which was somewhat
summarised by Kylian Mbappé’s quick-fire finish eight seconds into the Lille game.
Neymar’s sensational early season form is showing no sign of slowing down after being
involved in 11 Ligue 1 goals this season with five goals and six assists, more than twice as
many than any other player in the top 6 European leagues.
After disputes over the PSG penalty taker against Montpellier, Mbappé seems to have buried
the hatchet with the Brazilian on the pitch – with the pair combining and assisting for one
another along with Lionel Messi, who has also started to perform at the levels that were
expected of him when he joined the club last summer. PSG’s front two with Messi sat behind
will be the focal point of the attack, hoping to exploit a somewhat leaky Monaco defence.
Monaco are never too far away from a crisis in recent times. Phillipe Clément’s drab early
season form is starting to be questioned, following a spectacular defensive collapse against
RC Lens by four goals to one. However, against PSG the Monegasques have proved
themselves to be a bogey team for the current Ligue 1 Champions – having won three of the
last five meetings between the two sides.
Whilst not on the same level as PSG, Monaco still have managed to score seven goals so far
in five games (including European competition). They also actually have achieved a more
than two expected goals in every game until the defeat to Lens, pointing to a side who can
create chances but are not yet clinical enough to convert in front of goal. They are also a side
that is starting to show some defensive fragility with 10 conceded in their opening five
With PSG scoring at least five goals in each one of their last four outings, and Monaco’s
unpredictable defensive display but decent chance creation – it looks a game in which goals
will feature heavily, most likely, on the part of the Parisian side.
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