Strasbourg v Clermont Foot
Julien Stéphan’s struggling Strasbourg side will host this year’s surprise package in Clermont in which could be a vital game by the end of the season. Les Alsatians are still looking for their first win in Ligue 1 having lost two games and drawing four so far.
Clermont, on paper, would be the best opportunity for the home side to pick up points – but this is a Clermont side in great form and confidence, and will pose major problems Strasbourg.
It’s Clermont’s second season in Ligue 1, and they’ve already won three of their opening six games – with losses only coming to Marseille, Paris Saint-Germain, and Lorient so far. They are a side that make the most of the chances they get often outscoring – their expected goals as they have in all three of their wins. Former Lyon man Maxime Gonalons is looking rejuvenated in his new colors – having made four appearances already for Clermont and getting on the scoresheet last week against Toulouse.
Not only does he offer experience and discipline in midfield, but he is also adept at winning the ball and providing dangerous through balls which will threaten Strasbourg’s ability to play freely in midfield.
Clermont’s Austrian attacking midfielder Muhammed Cham is the biggest threat, having scored 3 in 6 already this season – after coming off the bench and scoring last week he could be set to start for the away side.
Strasbourg’s front two of Diallo and Ajorque were the subject of Premier League interest over the summer, but they are expected to start together once again – they are the main source of goals for Strasbourg with 3 out of their side’s total of 5 scored so far this season. Whilst on first viewing these are symbolic of a side that are struggling – there will be no better target than a Clermont defense that has already conceded 10 goals in 6 games so far.
In a game where both defences aren’t exactly settled – and both with underrated attacking threats, there is a high chance that they will more than likely get on the scoresheet.
Rennes v Auxerre
Rennes have not made the start to the Ligue 1 season that they would have wished, having won only two of their first six fixtures. In keeping with their domestic start, they struggled over the line in the Europa League on Thursday against AEK. Although they secured a 2-1 win, it was achieved only in stoppage-time.
Rennes’ issues have been two-fold. Offensively, they have not enjoyed the best of seasons. They were spectacular going forward last season but have failed to hit those heights. Nevertheless, Rennes have still managed to net in their last six games.
Equally, though, the Breton side have been unimpressive defensively. They have yet to keep a clean sheet this season, conceding exactly one goal in six of their seven fixtures this term.
Auxerre represent an opponent well capable of scoring in this fixture. After all, AJA have only been shut out this season against a well-organised Marseille outfit. Furthermore, Mbaye Niang will be eager to impress against his old club, while Rennes may well choose to rotate in the defence given that they tackle Fenerbahce in a potentially pivotal Europa League match in midweek.
The history of this fixture points to a low-scoring game but given that these sides have not met since 2014, their previous outings can be totally discounted.
Both teams have scored in Rennes’ last six games in all competitions and in four of six of Auxerre’s matches this term, so look for that to continue.
Monaco v Lyon
Monaco and Lyon is expected to be a top-of-the-table clash in Ligue 1, but both clubs have been in unconvincing form so far this term. OL may come into this game fourth in the league, but that is purely because of a perfect home record – they have picked up only one point from their two away trips. Monaco, meanwhile, are struggling to be mid-table.
The hosts’ problems were evident in midweek as they struggled to overcome Red Star 1-0 in Europe. Goalkeeper Alexander Nubel was clearly man of the match as Monaco required a soft penalty converted by Breel Embolo to secure an ill-deserved 1-0 win.
Domestically, they have been poor. Indeed, they have lost successive home matches heavily against Lens and Troyes. Monaco, though, have shown a propensity to raise their game to face the bigger clubs. They drew 1-1 at PSG with a strong performance that is out of character with the rest of their displays this season and then battled to a 1-0 win over Nice last weekend.
Lyon, meanwhile, have been bubbly at home but poor on the road. They were well beaten 3-1 by Lorient in midweek and were frustrated to 1-1 draw in Reims – a match they would likely have lost had it not been for their hosts going down to 10 men in controversial style.
Look for this match to be a relatively closed affair as there is much riding on this game for both clubs. Three of the last four between these teams have been 2-0 victories, and while on paper this may be a game that could produce goals, in reality it is being played out between two clubs at a delicate point in their season.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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