Montpellier v Rennes
Friday 25th February – 8:00PM KO
The opening game of the Ligue 1 weekend sees Rennes travel to Montpellier.
Given the Bretons’ poor away form, odds of 2.0 on them leaving Stade de la Mosson appear to be distinctly slim. Rennes, after all, have lost their last five away fixtures, including a Coupe de France encounter against Nancy, in which they were defeated on penalties.
Montpellier, meanwhile, have only lost four of their 13 home Ligue 1 matches, though admittedly they are in arguably their poorest form of the season to date.
Goals look to be on the cards, though. Rennes have played some excellent football in recent weeks, dismantling Troyes 4-1 at home last weekend. Their team could be supplemented by the return of Jeremy Doku after injury, which would provide an additional attacking threat, though it would be surprising to see an overhaul of this area after their impressive display last time out.
Montpellier, meanwhile, are depleted at the back. Mamadou Sakho, who has been their defensive lynchpin this season, is ruled out, while regular left-back Mihailo Ristic is also absent. Playmaker Teji Savanier is in full flight, though, and netted the winner against Lorient last weekend.
When Savanier has played in Ligue 1 this season, Montpellier have failed to score on only three occasions. In two of the matches in which they were shutout, Savanier was sent off. This includes their previous outing against Rennes. Should Montpellier’s ace keep his cool, the home side will surely hit the net at least once
Prediction: Both Teams to Score, 1.75 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Strasbourg v Nice
Saturday 26th February – 4:00PM KO
Two of Ligue 1’s most in-form teams square off in Alsace on Saturday afternoon, with Strasbourg and Nice two of the main pretenders to finish in a Champions League spot come the end of the season. Indeed, this match is liable to have huge repercussions in that race.
The stats suggest this will be a tough match to call. Strasbourg have won seven of their 12 home matches, losing only three times, while Nice have one of the best away record in Ligue 1, having lost only three of their 12 fixtures.
Racing are arguably the side in marginally more consistent form approaching this game. Although Nice recently won six straight, they have also lost two of their last four, including a recent away trip to Lyon, where they were surprisingly outclassed.
Strasbourg, meanwhile, have won five of their last seven matches but have had an easier run of fixtures. Recent history in this fixture favours the hosts – they have won each of the last two, including a 3-0 success in Nice in December – but not to such a degree that odds of 2.2 should be considered value.
Given the importance of this game and the emphasis that Nice head coach Christophe Galtier puts on tactical discipline, it is likely to be a low-scoring affair. Each of Nice’s last four Ligue 1 games have produced fewer than three goals.
Strasbourg, meanwhile, have seen five of their last eight league games produce under three goals.
This should be a tight match that could go either way.
Prediction: Under 2.5 Goals, 1.75 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️)
PSG v Saint-Etienne
Saturday 26th February – 8:00PM KO
Paris Saint-Germain have a point to prove after suffering a shock 3-1 defeat against Nantes last weekend. Despite sitting comfortably top of Ligue 1, failure to overcome Saint-Etienne would plunge them to the brink of crisis ahead of a Champions League trip to Real Madrid next month, so the focus on getting the win will be profound.
At home, PSG have been a formidable force this season. Indeed, only Nice, who have played out a couple of 0-0 draws at Parc des Princes this season, have visited the capital and not lost. In Ligue 1, PSG have won 11 of 12 matches and have conceded only six goals. Indeed, they have not conceded a league goal at home since November – nearly 500 minutes of football ago.
Meanwhile, their record against Saint-Etienne is strong: they have not lost any of the last 24 meetings between the clubs.Although the visiting side have improved under Pascal Dupraz, a coach more noted for his man-management abilities than his tactical acumen, they are unlikely to get a result in the capital.
They may, however, make the game more competitive than expected. In the 11 matches in all competitions that the new boss has overseen, Saint-Etienne have yet to lose by more than a single goal. Meanwhile, the attitude and spirit of the players has been impeccable.
Sainté are presently on a four-match undefeated run in the league, equalling their best sequence of the season, and they are capable of making life awkward for PSG.
Prediction: Saint-Etienne +2, 2.30 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️)
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