Lorient v Reims
Lorient should ensure their Ligue 1 survival this season based upon their home form, and it is matches such as Sunday’s that are their fuel. On 34 points, Lorient still need a handful more points to book their place in the top flight next season and they will be eyeing this match to grab three.
Christophe Pellisier’s side are traditionally a strong outfit at Stade du Moustoir, and that has been evident in recent weeks as they have picked off fellow strugglers Saint-Etienne and Metz 6-2 and 1-0 respectively. Meanwhile, they will have their full squad available for this match.
Conversely, Reims will have to do without top scorer Hugo Ekitike, while they have numerous headaches in their midfield. Oscar Garcia’s side, meanwhile, do not arrive for this game in particularly good form. They have won only one of their last six and have failed to score in either of their last two road trips. Reims, however, are already safe, so there is little urgency on their part.
Lorient, meanwhile, boast an outstanding record in the head-to-head between these clubs. Although the pair drew 0-0 earlier this season, Lorient had won the previous five meetings, dating back to August 2015.
Team selection, venue and history is all on the side of the Breton outfit, who should be backed via Draw No Bet in case there is a hangover from last weekend’s thumping loss against derby rivals Rennes. Expect Lorient to respond, though.
Monaco v Angers
Monaco are the only side in Europe’s Big 5 leagues to have won their last six league matches heading into the weekend and that run should be extended to seven against an Angers outfit fighting for their lives.
Philippe Clement’s side have come into some attacking form, with Wissam Ben Yedder, Kevin Volland and Myron Boadu giving the head coach plenty of fine scoring options to select from. As a result, they have scored 15 goals in their last six games and notably put four past Saint-Etienne away from home last weekend.
While they are bristling with offensive talent, they will come up against an Angers side depleted by a couple of key absentees in attack. Right-sided player Jimmy Cabot remains out, while they will also be bereft of leading scorer Sofiane Boufal, who is unlikely to play again this season. This complicates life incredibly for the guests, who will likely adopt a defensive approach for this match.
Angers, meanwhile, have not been great away from home and last weekend surrendered a 2-0 lead against Clermont in what finished a 2-2 draw. A point flattered them.
They are winless in eight on the road, and though they have drawn three of these matches, two of the points they have picked up have been against direct rivals for relegation. Although Angers remain on the fringes of the dogfight, they still have the bottom two clubs plus out-of-form Montpellier to play, so even a defeat is not catastrophic.
Monaco won 3-1 when the sides met earlier this season and a similar type of score is likely as they chase a fifth successive win in this rivalry.
Bordeaux v Nice
It is virtually impossible to back against Bordeaux games producing fewer than 2.5 goals at present, and Sunday’s clash with Nice is no different. The home side’s 34 league fixtures this season have produced an astonishing 131 goals – close to four-per-game on average – and while there was a temporary lull when David Guion first took charge, that is firmly in the past.
Bordeaux’s last four games have produced a grand total of 23 strikes, with a thrilling 5-3 loss in Nantes last weekend the latest example of the prolific nature of their games. This has been caused by having a very capable attack but also an absolutely woeful defence.
Conversely, Nice are typically involved in tight matches. Both of their last two games have ended 1-0 to the home side but they need to go chasing a win in this encounter if they are to finish in the Champions League spots. It should create the conditions for a more open match than they typically play.
There will also be visiting players eager to impress ahead of the Coupe de France final next weekend, with the club’s recent rocky form putting the starting XI for that encounter against Nantes into some doubt. Anyone who catches the eye in this game could play themselves into the team for Paris. They are not lacking in incentive to get among the goals.
Each of the last two games between these clubs have produced at least three goals.
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