Match Preview: Ligue 1 (Week 18)

Updated: December 10, 2013
This week’s online betting tips sees an intense competition in Ligue 1’s top three.
Paris Saint Germain is keen on securing more victories after its unexpected loss to Evian Thonon Gaillard. On the other hand, AS Monaco will also clinch as many wins as possible to narrow the gap against PSG and eventually, topple them in the top spot. In the meantime, Lille’s Vincent Enyeama will try to stop more goals, keep a clean sheet and create more unforgettable records in Ligue 1. As for Montpellier, many are eager to know how Rolland Courbis will lead the team back to its glorious days
AC Ajaccio vs Lorient
Match Date: 14 December 2013 (local time)
Venue: Stade Francois-Coty
Team Form
AC Ajaccio
Ajaccio almost held Monaco to a goalless stalemate, but fell short when Andrea Raggi’s pass landed on Emmanuel Rivière, who took the winning goal of the match. The loss was Ajaccio’s 4th in its last six (6) matches.
Ajaccio’s struggle for survival continues. The club is having a hard time reversing their losing streak and moving out of the relegation zone. Stuck in the 19th spot, Ajaccio has been defeated in their last ten (10) matches in Ligue 1.
Injury problems are also taking a toll on the club as some of their key players such as Ronald Zubar and Benoit Pedretti are sidelined.
The match against Lorient is crucial.  Ajaccio will soon meet Reims and Paris Saint Germaine, thus, presenting the need to clinch more points.
Yann Jouffre winning goals spearheaded Lorient’s 4th straight win against Rennes. Jouffre, who fired the opening shot, gained the club’s early lead, was also the one who nailed Rennes coffin when his right footed shot hit the net on the 87th.
Lorient’s current form is close to being perfect. They have won four (4) of their last 6 matches. They have also kept a clean sheet in five (5) of their most recent encounters and average with at least two (2) goals.
Despite playing in foreign ground, Lorient is expected to maintain the same number of goals and further strengthen their defence.
Needless to say, Ajaccio’s current performance is no match with Lorient. They will more likely struggle to clinch a victory in this particular encounter.
Bordeaux vs Valenciennes
Match Date: 15 December 2013 (local time)
Venue: Stade Jacques Chaban-Delmas
Team Form
Bordeaux’s narrow win against Lille ended Vincent Enyeama’s “clean sheet streak,” as Landry N’Guémo scored.
Bordeaux have been pretty successful in its last three (3) matches, following a 1-1 stalemate against Rennes. Not only did they win those encounters, they have also kept a clean sheet in those 3 battles, which therefore, makes them an outright favorite in the clash against Valenciennes. Aside from that, it is also important to note that in their last 6 matches against Valenciennes, it was Bordeaux, which had the upper hand.
Valenciennes failed to get out of the relegation zone when Guingamp’s Younousse Sankhare scored the much needed equalizer several minutes before the match ended. The encounter ended in a 1-1 draw.
With the above-mentioned result, it looked like Valenciennes will have to stay in the relegation zone for quite some time. They were not able to clinch a single victory in nineteen (19) of their last twenty-one (21) matches and another loss would push them further into the rock bottom part of the relegation arena.
It is quite unlikely for Bordeaux to wave their white flag in this crucial period this season. The victory might just give them the ranking lift that they need and with their impressive form, it is quite impossible for them to miss such opportunity.
Image Source: Afton Bladet
Lille vs Bastia
Match Date: 15 December 2013 (local time)
Venue: Grand Stade Lille Métropole
Team Form
Unable to score a single goal, Lille fell into the hands of Bordeaux and suffered their only loss in their last six (6) matches. Nevertheless, the unfortunate event was countered by Vincent Enyeama’s entry into the French football history. Enyeama now holds the “second longest clean sheet” in France.
Lille’s goalkeeper could have outranked record holder, Sirigu if not for Bordeaux’s Landry N’ Guemo’s 27th minute shot. Although, it may sound too disappointing not only to Enyeama, but also to the rest of the squad, it cannot be denied that they remain as one of the season’s top title contenders. With their upcoming match to be held in their own territory, one cannot deny their outright in the match against Bastia.
To note, Lille has already won their last five (5) matches and all throughout those match, they were able to keep a clean sheet against their respective rivals. Expect them to ensure another clean sheet and score their way to victory.
Unable to protect their lead, Lyon immediately overpowered Bastia. Unstoppable shots from Alexandre Laxazette, Yassine Benzia and Bafetimbi Gomis were simply too strong for the struggling Bastia.
Bastia’s current form is nothing short of being satisfactory. They only lost twice in their last six (6) matches. Yet, they need to be consistent in sustaining victories since it has more bearing in the Ligue 1 ranking. Already in the 12th spot, Bastia is in dire need of clinching a win against Lille in order to avoid a slip in the table.
Lille shall definitely use their home court advantage to snatch three (3) additional points. The odds seem to work in their favor since Bastia have been unsuccessful in nine (9) of their last away matches.
Montpellier vs St. Etienne
Match Date: 13 December 2013 (local time)
Venue: Staden de la Mosson
Team Form
A 1-1 draw against Toulouse places Montpellier’s survival in the French League at risk. They are winless during their last six (6) matches. Add two (2) more unsuccessful feats and this made them a failure in their eight (8) last encounters.
Despite their lackluster performance though, there is something to look forward to the former French League champ. The loss to Montpellier prompted Jean Fernadez’s resignation. Yet, this triggered Rolland Courbis’ return on the pitch. Montpellier finished second under Courbis’ tutelage. Expectations are high as he tries to salvage the club from relegation possibilities.
St. Etienne
Saint Etienne’s form is not too far from Montpellier. Although they rank better, the results of their last six (6) matches were disappointing. They were unsuccessful in four (4) of them and have only managed to secure two (2) victories.
Their lackluster performance may seem temporary, but this should be stopped immediately as they were having a hard time collecting more points this season.
Montpellier will have to adjust their playing style under Courbis. All efforts made may not manifest immediately. Meanwhile, St. Etinne shall not pass up the chance of securing a better rank in France’s top-flight league.
Image Source: Spor Harberler
Guingamp vs AS Monaco
Match Date: 14 December 2013 (local time)
Venue: Stade municipal de Roudourou
Team Form
Guingamp’s draw against Valenciennes catapulted them to the 9th spot of the French League table. A late goal from Younousse Sankhare nailed the equalizer, which eventually, propelled their rank.
Guingamp has only won once during its last six (6) matches. However, it was the draws against Lille, Montpellier and just recently, Valenciennes kept them in the league’s elite clubs. They will most likely force AS Monaco to engage in a down the wire match in order to move higher in the ranking.
AS Monaco
AS Monaco continues to pressure the league leader, Paris Saint Germain as they clinched a victory in a 1-0 thriller against AC Ajaccio and brought down their gap to two.
Unwilling to surrender their bid for this season’s title, AS Monaco forced a thriller at the end of their match against AC Ajaccio to secure their 4th consecutive win. It was also the 4th time that they kept a clean sheet in this season.
 What is even more impressive is the club’s ability to step up to the occasion and deliver a strong finish even if Radamel Falcao is sidelined.
A win will eventually lead AS Monaco on top of the table. PSG’s loss to Evian Thonon Gaillard prevented them from securing a buffer zone that will keep them on top of the league.
Nice vs Sochaux
Match Date: 14 December 2013 (local time)
Venue: Allianz Riviera
Team Form
Much to the dismay of many, Nice stumbled to its 6th consecutive loss against Reims. One of last season’s top clubs, the Eaglets are currently struggling for survival as relegation threats start to manifest.
Despite its losing streak, Nice has managed to do away from the relegation zone. But they are not safe either. Their series of disappointing defeats slumped them into the 16th spot of Ligue 1. How bad is their form? The answer is obvious. Nice have been trying to clinch a win in its seven (7) last encounters and its trusted strikers, were not living up to expectations. Other than that, the club also needs to bear the burden of its injured players such as David Ospina and Mouez Hassen. Their absence on the pitch leaves Claude Puel with a limited attacking option.
On the brighter side, they will be playing against Sochaux at home and they can use the match to leverage their rank in the French league. Since their home performance presents better results, Puel and his men will most likely go back to their winning ways in this particular match.
Similar to the Eaglets, Sochaux are also having troubles in securing victories. Although their overall form—that is—if their last 6 matches are considered, are better than Nice, this did not prevent them from slipping into the rock bottom part of the relegation arena. Sochaux already lost four (4) of their last 6 matches, but were nonetheless, able to secure two (2) draws.
Yet, other than winning, Sochaux’s most pressing problem as of the moment is their away performances. They have been winless during their last eight (8) away matches this season. Thus, the visit to Allianz Riviera may not yield favorable results.
It is a battle of survival for both clubs. OGC Nice remains to be a heavy favorite not only because of their better rank, but also because of their dominance during their previous encounters. A closer look into their last 6 matches shows that the Eaglets have managed to secure four (4) victories. This is in stark contrast to Sochaux’s single win against them.
Image Source: RTL. FR
Evian Thonon Gaillard vs Stade de Reims
Match Date: 14 December 2013 (local time)
Venue: Parc des Sports, Annecy
Team Form
Evian Thonon Gaillard
The brave Evian shocked the mighty Paris Saint Germain as they delivered two (2) important goals to secure their victory and hand Ligue 1’s top club their first taste of defeat.
Consecutive goals coming from Clarck N’Sikulu and Modou Sougou sealed PSG’s coffin and added three (3) extra points to Evian. The latter’s recent performance is best described as “shocking,” given the fact that they are just a few notches away from the relegation zone. Zlatan Ibrahimovic could have easily trounced them. Edinson Cavani could have thrashed them in a matter of minutes. However, the opposite happened.
The win against PSG is more than enough inspiration for Evian to clinch another victory at Parc des Sports. Once again, they are faced with the difficulty of filling in the minnow’s shoes. Yet, if they can stop PSG, there is also the likelihood of repeating such success. At any rate, Evian’s current form has been impressive.
They have won three (3) of their last six (6) matches, including the one from PSG, lost twice and have managed to force a draw against yet another strong club, AS Monaco.
Stade de Reims
Reims’ Gaëtan Charbonnier took Nice to a thriller when his last minute shot went in and secured the victory for the club. However, the triumph was barely enough to trigger an upward move in the Ligue 1 table.
Reim’s current form is similar to that of Evian. They have also won three (3) of their last six (6) matches, lost twice and drew once. However, they rank better than their opponent as they have managed to facilitate a strong start this season. The upcoming match is crucial as it could catapult the club’s rank. They present strong chances of making it to the top 5. But they need to be more consistent in all of their encounters.
Football betting tip: Evian Thonon Gaillard
It is highly possible for Evian to force another upset when they face Reims. While it is true that they rank higher and they are in good form. Majority of Reims’ previous matches were potted against lowly clubs. Evian, on the other hand, presented a great tactical approach on the pit, which enabled them to score the hard-fought victory.
Nantes vs Toulouse
Match Date: 14 December 2013 (local time)
Venue: La Beaujoire-Louis-Fonteneau
Team Form
The Canaries just pulled off a narrow victory against Marseille courtesy of Alejandro Bedoya’s 16th minute goal. Coming off from a crucial win, the match against Toulouse will neither give a headache nor an iota of worry to the club.
Nantes currently enjoys a comfortable spot in the Ligue 1 table. Secured and away from the relegation zone, Nantes is ranked as the 4th best club in the league and its last 6 matches speak true to the position they enjoy today.
During the course of their 6 previous matches, the club won thrice, lost twice and drew once. Just seven (7) points behind Lille, Nantes shall not waste the opportunity to gather more points and trigger an upward move in the ranking.
Abel Aguilar’s goal on the 72nd set the equalizer for Toulouse and salvaged them from a possible slip into the relegation zone.
Despite forcing a draw against Montpellier, Toulouse’s performance was short of being spectacular. They could have aced the victory if not for Eden Ben Basat’s missed penalty.
By any means necessary, such mistake or shortcoming must be readily avoided during the Nantes encounter as the latter will easily capitalize on any opportunity that comes along their way.
They need to be wary as they have only won once during their last 6 encounters and should they fail to clinch a victory, there is the possibility for them to go down to the dreaded zone.
Expect Nantes to feature well in this match. The club can still make it to the top three (3) as long as they become more consistent in acquiring more victories.
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Stade Rennes vs Paris Saint Germain
Match Date: 14 December 2013 (local time)
Venue: Stade dele Route–de-Lorient
Team Form
Stade Rennes
Stade Rennes face an uphill task when they face Paris Saint Germain. The loss to Lorient hampered their ambitions of entering the league’s top 10 and the upcoming match is foreseen to deliver more upsets and disappointments.
Stade Rennes has to be content in the 13th spot for quite some time. Their current form saw them won once out of their last six (6) battles. Three (3) of them ended in bitter defeats while two (2) draws have been keeping them away from the relegation zone. Given this aspects at hand, this compels Stade Rennes to secure a victory in order to veer away from the possibilities of not appearing in the top–flight league next season.
Paris Saint Germain
Paris Saint Germain’s dominance is put at risk as challenges and pressures coming from AS Monaco and Lille continues to hound France’s top club.
PSG’s loss to Evian Thonon Gaillard was not only humiliating, but also a manifestation of over confidence. Although it was their only loss in their last six (6) matches and was able to redeem themselves after a 5-0 thrashing of Sochaux, the defeat opened possibilities of being overtaken by other clubs.
Football betting tip: Paris Saint Germain
Paris Saint Germain continues to be the match’s heavy favorite. Overall, they are still successful in twenty-seven (27) of their twenty-eight (28) matches and average at least three (3) goals in their last six (6) matches. The loss to Evian may be disappointing, but certainly, it did not make them the weaker club in this match.
Lyon vs Marseille
Match Date: 15 December 2013 (local time)
Venue: Stade de Gerland
Team Form
Lyon just had a come from behind win against Bastia, thus, preventing a drop that will get them out of the table’s top 10.
So far, Lyon has been undefeated in its last seven (7) home matches and they will use this to gain the advantage against the equally aggressive Marseille. Lyon have only won twice within the course of their six (6) matches. Similarly, they have also drew twice and have only lost once.
Marseille suffered yet another narrow defeat this weekend. The match against Nantes ended in a 1-0 victory in the latter’s favor and has prevented them from obtaining a higher rank in the table.
Currently sitting at the 5th spot of Ligue 1, the club has already lost two (2) of their last six matches. They won thrice and drew once. With such form, it cannot be denied that Lyon has fared well in their previous encounters against other clubs.
Lyon’s better form will be its main weapon against Marseille. Expect a down the wire match as both clubs try to assert and increase their position in the Ligue 1 table.
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