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Ligue 1 Predictions Matchday 23

Currently, the Ligue 1 dominance of Paris Saint-Germain looks set to continue, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of the league hasn’t had it surprises. Strasbourg and Lille may be the two best stories because it was not that long ago that Lille was in a relegation place, and Strasbourg was promoted. They are both competing with the likes of more established sides like Lyon and Saint-Etienne for the European places, and are very much in the hunt. At the other end of the table, Monaco seem to be in a bad spot. Not only are they now six points from safety, but they are on their third managerial change (second manager) and they were busy in the winter transfer window which could be unsettling given the sheer volume of turnover.

February 1, 2019

Lille SOSC vs. Nice

Nice have had a good time against Lille as they haven’t lost in the last nine times these two sides have played. Lille come in flying high in the league and will hope to continue their fine run of form in what should be a good match. I am a believer that teams can have the number of another team, and I think that there will be a draw in this match.

Prediction: Lille SOSC 1-1 Nice

February 2, 2019

AS Monaco vs. Toulouse

Prediction: AS Monaco 0-2 Toulouse

Stade Rennes vs. SC Amiens

Prediction: Stade Rennes 3-0 SC Amiens

Angers vs. Dijon

Prediction: Angers 1-1 Dijon

Reims vs. Marseille

Prediction: Reims 1-2 Marseille

February 3, 2019

Nimes vs. Montpellier

Prediction: Nimes 0-2 Montpellier

Saint-Etienne vs. Strasbourg

Prediction: Saint-Etienne 2-1 Strasbourg

Lyon vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Prediction: Lyon 1-4 Paris Saint-Germain

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Ligue 1 Predictions and Breakdown Matchday 21

Ligue 1 returns after a busy midweek that included a full slate of league fixtures. Once again, I’m back attempting to pick the results of this weekend’s matches.

Lille vs. SC Amiens

Lille looks to have finally regained their fine form after slipping up around the new year. They still sit second in the table and look ready to compete for one of the coveted European places in Ligue 1. SC Amiens are a bit of a different story as they currently find themselves only one point from the relegation playoff. Their recent form hasn’t been encouraging, and they will need their very best if they hope to steal valuable points on the road. Lille has been better lately, and I see that continuing against relegation opposition.

Prediction: Lille 2-0 SC Amiens

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Guingamp

PSG come into this fixture the dominant force in Ligue 1 that they always seem to be. They actually lost this exact fixture in the league cup, but I expect that PSG will put a far better foot forward in this match. Meanwhile, Guingamp come into this match in the bottom spot in Ligue 1 and facing a relegation crisis as they sit five points from safety. They have seen a reversal in their fortunes recently by picking up valuable wins, but still have an uphill climb in this clash. I cannot see past a comfortable victory for the home side in this clash.

Prediction: Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 Guingamp

AS Monaco vs. Strasbourg

Monaco come into this clash following a draw with mid-table Nice, but Thierry Henry hasn’t been able to reverse the fortunes for Monaco who continue to battle against relegation. They have been able to cobble together more draws recently, but they need all three points from this fixture. Strasbourg are currently flying as they have won four of their last five matches in all competitions. They aren’t completely out of the fight for European football next term, but they will be more than content with their current position in the league. I see a victory in this for the road side who should be able to capitalize on the weakness of their opponents’ defense.

Prediction: Strasbourg 2-1 AS Monaco

Nimes vs. Toulouse

Nimes currently sit in the bottom half of the league table, but their recent form has been far from inspiring. They have only managed to win one of their last five matches which has led to them sliding down the league table ahead of a clash that could help them stay closer to the middle of the table. Toulouse have been better lately, but they only find themselves four points outside of the relegation zone. They will understand that even a point could help them in this match, and they will hope to build on their draw the last time out. I see a draw in this match as both of the sides are fairly evenly matched.

Prediction: Nimes 1-1 Toulouse

Stade de Reims vs. Nice

Reims have fluctuated between wins and draws over their past five matches which has been positive for the newly promoted side. They currently sit in tenth and look fairly safe which will have been their mission coming into the season. Nice come into the match following a draw and what has been uninspiring form for the European hopefuls. Their squad should have enough quality to secure a win, and they will be hoping to claw back into the competition for the European places. I see a win for the road side as they are the team with the superior quality which should carry them through.

Prediction: Nice 1-0 Stade de Reims

Stade de Rennes vs. Montpellier

Rennes come into this match flying high as they have only lost one of their previous five matches and find themselves in eighth place. They have a solid combination of scoring goals and preventing them which has catapulted them up the league table. Montpellier had been soaring in the league as they once occupied a European place, but they have slid on the back of lackluster performances that have only seen them grab two of their last fifteen points. They still possess one of the best defenses in Ligue 1, so they should rebound sooner rather than later. I see a Montpellier victory in this one as their quality should shine through.

Prediction: Montpellier 2-1 Stade de Rennes

Angers vs. Nantes

Angers come into this match in dismal form and they currently sit three points from safety. They have a decent goal differential, but they will need to turn the results around if they hope to survive. Nantes sit three points clear of their opponents and two places higher in the league table. Their form has been better, but they will hope to curb their losing streak at two matches. I see a draw in this match between two fairly even teams.

Prediction: Angers 1-1 Nantes

Caen vs. Marseille

Caen enter this match one point clear of the relegation places and in decent form. They have been fairly stable for most of the season and will hope to pick up points against an under-performing Marseille side. Marseille have experienced a recent drop in their league form which has mostly dashed their hopes of European football next term. They boast a potent attack which they hope will propel them to victory in this less-than-straightforward away encounter. Marseille have sufficient quality to dispatch of their opponents, but it may not be comfortable.

Prediction: Marseille 2-0 Caen

Bordeaux vs. Dijon FCO

Bordeaux enter this fixture on inconsistent form, but they will hope to change that against opposition in the heat of the relegation battle. They still have quality in the squad, but the likes of Malcolm are surely missed, even if the funds from his sale have left the club in a better place financially. Dijon possess one of the league’s worst defenses and are paying for it by sitting in the relegation playoff place. Their last two matches have helped better their condition in the table, but they will need more than that if they hope to climb out of the relegation zone. I think Bordeaux has enough to see this match through.

Prediction: Bordeaux 1-0 Dijon FCO

Saint-Etienne vs. Olympique Lyon

Saint-Etienne have ridden their recent form into a European place and look like serious contenders to hold one at the end of the season. This match will determine who occupies the final Champions League place, and the home side are in control as they sit two points clear of their visitors. Lyon come into this match desperately needing all three points following disappointing league results lately. Normally a Champions League mainstay, Lyon will be hoping to get back into the hunt for a Champions League place with a win. I see a cagey affair that will not produce any goals despite plenty of opportunities.

Prediction: Saint-Etienne 0-0 Lyon

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Ligue 1 Breakdown Heading into the Winter Break

When Ligue 1 wrapped up its fixtures before the winter break on Sunday, there were reiterations of years past, and fresh hope for other lesser known sides who are performing well. Unsurprisingly, Paris Saint-Germain top the table with a comfortable cushion of 13 points. However, Monaco are on their second manager this season, and look a shadow of the team that felled some of Europe’s elite in the Champions League two seasons ago. Granted, their depatures of Fabinho, Thomas Lemar, and Kylian Mbappé are not easy to replace, but very few people predicted that Monaco would get eliminated during the Group Stage in the Champions League and have a relegation fight on their hands.

On a more positive note, Lille, Montpellier, and Saint-Etienne have ascended the table and are in the thick of a competitive fight to secure one of the coveted European places that are awarded to the Top 4 at the end of the year. For sides like Marseille and Nice who find themselves farther down the table, there are still plenty of matches left to complete a turnaround and get back into European competition next season.

What this tells us is that Ligue 1 is still as non-competitive as it usually is. PSG still dominate the league with talent that is only challenged in the Champions League. Meanwhile, the rest of the pack is mostly a toss-up with teams like Nice, Monaco, and Lyon usually putting out quality sides to challenge for the European places in Ligue 1. However, this year has yielded a resurgence of the former champions Montpellier and Lille, but at the expense of sides like Marseille and Nice who find themselves in the middle of the pack.

Before I continue with a second half preview, let’s look at the final fixtures from this past weekend.

Last Matchday Results

Bordeaux 1-1 SC Amiens
Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 Nantes
Angers 1-1 Marseille
Monaco 0-2 Guingamp
Lille 1-2 Toulouse
Montpellier 1-1 Lyon
Saint-Etienne 3-0 Dijon
Stade de Reims 2-2 Caen
Stade de Rennes 4-0 Nimes
Strasbourg 2-0 Nice

Current table

Matches resume on January 8, 2019

Now, a preview for the second half.

PSG’s dominance will continue through the end of the season, and they could drop points due to squad rotation associated with European football, but that’s really the only time we could be discussing shocking results for the Parisians. As for the rest of the pack, many of the clubs that find themselves outside the top spot could face fierce competition for European places. Lyon should maintain a European place, but could easily grab one of the two guaranteed Champions League places, but they should at least grab third and book a place in the final qualifying stage for the Champions League. Other sides may have a tougher task as both Nice and Marseille would have to go on fantastic runs of form while sides like Montpellier and Lille would have to slip up in order to vacate these places. I won’t say it is impossible, but Ligue 1’s best results this term could be the surprise teams that qualify for Europe over more established sides.

As for the bottom of the table, there appear to be five or six sides who have a series chance of being in the relegation scrap, but Guingamp is firmly rooted in the bottom of the table along with Monaco and Dijon. The most surprising team in the scrap is Monaco, but they have their second manager and have looked shambolic for most of the season. In looking at the squad, I would not be surprised if Monaco found themselves plying their trade next season in the French second tier. That said, they also have a squad ravaged by injuries, and could force Caen, Dijon, or SC Amiens into one of the relegation places if their healthy squad can rally a few wins.

With all that said, I will leave you with my end of season projections:

Player of the Year: Kylian Mbappé
Top Scorer: Kylian Mbappé
Most Clean Sheets: Benjamin Lecomte

Final Table Prediction

PSG (champion, automatic Champions League qualification)
Lyon (automatic Champions League qualification)
Lille (qualification for Best Finish Playoff for Champions League)
Marseille (automatic Europa League qualification)
Montpellier (playoff for Europa League Final Qualifying Stage due to PSG’s cup victory)
Stade de Rennes
Stade de Reims
Monaco (relegation playoff)
Dijon (relegated)
Guingamp (relegated)