Soccer France Ligue 1 Prediction
Nice vs Clermont - Match Preview
⚽ 23 April 2023 - 13:00 GMT +0
Not too long ago, Nice was one of Europe’s highest-flying teams, boasting a 14-game unbeaten streak (W8, D6) which saw their progress in both the UEFA Europa Conference League (UECL) and Ligue 1 gain real momentum. Things have fallen apart since then for interim manager Didier Digard, who suffered his first losses as Nice boss in their recent four-game winless run (D1, L3), which included crashing out of the UECL at the quarter-final stage in midweek after an extra-time defeat against Basel.
It remains to be seen how that energy-sapping affair will affect the Eaglets' already poor Ligue 1 form, having recently slipped down to ninth in the table after suffering back-to-back league defeats. The Allianz Riviera faithful have felt the brunt of their team’s recent shortcomings, with Nice’s failure to win any of their last four league games there (D3, L1) now their longest such drought since December 2020.
At the opposite end of the form table you’ll find their visitors Clermont, who have wholeheartedly cashed in on a kind schedule of late by winning their last three league matches, all against the bottom-three sides. Another victory would rewrite the club’s history books as never before have the Lancers won four Ligue 1 matches in succession, and doing so would see them leapfrog Nice in the standings.
Manager Pascal Gastien knows first-hand his team are capable of an upset here since Clermont not only won this fixture 1-0 last season but replicated that scoreline earlier in this campaign meaning they are on the hunt for a league double. They’ve got a healthy recent away record backing them too, having lost only twice on the road this year in Ligue 1 (W4, D1).
📋 Players to watch: Gaëtan Laborde has enjoyed the comforts of home lately, scoring six of his last eight goals at the Allianz Riviera. Meanwhile, Clermont will be hoping Elbasan Rashani can continue his habit of netting their opening goal in seven of his last eight goalscoring outings, including the subsequent winner here last season.
⚡ Hot stat: Only 11 of Nice’s Ligue 1 games this season have produced over 2.5 goals, a league-low.
Montpellier vs Rennes - Match Preview
⚽ 23 April 2023 - 15:05 GMT +0
Though not yet mathematically safe from relegation, an eight-point cushion to the drop zone ahead of this round should be enough to ensure Montpellier is playing top-flight football next season. Even so, they won’t be leaving it to chance and can hit the much coveted 40-point mark with a victory here against European-chasing Rennes.
That’s perhaps easier said than done, as Montpellier have lost six of their last seven Ligue 1 games against Rennes (D1), conceding an eye-watering average of more than two goals per game across those matches. Whilst conceding is often an issue, Montpellier has scored in each of their nine Ligue 1 games since Michel Der Zakarian returned to the club, so a marked improvement from their defence in this match would thus likely bear three points.
On a high after a 3-0 win against Reims last round, Rennes hit the road hoping to lay to rest the demons of a 3-1 defeat against Lyon on their last away outing. Victory against PSG in the away game prior to that (2-0) proves Rennes are more than capable of rubbing shoulders with the league’s elite, but considering that was their only league victory on the road against a side starting this round 14th or higher (D4, L6), they haven’t proved that very often.
That must not detract away from the fine season Rennes are having, with their tally of 53 points after 31 games their third-best of the three-point per game era. In favour of them continuing to build upon that already impressive tally is an imposing personal H2H record for boss Bruno Génésio, who has lost just one of his 11 historical meetings with Montpellier (W7, D3).
📋 Players to watch: Dead-ball specialist Téji Savanier has seen seven of his last eight Ligue 1 goals come from either free kicks or penalties. The visitors may look to Arnaud Kalimuendo for inspiration as the Rennes forward has been involved in four of their last seven away Ligue 1 goals (G2, A2).
⚡ Hot stat: Michel Der Zakarian has never overseen a Ligue 1 victory against a Bruno Génésio-managed side (D4, L4).
Lyon vs Marseille - Match Preview
⚽ 23 April 2023 - 18:45 GMT +0
Lyon prepared for the 122nd ‘Choc des Olympiques’ against Marseille by reaching a half-century of Ligue 1 point after beating Toulouse 2-1 in the last round to keep them in with a chance of European qualification. It’s been a perfect April so far in the league with three wins, so they’re now seeking four consecutive Ligue 1 victories in the same season for the first time since February 2021.
So closely matched is this rivalry in Ligue 1 (Lyon: W36, D40, L29) that Lyon has scored just five more H2H goals than their rivals but having gone seven games unbeaten at home this campaign (W4, D3), they’ll feel they can extend that slim advantage. In fact, Laurent Blanc’s side hasn’t lost a home H2H since November 2007 (W10, D6) so they’ve had the better of clashes with Marseille here for some time.
But as Marseille are on a six-match unbeaten run themselves (W3, D3), they could feel they’ve as good a chance of winning here as they have in a while, and they must maintain that run if they’re to keep any sort of pressure on leaders PSG. Anything picked up here will also boost their already strong chances of returning to the UEFA Champions League next term.
Igor Tudor’s side hasn’t lost a league away game since mid-October (W8, D2) so they’ve become a points-gathering machine on the road, highlighted by no team in Europe’s top five leagues currently being on a longer unbeaten away run. Unsurprisingly perhaps, Marseille have only trailed at half-time in one of those ten league away games, something they haven’t done in any of the last four H2Hs here (HT: W1, D3).
📋 Players to watch: Among Ligue 1’s leading scorers this term, Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette netted in their last two fixtures and three of his four career goals against Marseille came at home. Vitinha, who bagged a brace for Marseille against Troyes (W 3-1), has opened the scoring in each of his last three goalscoring outings.
⚡ Hot streak: None of the last eight H2Hs saw both sides score after half-time (Lyon: W4, D2, L2).
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