With the Ligue 1 title race looking all but over after just four fixtures, PSG contrived to a throwaway three points at home to Bordeaux last weekend to end their 100% record. The result saw Rennes close in to within a point of the league leaders with Philippe Montanier’s men enjoying their best ever start to a season.
Whether the challengers can keep pace with PSG looks unlikely but for at least or week or two, the French top tier table does at least look competitive. And this weekend’s matches have plenty of intriguing subplots to keep the juices flowing.
Bastia v Nice might not leap out as a classic but the Derby de la Mediterranean meeting always delivers with goals, cards, rivalry and entertainment. Saturday night’s duel should follow suit and think there’s strong claims to go against the grain of low-scoring Ligue 1 games.
Bastia put in an unusually disappointing performance in Sunday’s 4-1 defeat at Marseille. Brandao netted his first goal for the club since arriving 13 months ago but head coach Ghislain Printant was understandably upset by his team’s performance.
The Corsicans return home this weekend and tend to deliver in front of their passionate home support. Since Printant was appointed, Bastia have W9-D4-L2 at the Stade Armand Cesari, scoring at least twice in 8/15 (53%) and only failing to net on three occasions.
Their 60% win record at home would equate to a 4/6 shot and they’ll fancy their chances to see off a Nice side they did the double over last season. The visitors have also suffered losses in 29/59 (49%) of their away days under Claude Puel’s tutelage and so backing Bastia at 2.23 to win off a -0.50 Asian Handicap makes perfect sense.
However, it’s worth pointing out that Alexander Djiku and François Kamano remain suspended, Jean-Louis Leca and Yannick Cahuzac are doubts and new signing Medhi Mostefa isn’t fit enough to start from the off. It’s a similar story for Nice, mind. Les Aiglons are still without Niklas Hult, Simon Pouplin, Mahamane Traoré and Romain Genevois with Puel yet to be able to field the same four-man backline twice in a row
Les Rouge et Noir failed to score for the first time this season in Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Guingamp and their experimental defence has been costing the side dear in 2015/16. Nevertheless, I do fancy the visitors to grab a goal and so the 2.11 available on Both Teams To Score also stands out as a strong selection.
None of the 46 Ligue 1 between these two sides have ended with a 0-0 draw and Nice’s record of just two shutouts in 23 trips to Bastia should aid the bet with Les Aiglons also offering up a dour W3-D5-L15 head-to-head record away to the Islanders.
Elsewhere, Bordeaux look outstanding value to continue their excellent home record against Toulouse. 188BET have made Les Girondins a 2.06 shot to beat a -0.50 Asian Handicap and the hosts boast a superb W17-D2-L4 record when entertaining their rivals in Derby de la Garonne battles.
Willy Sagnol’s side held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw in the Europa League on Thursday and are without suspended skipper Henri Saivet but their W7-D3-L1 return from their past 11 outings on home soil should encourage supporters, as will their record of winning 11 of their past 14 games when welcoming bottom-six opposition.
Toulouse wasted a 2-0 lead at home to Reims last time out to extend their winless streak to four. Dominique Arribage’s troops have W2-D3-L5 in their last 10 Ligue 1 fixtures and have been woeful on the road – losing 11 of their most recent 12 road trips.
The visitors have managed just one away victory this calendar year and star striker Wissam Ben Yedder is unlikely to be involved with his recent tantrum seeing Toulouse drop the forward to the bench for this clash with Bordeaux.