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Mark O'Haire: Three Ligue 1 Selections This Weekend

10 min

Mark O’Haire returns with an extra bonus selection this weekend…


Despite sitting only three points above the relegation zone after MD13 in Ligue 1, Troyes (W3-D4-L6) have been one of the division’s standout sides.

Pre-season expectations put ESTAC in for a serious scrap for survival, yet Bruno Irles’ outfit have produced enough eye-catching displays to suggest they’re capable of sustaining themselves in mid-table.

The Champagne club have endured a devilishly-difficult schedule thus far, yet showcased more than enough attacking flair and intent to suggest they can avoid the dogfight with four teams suffering top-flight demotion this term. Troyes have picked up home points against high-flying Rennes and Lorient, whilst pushing PSG and Lens all the way on the road.

Last weekend, ESTAC struck three times in a thrilling 4-3 reverse against PSG, and high-scoring showdowns have tended to be the norm under Irles’ proactive approach.

The Stade de l’Aube side have now plundered 24 league goals (1.85 per-game), netting in all bar two of their opening 13 tussles, and striking twice or more on eight occasions.

Troyes boast the best attack in the bottom-half – the likes of Monaco and Lille have notched just one goal more than ESTAC’s tally this term.

However, the hosts are still searching for their first shutout of the season with eight opponents already bagging multiple goals against Irles’ gung-ho gang. In fact, only rock-bottom Angers have conceded more often.

Unsurprisingly, Both Teams To Score has proven a successful path to profit in 11 of Troyes’ 13 fixtures, with contests averaging a huge 4.00 goals per-game, and so backing a repeat of BTTS holds plenty of appeal here at 1.80 quotes in the weekend curtain-raiser.

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Newly-promoted Auxerre arrive at the Derby de la N77 just a solitary point behind their hosts following their first success since August last weekend, dispatching powderpuff Ajaccio 1-0.

That victory marked only the Burgundy boys second clean sheet of the campaign, both of which have arrived on home soil against bottom-four opposition.

On their travels, Auxerre have been mainly exposed, leaking twice or more in five of six away days (W1-D0-L5). On paper, the visitors’ defence appears second-tier standard following a lack of recruitment in key areas over the summer and it’s true too that goalkeeper Benoit Costil has been AJA’s star performer since returning to the top-flight.

Nevertheless, the 1996 champions can play their part in an open, enjoyable and entertaining contest too. The club have already changed coaches with survival specialist Christophe Pelissier taking over the reigns and the guests’ adventurous approach should ensure goals; Auxerre have only twice failed to score with 9/13 (69%) seeing BTTS.

Both Teams To Score is a generous option at 1.80, and punters are also advised to snap up 1.95 quotes on Troyes to score Over 1.5 Goals on Friday in what should be a very watchable affair.

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Lille’s three-game winning streak came to a close when Les Dogues suffered a 1-0 defeat at improving Lyon last time out. But Paolo Fonseca’s posse can take a lot of confidence from their display at the Groupama Stadium as LOSC comfortably won the shot count 15-5 and fired in eight attempts from inside the penalty area without reward.

Fonseca was full of praise for his players post-match and a return to their Stade Pierre Mauroy base for Sunday evening’s enticing encounter with Rennes should give Lille the edge required to re-find their shooting boots.

After all, Les Dogues are projecting as a top-three team this term on Expected Points (xP) ratings and had previously scored in every outing.

Indeed, only PSG have racked up more Ligue 1 goals than LOSC with Fonseca’s front-foot and fearless 4-2-3-1 approach really paying dividends. Remy Cabella has reminded French football fans of his creativity and influence since his summer switch, whilst Canadian ace Jonathan David continues to enhance his burgeoning reputation leading the Lille line.

Unfortunately, things aren’t so serene at the back. Les Dogues have displayed fragility and vulnerability when put under pressure by illustrious opposition; PSG struck seven goals here back in August, Monaco notched three, Nice two, with Lorient and Marseille also getting on the scoresheet twice when Lille were on the road in previous months.

With that in mind, Over 2.5 Goals appears to be undervalued as an option at 1.79 when Rennes arrive on Sunday, especially so considering the high-scoring nature of Ligue 1 this season, plus Lille’s offensive desires, and the visitors own attack-minded approach.

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Rennes are unbeaten in nine domestic matches (W7-D2-L0) and have churned out five wins on the spin in Ligue 1, scoring 14 goals in the process. Bruno Genesio’s boys haven’t failed to net since the opening weekend of the campaign, but the third-placed outfit have only managed to silence their opponents on three occasions with games averaging 3.08 goals.

All six of Rennes’ road trips have seen both sides oblige, whilst nine of their most recent 11 across all venues have broken the Over 2.5 Goals barrier.

Considering Lille have crossed that same line in 10 of their 13 tussles – and BTTS banking on 10 occasions too – the ingredients are certainly in place for another Sunday thriller from France.

Recommended Bets

  • BTTS in Troyes vs Auxerre – 1 unit @ 1.81
  • Troyes to score Over 1.5 Goals in Troyes vs Auxerre – 1 unit @ 1.95
  • Over 2.5 Goals in Lille vs Rennes – 1 unit @ 1.79

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