Caen vs St Etienne
Caen and St Etienne find themselves in the position of ultimately having nothing to play for in their final two matches of the Ligue 2 campaign. Realistically, that has been the case for a little while now, with Caen never looking likely to catch up with the top two, whilst St Etienne have always had a sufficient gap to the relegation zone to keep them safe. Although you could argue both are on the beach, there has been enough in recent times to believe this could be one of the more entertaining games of the weekend in the French second tier.
Six wins and four defeats has been the overall outcome of Caen’s last ten games. Two of those setbacks came to the current top-two; Le Havre and Bordeaux, so they deserve credit for trying to maximise their talents right up until the final game. It is difficult to ignore the amount of goals within these games, however, as nine of those ten featured over 2.5 goals and both teams scoring. 19 of their 36 league clashes has seen at least three goals, with only four rivals experiencing more. Ten of 18 at home fall into that category, whilst 22 of 36 overall has seen BTTS come through. When we think of Caen, we think of goals.
The same can also be said of St Etienne, who can actually outdo Caen in some of that statistics. They top the league for matches containing both teams scoring, meaning this Friday night clash is a top-two battle in relation to the BTTS table in this division. They are also one of the four teams above Caen on the games including over 2.5 goals. St Etienne have actually been in excellent form for a little while now, with only two defeats in their previous 15, including nine wins. Within this sequence, only four saw BTTS not pay out, whereas six in seven has beat the 2.5 goal line. Again, we associate goals with this team.
Therefore, a goals-based approach simply has to be the way to go here. My eyes widened when I saw Bet365 offer 1.91 for Both Teams To Score and Over 2.5 Goals. That just has to be instantly snapped up.
Laval vs Nimes
As mentioned above, Ligue 2 only has two matchdays remaining, and whilst there is still the top-two to be decided between Le Havre, Bordeaux and Metz, the battle at the bottom means up to seven teams could join already relegated Nimes and Niort in dropping out of the league. One of those are Laval, who currently sit third from bottom, but have a very winnable home clash with Nimes on Friday to potentially propel them out of the drop zone. Laval are only one point inside the bottom four, with them in 18th only four points behind Amiens in 12th, so just under one-third of the league could still be relegated.
Whilst Laval are indeed in the drop zone, they are one of the form teams in that part of the table. Three wins over their last five matches has certainly given them real hope of staying in this league, but they know three points in this particular upcoming match really is a must. They end the season away at Amiens, who are also in the relegation mix, and ideally they’d like to go into the final day not in the bottom four. They are on a three-match winning streak at home, and they’ve picked up some notable scalps at Stade Francis Le Basser this season. They’ve beaten Bastia, Caen and Sochaux here; all top-six opposition. Only one defeat at home to the current bottom-eight also stands them in good stead for Friday’s fixture.
It has been a real fall from grace for Nimes, who were playing in Ligue 1 the season before last. A top-ten finish last season should have set them up nicely for a real go at winning back their spot amongst the French football elite, but they have gone down with a real whimper. Whilst they are only a place below opponents Laval in the standings, they are seven points behind, with them and Niort in the bottom-two well cut adrift of everything else in sight. It is undoubtedly their away record which stands out for their season of struggle. Conceding too many goals is clearly another, but to achieve only seven away points all season is just not good enough. One win and four draws from 18 on their travels is a major disappointment, and whilst those points were earned against bottom-half teams, the reality is that Laval has a huge motivation edge over Nimes in this crucial match for them.
Laval clearly reserve their stronger performances for their home games, which is where they claimed 65% of their Ligue 2 points this season. 13 of their 18 at home has contained a minimum of two goals, whilst it is one extra when focusing purely on Nimes away clashes. The 1.95 from Coral on a Laval Win and Over 1.5 Goals is a play that definitely catches the eye. They need the result, and whilst that is never a guarantee when facing a team that doesn’t have such a need, they do enter this in good form for a side near the bottom. Nimes have just one win in seven, including five defeats, whilst in their previous five they’ve conceded an average of 2.80 goals per game.
Marseille vs Brest
Two games also remain for every team in the top flight of France and on Saturday night there are ten matches for us to potentially get involved with. Marseille against Brest is certainly not the most important of encounters within those ten, but it is a contest I like one particular angle of approach. Marseille are settled in third place, but whilst second spot isn’t out of reach, they’ll need two wins and hope Lens probably lose two, which isn’t likely. Brest secured their survival against relegation by defeating Clermont last time out, so they can head to Stade Vélodrome free of pressure.
Prior to losing at Lens a few weeks’ ago, Marseille did have control of second spot. Losing away at Lille last weekend has since seen that gap to second open up, and realistically you could argue they no longer have anything to play for. Lens are at home to already relegated Ajaccio on Saturday, in a match they really should be winning with their eyes closed. The mentality of this Marseille team therefore may not be as focused as it would have been if they were say level on points or only just behind Lens. Even so, there have been vulnerabilities around this Marseille side recently. They’ve kept only five clean sheets over their last 21 games in all competitions. It is six straight games without a shutout, and perhaps most strikingly, they have kept zero clean sheets in their last ten Ligue 1 home matches, keeping only two all season here.
Brest therefore will travel knowing that they can potentially make their presence felt this weekend. Whilst they don’t have the best of records against the top French clubs, they’ve never been disgraced or heavily defeated. They also drew at home to Marseille earlier in the campaign. Furthermore, they’ve been away to the likes of Lens, Lille and Rennes and scored, and with Marseille struggling for clean sheets there is a case to be made for them netting again. Brest also won on their last visit to this stadium last season, and with Marseille perhaps not quite at it, there is maybe even the potential for a shock result here.
It is risky to go that far however, but I really, really do like the chances of Both Teams To Score being a winning selection. It really should be if we take the facts and figures into consideration. This bet has paid out in 64% of Marseille Ligue 1 games and 58% of Brest matches. For us to be getting a price of 2.00 with Paddy Power then it is something we really have to be getting involved with. Marseille have been conceding at home whilst having the motivation, and with that in doubt this weekend you have to question why would that make a positive difference defensively.
Rennes vs Monaco
Without doubt the standout fixture in Ligue 1 this weekend comes Roazhon Park when Rennes entertain Monaco. Both sides still harbour strong ambitions of playing in European competition next season, and realistically the Europa League is the best either could expect. Monaco have control of the direct Europa League qualification position, with Lille just below in the Europa Conference League qualification slot. Rennes sit one point behind Lille, but three points here would see them draw level with Monaco, meaning the Europa League then becomes a real option. Avoiding defeat would confirm European football of some kind for Monaco next season.
Defeat would likely end all hope for Rennes, with Lille expected to win their match against Nantes.
Rennes have started to get their act together in recent weeks after seemingly trying their best not to qualify for Europe. They went through a period of winning just once in five a few months’ ago, which ironically came away at PSG, but winning 5-0 and 4-0 respectively in their last two, making it three wins in four has given them real hope of making the top-five. Whilst those two wins came against relegated opponents, Rennes are very much a confidence team, and they’ll take that into this home clash. Only Lens have a stronger home record in Ligue 1, and with 68% of their overall points coming at home they’ll certainly give everything for three points, even if risking some defensive shortcomings.
Monaco have been somewhat inconsistent recently, which has opened the door for them to be overtaken in fourth. They’ve won once in five, and that even that was a slender away success at rock bottom Angers, but they have had a tough run of fixtures. A trip to Rennes falls into the category of tough as well, so Monaco are going to need to improve and show some
It is a tough match to call on paper, with Rennes favourites being the home team. Goals however looks the best angle to approach this one. Both teams have an identical record in terms of their matches featuring over 2.5 goal; a cool 64%, making this a top-five encounter out of all teams in Ligue 1 for games going over that number. This has paid out in six of Rennes’ last seven and seven of Monaco’s previous eight. We can throw Both Teams To Score into the mix alongside Over 2.5 Goals to receive a price of 1.91 with Paddy Power and that has to be the way to go in what should be quite an open and end-to-end contest. 64% of Monaco league games witness BTTS, and with Rennes really needing the win they could easily concede here.
German Sunday Over 2.5 Goals Accumulator
The 2.Bundesliga season comes to a conclusion on Sunday and there is still plenty to be decided at both ends of the table. Darmstadt won promotion last weekend, but earning at least a draw this weekend would hand them the title. Heidenheim currently occupies second spot and they would confirm promotion but equalling or betting Hamburg’s result, who themselves are fighting to break into the top two. Braunschweig, Nurnberg and Bielefeld remain at risk of relegation, with bottom side Sandhausen already down and out.
Goals look a good play across this league at the best of times, but on the final day it looks a very sensible route of approach. Price dictates that any singles of the Over 2.5 goal line isn’t really worth anyone’s time, so we have to get creative here and chucking some together in an accumulator would at least give us a price we find much more appealing.
Four games have taken my eye to form a 4.09 fourfold with Sky Bet. Those are Greuther Furth v Darmstadt, Hannover v Kiel, Magdeburg v Bielefeld and Sandhausen v Hamburg. The Hannover/Kiel contest is the only one which doesn’t have anything riding on it, but with the shackles off both sides there is no need to play a timid match. Only three times have Furth failed to score all season, which is a big surprise considering they sit in mid-table. Of the eight teams involved in our bet, seven of those sit in the top-eight in the league in terms of matches featuring both teams scoring, so they in particular aren’t a stranger to scoring and conceding goals in their fixtures. No big stakes advised here, just a bit of fun for the final day in the German second-tier.
- Caen v St Etienne – Both Teams To Score and Over 2.5 Goals (1.91 Bet365)
- Laval v Nimes – Laval to Win and Over 1.5 Goals (1.95 Coral)
- Marseille v Brest – Both Teams To Score (2.00 Paddy Power)
- Rennes v Monaco – Both Teams To Score and Over 2.5 Goals (1.91 Paddy Power)
- Over 2.5 Goals Accumulator (4.09 Sky Bet)