Ligue 1 Betting: Front men to shine in Sunday's big showdowns
Lyon and PSG have begun the year in sensational scoring form, which bodes well for them ahead of their games this weekend, writes James Eastham...
Hosts' firepower the key to victory
Lyon vs Toulouse (7th vs 20th) Sunday, 14:00 GMT Live on BT Sport ESPN and Betfair Live Video
Lyon have had the busiest January transfer window of any Ligue 1 side, sending out a clear statement to their rivals that they intend to climb from their current seventh spot to claim a Champions League spot at the end of the season.
Striker Karl Toko Ekambi has arrived for a fee of €4 million on loan from Villarreal until the end of the season, while Lyon have made a €25 million offer for Paranaense midfielder Bruno Guimaraes and are waiting for an answer from the Brazilian in the face of competition for his signature from Atletico Madrid. Lyon have also splashed out €15 million on Ligue 2's 18-goal top scorer Tino Kadewere, although the 24-year-old Zimbabwe international has been loaned back to Le Havre for the remainder of the campaign.
Lyon go into this game in their best form since Rudi Garcia was appointed manager in October: they've won five of their last seven fixtures in all competitions (W5-D2-L0), and reached the League Cup final thanks to a 4-3 penalty shoot-out win over Lille in Tuesday's night's semi-final (2-2 draw in 90 minutes). With the final against PSG in that competition on 4 April to look forward to, Lyon can now focus on Ligue 1 and the job of closing the gap on the sides above them in the table.
Toulouse arrive in dreadful form: they're six points from safety, their away record's a shocking W0-D3-L7, and their first game under caretaker manager Denis Zanko - who has no prior Ligue 1 experience and was appointed until the end of the season after Antoine Kombouare was sacked after less than three months in charge - ended in a 5-2 home defeat to Brest in their last outing on January 11.
Given the contrasting form of the sides, Lyon stand an excellent chance of adding to their sensastional tally of 18 goals scored in five games in all competitions in 2020. With the hosts a short 1.30 to collect all three points, we prefer to support Lyon on the Asian Handicap. For a full guide to Asian Handicap betting, click here.
Rampant PSG to march onwards
Lille vs PSG (5th vs 1st) Sunday, 20:00 GMT Live on BT Sport 1 and Betfair Live Video
These teams finished in the top two positions in Ligue 1 last season but the gulf in quality between the pair is so apparent that there's barely any chance of Lille having any success against PSG this weekend.
Only four places separate the sides in the Ligue 1 standings but the 18-point gap between the teams is a better guide to how much better PSG are than Christophe Galtier's hosts. PSG are stronger than Lille all over the pitch and that should become apparent in front of the television cameras on Sunday night.
Lille have won just one of their last four matches in all competitions and defeats in their last two Ligue 1 fixtures - 5-1 at Monaco before Christmas, and 1-0 at Dijon a fortnight ago - explains why they lie adrift of the Champions League places. Defensive vulnerability is Lille's main concern - the hosts have conceded 10 goals in their last six matches in all competitions, even though two of those games came against amateur opposition in the French Cup.
Those stats are a real concern considering the form PSG's front line is in. The champions have scored a remarkable 40 goals in their last 10 games in all competitions (W9-D1-L0). There's little chance of the hosts' unreliable back line shutting out Angel Di Maria, Mauro Icardi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar (pictured above), with the quartet excelling in recent weeks.
All of which makes the visitors on the Asian Handicap the smart choice. PSG are an understandably short 1.50 purely to pick up three points, so we prefer backing Thomas Tuchel's players at -1.0&-1.5 Asian Handicap. With our selection, you'll make a small loss if PSG win by only one goal and make a profit at around evens should PSG win by two or more goals.