Ligue 1 tips: PSG to triumph even without injured Neymar

Paris St-Germain are on course to make it six wins out of six while high goals are the smart selection elsewhere in France, writes James Eastham...

PSG set to stroll to victory

Nantes vs PSG (15th vs 1st)
Sat, 20:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport 2 and Betfair Live Video

PSG are strong favourites to beat Nantes this weekend but Thomas Tuchel's side are still the smart pick looking across the markets.

PSG are available at around evens with a -1.0&-1.5 Asian Handicap start. This is an appealing selection given the strength of the two sides and their results so far this season.

PSG struggled across the opening three matchdays because of the lack of proper summer break and a high number of positive coronavirus tests in the squad but have found their rhythm since then: the club from the French capital have won their last five Ligue 1 matches in a row, and in some style. PSG have scored 19 goals in those five most recent outings, conceding just once and, significantly, have won each time by at least two goals.

Much is being made ahead of this game of the absence through injury of Neymar, but PSG should be strong enough to win comfortably without the Brazil superstar. Kylian Mbappe is fit and expected to start, and he and deadline-day loan signing Moise Kean have already struck up an impressive understanding: the ex-Everton forward scored twice in PSG's 4-0 home win over Dijon last weekend and netted both goals in PSG's 2-0 midweek Champions League victory away to Istanbul Basaksehir.

Nantes' record is W2-D2-L3, with their only two victories coming against sides currently in the bottom seven in the table. They risk being outclassed so PSG on the Asian Handicap is the selection. For a full guide to Asian Handicap betting.

Attacks on top in St Etienne

St Etienne vs Montpellier (13th vs 11th)
Sun, 12:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport 2 and Betfair Live Video

This is a game between two teams looking to rebuild after recent poor results and performances and team news on both sides suggests it will be a more open game than one might otherwise expect.

Managers Claude Puel (St Etienne) and Michel Der Zakarian (Montpellier) are rightly considered two of Ligue 1's most pragmatic bosses but a lack of defensive solidity is likely at both ends of the field this weekend.

St Etienne have been brittle at the back since selling Wesley Fofana to Leicester City earlier this month and losing fellow defenders Mathieu Debuchy, Thimothee Kolodziejczak and Yvann Macon to injury has heaped further problems on them. Les Verts have conceded 10 goals in their last four outings - with all four of those games ending in defeat - and will be vulnerable again this weekend.

Montpellier have major defensive problems, too: 43-year-old Brazilian Vitorino Hilton, still an automatic starter, is suspended after getting sent off in Montpellier's 4-0 home defeat to Reims last weekend and fellow centre-back Pedro Mendes is expected to sit out the game too owing to a positive coronavirus test. To make matters worse no.1 goalkeeper Jonas Omlin is likely to be absent with a hamstring strain so inexperienced deputy Dimitry Bertaud is in line to start between the posts.

The market makes Under 2.5 Goals odds-on but the team news suggests otherwise. Consider backing 'Yes' in the Both teams to score? market at 1.8 or Over 2.5 Goals at 2.1.

Vieira's visitors the smart selection

Angers vs Nice (8th vs 5th)
Sun, 14:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport 3 and Betfair Live Video

Angers are clear favourites to collect all three points at home to Nice this weekend but the form and strength of the two sides suggests the value lies with the visitors.

It's been a difficult week for Angers off the pitch with two of their players appearing in court and being found guilty of offences resulting in suspended sentences for each of them. On the pitch the hosts' chances of triumphing are overstated considering recent performances and results.

Angers claimed an impressive 2-1 win at Rennes last weekend and will carry confidence from that victory over last season's third-placed finishers into this game. A late flurry of activity before the transfer window closed saw holding midfielder Ibrahim Amadou and wingers Sofiane Boufal (pictured above) and Jimmy Cabot added to the squad, meaning that manger Stéphane Moulin now has the size and quality of squad that means Angers are more likely to be a mid-table side than relegation contenders.

Yet Nice are a capable counter-attacking side and, man for man, should field a stronger side than Angers. The main barrier to Nice getting points from this game will be physical and mental fatigue as they're competing in the Europa League this season and the rhythm of a midweek game followed by a weekend game every week is one that few of their players are used to.

If manager Patrick Vieira is able to field a fresh side, however, Nice ought to be able to avoid defeat. The visitors on the Draw No Bet market or with a small Asian Handicap start are the markets to consider.

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