Ligue 1 Tips: Low goals the smart selection on Riviera showdown

After another profit on the last round of matches a fortnight ago James Eastham picks out the top selections on this weekend's fixtures in France...

Hosts to return to winning ways

Rennes vs Bordeaux (3rd vs 12th)
Fri, 18:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport 3 and Betfair Live Video

Rennes finished third in the final Ligue 1 table last season and have the potential to challenge for a top-three spot again this term.

In contrast Bordeaux barely look capable of improving on last season's 12th place finish and may well slip further down the table given how limited they are.

Rennes have lost four of their last five outings in all competitions but three of those defeats can be explained by the fact that they were facing stiffer opposition - Chelsea, Sevilla, PSG - than Bordeaux will be this weekend.

This game against mid-ranking Ligue 1 visitors represents the ideal opportunity for Julian Stephan's hosts to get back on track. Rennes are W3-D1-L1 at home and have named a strong squad with excellent options up front (Sehrou Guirassy, M'Baye Niang, Adrien Hunou, Jeremy Doku, Martin Terrier, Romain Del Castillo and Flavien Tait).

The struggles Bordeaux are likely to have are borne out by their away form to date: they're W1-D0-L3 on the road and have suffered heavy losses against teams comparable in standard to Rennes, such as Marseille (1-3) and Monaco (0-4).

Bordeaux's record generally against sides currently above them in the table is W1-D2-L4 which, like Rennes' home form, suggests Rennes should be arguably shorter than the 2.00 currently available on them.

Star signing Hatem Ben Arfa (pictured below) should start for Bordeaux but he's yet to improve their performances since arriving as a free agent last month.

There's a small chance Rennes will be distracted by the prospect of hosting Chelsea in the Champions League next Tuesday but this shouldn't stop them collecting all three points. The hosts are a good selection considering their odds.

Ben Yedder absence key to the outcome

Monaco vs PSG (6th vs 1st)
Fri, 20:00 GMT
Live on BT Sport 3 and Betfair Live Video

The market is expecting a high-scoring encounter when Monaco host PSG on Friday night but there are several reasons to believe there may be fewer goals than the prices suggest.

The Over/Under 3.5 Goals line is set around evens but there are few stats or facts heading into the game to back up the idea that this market ought to be a 50-50 call.

Seven of PSG's 10 Ligue 1 games - and four of their five away games - have had Under 3.5 Goals. Their average goal-per-game count generally is 2.9, reducing to 2.6 across their away fixtures.

Six of Monaco's 10 Ligue 1 games - and two of their five home games - have had Under 3.5 Goals. Their average goals-per-game count is 3.1 but a higher 3.6 in their home games.

Crucially, however, Monaco top scorer Wissam Ben Yedder is absent this weekend (covid). He's netted six of their 17 (35%) league goals so his absence makes their attack considerably weaker.

There are also various concerns about PSG's scoring ability this weekend. Moise Kean - who has netted five goals in his first seven PSG appearances in all competitions - is an injury doubt. Neymar returned to full training this week after three weeks on the sidelines and may only appear as a substitute, if at all.

Kylian Mbappe is expected to start but may not play the full 90 minutes. This is because PSG manager Thomas Tuchel needs to ensure his star players are available for Paris' crucial Champions League encounter against Red Bull Leipzig next Tuesday.

PSG may hold something back ahead of that key game against the Bundesliga outfit, while Monaco manager Niko Kovac may set-up his side a little more defensively than usual. Memories will be still in his mind of Monaco's 4-1 drubbing against Lyon last month. That was the last time Monaco faced one of Ligue 1's top sides, and Kovac will want to avoid suffering the same fate.

These tactical and freshness factors, plus the absence of Ben Yedder and doubts over how much game time PSG's best scorers will enjoy, make low goals the smart selection.

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