Ligue 1 Midweek Tips: Rampant Lyon and efficient Marseille to sign off year in style

There's one more round of games in France's top flight in 2020 and some familiar names at the top of the table are worth backing, says James Eastham...

Underrated Brest the smart selection

Lens vs Brest (8th vs 11th)
Wed, 18.00 GMT
Live on BT Sport 2 and Betfair Live Video

The market gives Lens almost a 50% chance of winning their final game of 2020 and the odds on the hosts look too short given how well-matched these sides are.

Brest are just one point behind Lens in the Ligue 1 standings (although Brest have played a game more) and anyone that has closely monitored the performances of these two teams during the first-half of the season knows there's hardly anything to pick between them.

Brest's away form is the main concern for the visitors heading into the game as their record on the road is W2-D1-L5. Lens' home form is nothing to get excited about, however: the Sang et Or are W3-D2-L2 on their own turf, and doubts have crept in recently as they are without a win from their last four home outings (W0-D2-L2).

Team news may also favour Brest: with just over 24 hours until kick-off there were fitness questions over Lens defender Massadio Haidara, midfielder Seko Fofana and playmaker Gael Kakuta (pictured below). Ex-Chelsea man Kakuta would be a major loss if he isn't fit to play or starts on the bench: he has 10 goals and assists this season and would be in many neutrals' Ligue 1 team of the season to date.

Lens are 2.02, with Brest 3.8 and The Draw 3.95. At those odds, a lay of Lens is the smart choice.


Marseille to return to efficient best

Angers vs Marseille (9th vs 4th)
Wed, 20.00 GMT
Live on BT Sport 2 and Betfair Live Video

It would be surprising if Marseille lost at Angers on Wednesday night so supporting the visitors in some sense is our selection on this game.

Andre Villas-Boas' men dropped points at home to Reims last weekend (1-1) but have been highly efficient in recent weeks (W6-D1-L1 from their last eight outings) and will expect to avoid defeat at the very least.

L'OM are four points above Angers with two games in hand and stronger in most areas of the pitch. A couple of automatic starters may be absent for the visitors but Marseille's key performers should all be available.

Angers are a good bet to finish in mid-table this season but their form has faltered in recent weeks. They're without a win in their last three outings (W0-D2-L1) and would need to raise their game considerably to collect all three points.

Angers are 3.1, with Marseille 2.6 and The Draw 3.3. At those odds Marseille are a tempting pick. Alternatively, you can back Marseille at a decent price on the Draw No Bet market. By doing so, you'll get your stakes back if the game ends in a draw and make a profit if Marseille win.

Lyon to end 2020 with a flourish

Lyon vs Nantes (2nd vs 15th)
Wed, 20.00 GMT
Live on Betfair Live Video

Rampant Lyon ran out 4-1 winners at Nice last weekend and have the potential to record similarly comfortable victory when they host Nantes.

The quality and variety of Lyon's attacking play was outstanding at times at Nice and it was easy to see why Rudi Garcia's men - second behind Ligue 1 leaders Lille on goal difference only - are now regarded by many neutral observers as genuine title contenders.

Unbeaten in 13 matches, Lyon's form has improved as the season has gone on, as their record of W8-D2-L0 from their last 10 outings underlines. Front three Memphis Depay, Tino Kadewere and Karl Toko-Ekambi are on fire: they have 22 goals and 10 assists between them.

Nantes have won just one of their last nine matches and that victory came against fellow strugglers Lorient. Manager Christian Gourcuff was recently sacked because of the team's poor form and there have been no signs of improvement since assistant Patrick Collot took charge on an interim basis.

Nantes' results against Ligue 1's other top sides so far this season are especially instructive: they lost 3-1 at PSG, 3-1 at Marseille and 2-0 at Lille. Lyon are eminently capable of replicating their title rivals' performances against Nantes by winning by a couple of goals.

As Lyon are as short as 1.3 to collect all three points, backing Lyon with a -1.5 Asian Handicap start - essentially wagering that they'll win by two or more goals - is the pick.

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