Le Grand Foot ..................
Ligue 1 restarts after the break this weekend and as usual, I will send the LGF notes from Paul each day that there are games early (usually @ 07.00) to his subscribers, so that they do not interfere with the clubgowi emails. For any newbies, an explanation of who/what LGF are/is can be read at the very foot of this post. In addition to this weekend, there is also a full midweek round in Ligue 1 next week ( played 16/17 January). We are at the half way stage of the season, so 190 previews, Paul has put up a bet in 136 (7 per round on average), posted 14 winning, five losing weeks, with a ROI of +8.1%. LGF put up more (far more) sub 2.0 and even sub 1.90 lines than clubgowi and profits over the whole term I have been tracking them, would have been substantially increased by opting to give up the bigger handicap for these bets. But that, like everything clubgowi have any involvement in, is up to the reader.
LGF sample previews from Week 19.........
PSG had an easy game last round away at Rennes (won 4-1). They opened the score very early, and all attacking players seemed to be in excellent form, especially Neymar who was the man of the match, after scoring twice and delivering two assists.
It's been more than a month now since PSG last kept a clean sheet, but they don't seem to care about that aspect anymore. Fullbacks Alves and Berchiche easily lost possession last round, and against different opponents it could have been decisive.
Last round Caen had to accept the rhythm imposed by Guingamp, even if they were playing on home ground (finished 0-0). Caen lacked inspiration in the attacking phase and confidence in defense. They created only one real scoring opportunity, but winger Rodelin missed incredibly from only a few meters. He scored 3 goals this season, but he has been constantly losing form for about a month now.
PSG will miss defenders Dani Alves, Kimpembe and midfielder Verratti (all of them suspended). Caen will be without important midfielder Feret.
Odds are very low, but I don't think Caen can create any kind of problems for PSG, even if the Parisians fully ignore the defensive phase. PSG -3 at 2.03
PSG: Areola, Trapp, Descamps - Meunier, Berchiche, Kurzawa, Nsoki, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos - Thiago Motta, Draxler, Pastore, Lo Celso, Nkunku - Cavani, Neymar, Mbappé, Di Maria, Lucas.
Caen: Vercoutre, Samba - Guilbert, Da Silva, Diomandé, Sankoh, Mbengue - Aït Bennasser, Delaplace, Avounou, Bessat, Peeters, Repas - Rodelin, Santini, Nkololo, Kouakou, Bazile.
Monaco put up an impressive performance last week away at St Etienne. They scored after only a few minutes and continued to be aggressive afterwards. As harsh as it may sound, the final score line fully reflects the reality in the field (Monaco won 4-0).
It was by far the most convincing performance after a long period. Lately they have struggled both at home and away. Recently key winger Lemar returned after a long injury and the attacking strength increased. He was very active last week and even managed to score.
Rennes didn't have a chance last week against PSG. Opponents took control of the game after the first whistle, and besides scoring a goal, Rennes were pretty much powerless (lost 4-1).
Still, that game alone is not relevant to their strength and abilities. This season they have made some really impressive away games, winning at Marseille and Montpellier.
Rennes usually sit somewhere near the 10th place, but now they are in the upper half of the table for quite some time (6th), thanks to the convincing performances.
Hosts will once again miss forward Jovetic. Rennes welcome back important midfielder Gourcuff.
Odds on Monaco are way too low seeing that Rennes are no mugs. Goals would have been an interesting choice, but at those prices is simply not worth it.
METZ - STRABSOURG
The game away at Montpellier last round was very balanced and Metz were somewhat lucky to win all points (finished 3-1). It was only their second victory this season.
Coach Hantz made some changes and Metz started in the 5-4-1 formula. The interesting fact is that all midfielders were offensive minded and focused primarily on the attacking phase. Maybe this is why Metz managed to score 3 goals in a single game (the best attacking performance so far this season).
There are no guarantees, but knowing that points are hard to come by for Metz, there are pretty good chances that coach Hantz will use the exact same formula this round.
It was a balanced game between Strasbourg and Toulouse last round, but thanks to their creativity in the attacking department, Strasbourg managed to win all points (finished 2-1).
Strasbourg is very courageous in the attacking department for a newly promoted team, and the strategy is paying off. Although they are conceding goals, they haven't been defeated in Ligue 1 for 6 rounds now.
Metz still have plenty of absences, but nothing new in comparison to last round.
Strasbourg never say no to an open game, and with Metz finally in confidence, we have all the ingredients for a high scoring encounter. Over 2.5 goals at 2.07
Metz: Kawashima, Beunardeau - Selimovic, Assou-Ekotto, Rivierez, Niakhaté, Diagne, Basin, Palmieri - Cohade, Poblete, Mollet, Philipps, Dossevi, Goudiaby - Rivière, Niane, Roux.
Strasbourg: Landry Bonnefoi, Alexandre Oukidja, Bastien Rempp, Kader Mangane, Bakary Koné, Yoann Salmier, Pablo Martinez, Kenny Lala, Jérémy Grimm, Jean-Eudes Aholou, Anthony Gonçalves, Dimitri Lienard, Jonas Martin, Martin Terrier, Ihsan Sacko, Jérémy Blayac, Stéphane Bahoken, Idriss Saadi et Nuno Da Costa.
GUINGAMP - ST ETIENNE
Guingamp controlled the game away at Caen last week, but unfortunately lacked efficiency in the attacking phase (finished 0-0).
They are pretty confident in performances lately, and managed to win 7 points in the last 3 rounds. They are highly organized in midfield and defense (kept a clean sheet in the last 4 rounds) and the only problem seems to be in the attacking phase, where players can't maintain the same rhythm each round.
Experienced forward Briand is involved in all of Guingamp's actions, but the 3 attacking midfielders behind him aren't always so active.
St Etienne have been humiliated in the last two rounds, first by Marseille and then by Monaco. They conceded a total of 7 goals in those games, without scoring a single one.
They haven't won a game since October, confidence is at minimum levels and furthermore they have also lost important keeper Ruffier who got a red card last week.
Guingamp have the same squad as last round. In comparison to last round St Etienne will miss keeper Ruffier, but welcome back defenders Lacroix, Gabriel and midfielder Dabo.
Form and confidence definitely favour the home side. Odds are too good to miss out. Guingamp -0.5 at 1.94
Guingamp: Johnsson, Caillard - Kerbrat, Eboa Eboa, Martins Pereira, Rebocho, Sorbon, Ikoko, Tabanou - Diallo, Phiri, Deaux, Giresse, Benezet, Blas - Briand, Thuram, Coco, Salibur.
AMIENS - NANTES
Amiens were outplayed last round away at Troyes and ended up with no points (lost 1-0). They still created a few scoring opportunities, but attacking players lacked inspiration.
Amiens are now sitting on three consecutive Ligue 1 defeats and seem to be exhausted. In the attacking phase Amiens rely only on 3 players for creating actions and converting them, and when they are out-of-form Amiens simply can't stay competitive.
Nantes put up a confident performance last round against Angers. They played in 10 for about half an hour, but still were dangerous and managed to win all points (finished 1-0).
Away from home there is a different story, as lately their performances have been kind of disappointing, as they won only 2 points in 5 away games.
Guests will be without defender Diego Carlos and winger Bammou.
Nantes are better organized in midfield and also seem fresher than Amiens. This advantage is not reflected in the odds.
Nantes: Dupé, Olliero, Tatarusanu - Alcibiade, Pallois, Djidji, Lima, Awaziem, Dubois, Walongwa - Iloki, Thomasson, Kacaniklic, El Ghanassy, Moutoussamy, Touré, Girotto, Krhin, Rongier - Sala, Ngom
ANGERS - DIJON
Angers seemed clueless last round away at Nantes. They held more possession (mostly because opponents played in 10 for about half an hour), but couldn't create a single shot on target.
It was a really disappointing performance that perfectly illustrates the Angers' capabilities at the moment. They won only 1 point in the last 5 Ligue1 games and seem to be decreasing efforts as round goes by.
In the attacking phase Toko Ekambi is the only one making efforts, but that's not enough for Angers to pick up points.
Dijon destroyed Lille last round after a confident performance. They opened the score very early and continued to apply pressure until all points were secured (won 3-0).
Lately Dijon transformed into a typical home team. They won the last 3 home games, but lost the last 3 away games.
Still, form and confidence are at good levels, and Dijon finally sit in the upper half of the table (9th place).
Angers will miss defender Pavlovic due to spsuension. Dijon are without 9 players, but in comparison to last round only 4 are new, 2 of which only reserves. Defenders Chafik and Varrault (reserve), and midfielders Amalfitano and Balmont (reserve) will sit out.
Odds on Angers are way too low considering the way they have been performing lately. The value is definitely on the away side. Dijon +0.25 at 2.05
It is no surprise that Bordeaux were outplayed last round away at Nice and barely had enough power to create a decent opportunity (lost 1-0).
At the end of September Bordeaux lost 6-2 away at PSG and never really recovered after that defeat. Something must have happened in the locker rooms, as players became more individualistic, chemistry decreased and they lost most of the games that followed (won only 5 points in 10 games).
Last round Montpellier refused to take control of the game and were punished because of this attitude. They conceded twice in the final 10 minutes and lost all points (Metz won 3-1).
I've mentioned how Montpellier feel much more comfortable when opponents are in charge, so they can focus only on counters.
Hosts will be without midfielder Sankhare, and forwards Laborde and Mendy. Guests will miss defender Hilton (suspended).
Out-of-form Bordeaux seem like the perfect victim for Montpellier. Bordeaux usually control most games on home ground, but lately fail miserably when applying the finishing touch. Montpellier +0.25 at 2.04
Bordeaux: Costil, Prior - Sabaly, Poundjé, Toulalan, Jovanovic, Pellenard, Carrique - Lerager, Plasil, Otavio, Vada, Youssouf - Kamano, Malcom, Cafu, De Préville, Taha, Diarra
Earlier this month it appeared that Lille were finally on the right track, but unfortunately for their fans, it was only a false alarm.
They finally parted ways with coach Bielsa, a separation that will most likely cost Lille somewhere around 15 mil euro.
Morale and confidence are at minimum levels, and I don't see any chances of improvement until the winter break.
Nice are sitting on 4 consecutive Ligue 1 victories, and they seem to be improving as round goes by. Last round they even managed to keep a clean sheet, after the three central midfielders got more involved in the defensive phase (won 1-0 against Bordeaux).
The loose defense has been by far Nice's biggest problem this season. Hopefully from now on midfielders will focus more on the defensive phase and things will improve.
Lille will be without captain Amadou. Nice will miss striker Balotelli who is suspended.
Lille simply don't stand a chance the way they have been performing this season. The price on Nice is simply too good to miss. Nice DNB at 2.02
MARSEILLE - TROYES
Marseille controlled the game against Lyon last round but unfortunately couldn't find the net, in-spite creating plenty of chances (lost 2-0).
Most probably their confidence is a bit shaken after the elimination from Coupe de la Ligue and the defeat away at Lyon last week.
Usually on home ground Marseille are very aggressive, and most probably they will have the same attitude this round, especially after the recent results.
Troyes dominated last week against Amiens and deserved to win all points (won 1-0). Although they scored only 1 goal, attacking players were very active and showed increased playing appetite.
At Troyes there's a perfect blend of experience and agility in the attacking phase. At 33 and 40, Darbion and Nivet aren't so agile anymore, but they excel in vision and ball control. On the other hand, Grandsir and Khaoui are very fast and can easily take opponents by surprise.
There are no surprises in the squads.
I think that Troyes have a pretty good chance of finding the net, especially given Marseille's reduced confidence due to recent results. Both teams to score at 1.95
Marseille: Pelé, Mandanda - Sakai, Rolando, Abdennour, Amavi, Rami - Sanson, Luiz Gustavo, Lopez, Zambo Aguissa - Ocampos, Payet, Mitroglou, Njie, Sari, Sarr, Thauvin, Germain.
Troyes: Samassa, Zelazny - Deplagne, Giraudon, Hérelle, Obiang, Traoré, Vizcarrondo - Azamoum, Bellugou, Confais, Darbion, Khaoui, Nivet, Pelé - Grandsir, Niane, Suk.
TOULOUSE - LYON
The game between Toulouse and Strasbourg last round was very balanced. In the end Strasbourg won all points thanks to their confidence in the attacking phase (finished 2-1).
Winger Gradel scored once again (found the net in the last 3 games), but unfortunately the other attacking players lacked inspiration (once again)
Overall Toulouse have a decent organization, but they aren't very efficient in the attacking phase. They don't create that many chances and also have problems applying the finishing touch.
Lyon were dominated last week on home ground by Marseille, but defended with confidence and were very pragmatic upfront (won 2-0).
Lyon have one the most efficient attacking departments in Ligue1. Lately they aren't very convincing in midfield, but thanks to the attacking skills, they don't need prolonged possession in order to score.
He had his own following of course and those readers were able to sign up last season and pay for the service and some did, it was never intended as such originally . Paul, as far as I know, never gave an official selection , or therefore, kept any stats before last season, he still doesn't. clugowi subscribers received all 380 Ligue 1 previews for free in 2016-17, I did some stats for last season, he started incredibly well, but had a late mid term blip and figures for the campaign were 269 selections with a ROI of +4.87%, with an average of seven suggestions per week, there was no "stake", so I applied a flat one unit .
I like the notes, which is why I bought the site in the first place, they provide content on all 20 teams each week, an update on style of play and confirmed team news, all of which I know is reliable so they save me time and I can incorporate them into my own thinking/ betting should I be looking at a Ligue 1 game.