OUR man in France is Julien Laurens and he's casting his eye over Sunday games at Lyon and Marseille.
Julien is a London-based sports correspondent for Le Parisien and a veritable French football expert. He writes in French and English for a number of esteemed publications and appears on BT Sport's European Football Show every Sunday as well as contributing to unibet.
Lyon v Guingamp (4pm, Sun)
Lyon host Guingamp on Sunday afternoon at the Parc OL. It has been a good start to the season for l’OL, with 8 points leaving them fourth in the table. They are still unbeaten, despite two draws in their last two league matches. They could have done better but there are a lot of positives such as like Nabil Fekir’s form.
The captain has already scored three goals and is in great shape. He will lead the team once again on Sunday, in a very offensive line-up with Depay, Diaz and Traoré. In midfield the two new signing Ndombélé and Diop could make their debuts. They are very strong and powerful box-to-box players. Manager Bruno Genesio has a lot of options and will have to pick the right team.
Lyon are really wary about this game. Guingamp are usually very good at the Parc OL with two wins there last season in the league and the League Cup.
Before they start their Europa League campaign next week Lyon want to continue their good form in the league as well.
For the visitors the start of the season has been average with two wins and two defeats against Nice and PSG. The team is still solid and hard to beat. Yannis Salibur, who wanted to leave but could not complete his move to St Etienne, has been rested by the manager Antoine Kombouaré.
He is a big loss for Guingamp but the manager has other options to replace him such as Benezet, Thuram or Blas who has been interesting since the start of the season.
Guingamp believe they have a psychological advantage before this game after winning twice at Lyon last season. However, I don’t think that they will be able to do it again this time around. Lyon will win 3-1. I think Nabil Fekir will score first at 5.20 and my best bet is Lyon to win and both teams to score at 2.70.
- Correct score: Lyon 3, Guingamp 1 (19-2, Unibet)
- First scorer: Nabil Fekir (21-5, Unibet)
- Best bet: Lyon win and both teams to score (17-10, Unibet)
Marseille v Rennes (8pm)
Marseille host Rennes on Sunday evening at the Stade Vélodrome. It is an important game for the hosts after the humiliation in Monaco (6-1 loss) two weeks ago, just before the international break.
L’OM have to bounce back at home against Rennes. It looks like a tricky game though. Confidence is not high at the moment and there will be a lot of players missing. Dimitri Payet is still doubtful after missing the last three matches and the international break, while Cabella was loaned to St Etienne.
New signing Mitroglou is out for two weeks through injury so Valère Germain will start on his own up front, with Florian Thauvin brhind him. Luis Gustavo is suspended in midfield, as is Lucas Ocampos up front. The Brazilian has already received three yellow cards in four league matches so will miss this game. Anguissa and Sanson should start in midfield but Lopez is doubtful too.
Marseille manager Rudi Garcia will want his players to put a lot of intensity in the game from kick-off. Adil Rami missed the Monaco defeat through injury and is still out so he will not play alongside new signing Aymen Abdennour, back in Ligue 1 after playing for Toulouse and Monaco.
Marseille often struggle at home against Rennes in the league, with three losses in their last six encounters at the Vélodrome but this season Rennes are struggling for form. They are yet to win a single match and are second from bottom, with just two points. Rennes manager Christian Gourcuff is under huge pressure and this could be his last game in charge if the result goes badly.
Rennes tried hard to sign a striker this summer but failed to do so. However, they strengthened their squad with offensive midfielder Wahbi Khazri right at the end of the transfer window. They will need him to hit Marseille on the counter attack on Sunday using the pace of Ismaila Sarr up front.
I think that Marseille are weakened by the players missing and Rennes will make life hard for them.