Leagues Tipped:

OUR man in France is Julien Laurens and he's looking at Nice v PSG and Marseille v Lyon.

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 is a regular on BT Sport as well as contributing to Unibet.

Nice v PSG (Sun 12pm)

Paris travel to Nice on Sunday with an early kick-off to accommodate the Chinese market. The capital club have extended their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to 17 points after beating Angers (2-1) in midweek.

They had Thiago Motta sent off after just 18 minutes and they had to fight hard to win but they did thanks to two goals by Kylian Mbappé.

Motta is suspended on Sunday but Lassana Diarra, who was suspended in midweek, is back in the squad and will replace him in the starting XI. Neymar is also out as he continues his recovery in Brazil. Manager Unai Emery has all his other players available for Sunday.

Paris have rarely found it easy against Nice since Lucien Favre arrived at the club. The Parisians are on a great run in the league though, with eight wins in a row since their last defeat, at Lyon in January. Their record away at Nice in the league is not the greatest. They lost 3-1 there last season and have won four of their last nine visits otherwise.

This is a huge game for Nice, who are still chasing fifth place. They are currently 7th in the table, just one point behind Nantes. They need a win.

Mario Balotelli is back in the squad after missing their 5-2 away win in Guingamp last weekend. In that game, Alassane Plea scored four goals. He is in great form coming into this game.

It is defensively though that Nice have struggled. They have kept only two clean sheets in their last 11 matches in all competitions. However, they are good going forward and will create chances.

Julien's Tips

Marseille v Lyon (Sun 8pm)

This is the big game of the weekend in Ligue 1, the Olympico between Marseille and Lyon at the Stade Vélodrome. It is third vs fourth and a huge rivalry between the two clubs as well.

They are both still involved in the race for second place with Monaco, who are four points clear of Marseille and nine of Lyon. If Lyon still want to have a chance to catch Marseille or Monaco, they have to win on Sunday.

The home side are in great form and beat Athletic Bilbao in Spain on Thursday in the Europa League to qualify for the quarter-finals. Apart from losing twice against Paris recently, in the league and in the French Cup, they haven't lost for a while and are full of confidence.

They know how important this game is for them as well. A win and they would be eight points clear of Lyon and almost assured to finish third and get to the Champions League playoffs.

It is a huge game and manager Rudi Garcia has all his players available. He even managed to rest some key players like Thauvin who came off after the hour and Germain who stayed on the bench. Gustavo, such a key player for Marseille, was also taken off early so Marseille are really in the best shape for this game.

Their home league record against Lyon is pretty good in the last few years, with just two defeats in the last 10 encounters at the Vélodrome. But the last three matches all ended as a draw.

If Marseille are in good form, it is the opposite for Lyon. They are in crisis after their home defeat on Thursday against CSKA Moscow in the Europa League (3-2). They were knocked out despite winning the first leg in Russia (1-0). They won last weekend in Ligue 1 against Caen (1-1), ending a six-game winless run.

But the team is struggling at the moment and not playing as a team is an issue as well. They have to bounce back on Sunday but it will be a tough environment for this young team. Nabil Fekir, their best player is still out injured and without him, it has not been the same.

Julien's Tips

  • Marseille 2, Lyon 1 (7-1, Unibet)
  • Thauvin to score first (9-2, Unibet)
  • Marseille win and btts (5-2, Unibet)
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