Bastia set to end Marseille's remarkable defensive record


Steve Mandanda has been in exceptional form but is likely to concede at the Velodrome this weekend, writes James Eastham.


Marseille v Bastia (2nd v 13th) Sat, 16:00 BST

It's eight games since Steve Mandanda conceded a Ligue 1 goal but I fancy him to concede this weekend even though Marseille may well win the match.

Marseille no. 1 and France no. 2 Mandanda has been in sensational form as l'OM have climbed to second in the table, but Bastia have the attitude and ability to silence the Velodrome masses.


Frederic Hantz's side may have drawn 0-0 at home to Toulouse last weekend but that was an unusually tepid performance from one of Ligue 1's most exciting teams.


Few sides break faster and more effectively than Bastia thanks to ex-France international Jerome Rothen's passing ability, Lille-bound Florian Thauvin and Tunisia international Wahbi Khazri's high-speed dribbling skills and the rediscovered scoring touch of former Blackburn Rovers front man Anthony Modeste, the team's 12-goal top scorer. Bastia may have little to play for in the league table but games between Marseille and Corsican visitors are always highly-charged affairs.


Marseille are deservedly favourites and will be confident of scoring: Bastia have the division's worst overall defensive record (1.76 goals conceded a game) and the worst record away from home (2.18).


Both Teams to Score is the selection.



Troyes v Evian (20th v 17th) Sat, 19:00 BST

This game really does look like Troyes' last chance to keep alive their hopes of staying in Ligue 1. They go into the game bottom of the table, 6pts from safety with four matches to play. It's a perilous position, to say the least.


Yet Evian are the team directly above the relegation zone so by winning Troyes may climb nearer to a safe league position. This should ensure a positive approach from Jean-Marc Furlan's side, although it's not like they need much encouragement: seven of their last 11 home games have had over 2.5 goals, with an average of 2.85 goals per game in their 34 games during the season overall and 2.76 in their 17 home fixtures.


Evian may be 17th, but 18th-placed Sochaux are behind them on goal difference alone, so Evian would be taking a massive risk if they played for a point.


With both teams effectively needing a win the game should open up at some point. Over 2.5 Goals is the pick.



Nancy v Lyon (16th v 3rd) Sun, 16:00 BST

It's difficult hand the Coach of the Year prize to a man in charge for only half a season but Nancy's Patrick Gabriel has made a very good case.


When he took over in January Nancy were bottom of the table, 8pts from safety and seemingly doomed to Ligue 2 next season. Yet Gabriel has inspired a remarkable revival, with their 0-0 draw at Valenciennes last weekend Nancy's latest fine result. In 15 games under him they have picked up 24pts. If he had been in charge the entire campaign, Nancy would be seventh.


The strongest trend on Nancy this season is Both Teams to Score. This bet has paid off in 19 of 34 league games, including nine of 17 at their Stade Marcel Picot.


Lyon are perfectly set-up for the selection as well: embroiled in a tight race for the Champions League places they will commit plenty of men forward and be more vulnerable than usual in defence as first-choice goalkeeper Remi Vercoutre is out with serious ligament damage for six months. Twenty-two-year-old Anthony Lopes will keep his place in goal after making his league debut last weekend.


Over 2.5 Goals is worth considering at 2.2, but I'd follow the both teams to score trend.



Recommended Bets:

Best Bet: Troyes v Evian Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.05

Marseille v Bastia Both Teams to Score @ 1.95

Nancy v Lyon Both Teams to Score @ 1.91


(Source: Betfair)




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