With the Premier League weekend under our belts, the rest of the soccer world continues. While the schedule this week is not like July and August, where we had important league fixtures, cup finals, and Champions League knockout games, there are still a couple of interesting matches to throw your money at. This week, we’ll focus on France’s Ligue 1.
Marseille have been the early pace-setters in Ligue 1. Defending Champions PSG have lost their opening two matches, including one to Marseille. Marseille’s victory over PSG was a wild one with 5 red cards in stoppage time.
Manager André Villas-Boas had a promising year last season, finishing second and getting his side to play some good stuff. Spearheaded by wingers Florian Thauvin and Dimitri Payet, Marseille are looking to end PSG’s monopoly on French titles.
In their way this week are Saint-Étienne, a side who have also won their opening two games. In recent years, they’ve flirted with the big boys of French soccer but have struggled to take that extra step. They’ll feel quietly confident that they can mount an assault on the summit, or at least the top 4, this season.
Pick: Marseille to cover. I like what Villas-Boas is doing with this Marseille team and I think they’ll feel extremely encouraged by the fact that PSG have started so poorly. 3-for-3 would send a message to the league that they may be the real deal, and I think that will happen.
Like I touched on earlier, PSG are in some early trouble. In fairness, their squad has been greatly depleted by several factors, including players who have tested positive for COVID-19 and injuries because of the quick turnaround from their Champions League campaign. So they do deserve some leeway. That being said, you do have to wonder if their loss in the Champions League final to Bayern Munich has impacted them mentally.
After a flurry of red cards against Marseille, PSG will be without Layvin Kurzawa, Leandro Paredes, and Neymar. Kylian Mbappé is also a doubt as he continues his recovery from COVID-19.
Metz, on the other hand, haven’t exactly enjoyed a mesmerizing start either. Two losses in their first two matches. Metz will probably be thinking they’ll need to pull off a miracle for this one. What they can take solace from is the fact that they only lost each game by a score of 1-0.
Given PSG’s injury woes and Metz’ tendency to not concede too many, I think this will be a low-scoring affair but ultimately PSG should be able to scrape through.