Sorry that I got this one up late, but time difference between the US and France is never that friendly. We only have two matches on the Ligue 1 schedule today, and here are my predictions for those matches.
Dijon vs. Rennes – Truly one of the David vs. Goliath matches of the week. Dijon is predicted to finish 20th almost everywhere.
Rennes, on the other hand, is expected to be fighting for one of the last European qualifying spots.
While Dijon remains an unknown for most people, Rennes isn’t exactly a known team either. One of the things that remains a big question mark today’s match is the maturity of the Rennes players. Knowing very well that he is working with a mostly inexperienced side, coach Frederic Antonetti has tried to address the problem, as is shown here on Stade Rennais Online’s English version. But still, even with the inexperience, Rennes have a well-balanced team and should be able to handle Dijon easily.
Expect Victor Hugo Montano and Razak Boukari to have good matches. Also, keep an eye out on new arrival Julien Feret, as he will be of great benefit to Montano and Boukari up front. Prediction: Rennes 2-0.
Bordeaux vs. St. Etienne – Here is the battle between a team that has spent the last two years building, and a team that has spent the last two years dismantling. While losing a few key players, St. Etienne were still able to bring in some fresh talent that now makes them one of the most balanced teams in Ligue 1 (which they were before as well).
As for Bordeaux, the only answer they have provided for rebuilding is bringing in coach Francis Gillot, which is a good move for the team. Therefore, today’s match is between the new players for ASSE and the new coach for Bordeaux. While one will come out ahead?
With Dimitri Payet and Emmanuel Riviere gone, the offensive duties will now fall on the shoulders of Gonzalo Bergessio. He does have the talent to score. And with the lack of competition to take his place, this is the time for Bergessio to show us what he has. Keep an eye out for him.
But where the real battle could be won or lost is between St. Etienne’s defense and Bordeaux’s offense. ASSE’s defense last year was amazing, led by Carlos Bocanegra, Sylvain Marchel and Albin Ebondo. Ebondo isn’t playing today, but the acquisition of Jean-Pascal Mignot from Auxerre gives St. Etienne even more strength in the back. This will help against a Bordeaux offense which has gone from being productive a few years ago to non-existent. If ASSE scores one goal, the game can be over quickly. And if ASSE’s defense plays “average”, they should win as well.
Still, the biggest unknown for today is St. Etienne’s offense. Prediction: ASSE 2-0.