Most of you may well still be in mourning at the domestic season concluding last weekend but don’t fret, there is so much to look forward to. Not only do we have the World Cup coming up but competitions around Europe are finishing and this weekend we reach the final games in Spain and France and this is where our attention has focused. We have a Match Result & BTTS special for you. Check out our huge treble…
Lorient v Lille – 8.00pm Saturday
Lille to win and BTTS is 16/5 with William Hill
Lorient have been incredibly professional having not lost in their last seven league matches despite having very little to play for. All eyes will be on Lille though and the whole of France will be anticipating an away result but I expect the home side to make things difficult. The way the league is poised means Lorient will be very much on the back foot which will suit their counter attacking style. Le FCL, will also take confidence from the last few results for Lille which has seen them lose away to Bastia as well as a 3-1 defeat last weekend to PSG. Lorient have found the back of the net in each of their last seven games and I expect them to end the season with at least a goal in front of their own fans.
Lille quite simply have to win this match. Victory will ensure third place is theirs, behind Champions PSG and Runners Up Monaco but defeat could see Saint Etienne leapfrog them if they manage three points against Ajaccio- which they are expected to. More importantly, finishing third will give Lille the rich reward of bringing Champions League football to Stade Pierre-Mauroy. St Etienne also have a better goal difference meaning Lille cannot afford a draw either. Away from home Les Dogues have remained unbeaten for six games and have shown throughout the season that they are up there with the best sides and I expect them to finish to job by leaving Yves Allainmat with Champions League football to look forward to next season.
Sochaux v Evian – 8.00pm Saturday
Sochaux to win and BTTS is 14/5 with William Hill
Sochaux have made an incredible run after they looked down and out of Ligue 1 by mid season. Some how they have managed to get themselves in a position where victory will see them serve another year in the French elite. Along with home advantage I have Sochaux to win on Saturday evening at Les Lionceaux Stade Auguste Bonal, as they have won eight of their last 15 matches and have played some great football along the way. Three quarters of their points this season have been won at home as well six of their last eight games in front of their own fans. This is only ending one way for me.
Evian has a slightly different prerogative; in that they can get away with a draw and they will survive, but I am expecting Sochaux to score a goal early which will mean Evian have to go all out to secure their future. Evian registered a very important win last weekend against Nice and that 2-0 result should give them the confidence they need to get at least one goal. That victory stopped the rot of no win for 11 games in a row on the road which is quite an abysmal record. I dont see this side being good enough to survive as their performances in 2014 have been far from impressive but with so much riding on this, they should find the net.
Osasuna v Real Betis – 5.00pm Sunday
Osasuna to win and BTTS is 2/1 with William Hill
This is another game which will determine relegation, this time in Spain, as Osasuna who have home advantage require a victory to save them from a place in Segunda next season. In their way is long time relegated Real Betis. Osasuna will be kicking themselves after failing to pick up many points in the last few weeks against teams they could and should have beaten including a 2-0 defeat at home to Celta, a 0-0 draw to Valladolid and a 1-1 draw at home to the then Europa occupied Valencia. There are no second chances after Sunday and Osasuna have got to win and also hope results elsewhere go their way. Nothing but a victory against a side who have lost 24 of their 37 games this season is acceptable
Real Betis have shown in recent weeks that they wish to end their dismal season on a high by getting some much needed morale boosting results for their suffering fans. No pressure on the side has allowed them to play some better football and I expect at least one goal to be scored by the Green and Whites this weekend. Osasuna have to go for the win which should leave us with a very open game and Betis hit well on the counter which should give them plenty of chances, where they should convert at least one. Should actually be a much closer tie than many expect.