Ligue 1 Tips: Messi ready to dazzle on PSG debut in Sunday night's thriller

Ligue 1 Tips: Messi ready to dazzle on PSG debut in Sunday night’s thriller

Ligue 1 Tips: Messi ready to dazzle on PSG debut in Sunday night's thriller

Lyon to kick-start season

Nantes vs Lyon
Fri, 20:00 BST
Live on BT Sport 2 and Betfair Live Video

Lyon may have dropped points at home to Clermont (3-3) last weekend but there was enough quality in their performance to suggest they can claim their first Ligue 1 win of the season this Friday night.

Lyon led 3-1 with 15 minutes on the clock, so the 3-3 final scoreline was massively frustrating for manager Peter Bosz and his players.

Yet the standard of Lyon’s attacking play was fantastic at times, the highlight being a Goal of the Season contender from Brazil Olympic gold medal-winning midfielder Lucas Paqueta when he rounded off a stunning team move to find the net.

Away from home Lyon should find plenty of space against Nantes and the form that the Lyon midfielders and attackers showed last weekend suggests they will dominate the match.

They need to tighten up defensively and the likely return of Belgium centre-back Jason Denayer to the starting line-up this weekend will ensure that Lyon are more difficult to break down.

Through illness, Denayer has yet to start a Ligue 1 match this season and his return would provide stability at the back.

Nantes were mediocre in losing 1-0 at Rennes last weekend and manager Antoine Kombouare has injury concerns ahead of the game.

Out since pre-season, midfielder Wylan Cyprien is still sidelined, while front men Randal Kolo Muani and Moses Simon are carrying injuries that may rule both out.

Even at full strength, Nantes would be no match for Lyon if the visitors play close to their potential. Back Bosz’s players to earn all three points.

Star names to inspire big win

Reims vs PSG
Sun, 19:45 BST
Live on BT Sport 1 and Betfair Live Video

Stade Auguste Delaune will be the setting for Lionel Messi’s Ligue 1 debut as the Argentina superstar prepares to make his bow in new club colours on Sunday night.

Messi and former Barcelona team-mate Neymar are expected to be named in Mauricio Pochettino’s squad for the game and there’s a good chance both players will start.

Messi has worked hard in training since signing for the French capital club earlier this month while Neymar is reportedly in good shape after his extended holidays following his Copa America exertions.

While the South American duo will attract the most attention there will also be eyes on Kylian Mbappe, who has reportedly made it clear to the PSG bosses that he would like to join Real Madrid before the transfer window closes next week.

The number of sub-plots concerning transfers that either have happened or could be about to happen can make you forget there’s a game taking place, although the sight of Messi with the ball at his feet should remind us all what his arrival in Paris is truly about.

As ever in such matches, PSG are a short price to win. The latest odds make PSG 1.182/11 to claim all three points, with Reims 1716/1 to pull off a shock victory and The Draw 8.07/1.

With these prices unlikely to appeal to many watchers, the Asian Handicap market offers a better way to back Messi and co.

PSG -2.0 Asian Handicap is available at close to evens. With this selection, you’ll get your stakes back if PSG win by exactly two goals, and make a profit if PSG win by more than two goals. For a full guide to Asian Handicap betting, click here.

PSG have won their last two games by a two-goal margin – 4-2 at Brest last weekend, 4-2 at home to Strasbourg a fortnight ago – and did so without Messi and Neymar on the pitch.

With their two star names highly likely to feature this weekend, it would be a surprise if PSG failed to match their most recent two margins of victory. Reims belong to the same middle- to lower-ranking category of Ligue 1 sides as Strasbourg and Brest, so PSG ought to win comfortably.