Friday, 13 April 2012

Squeaky clochard time

Alex: Showing OM who's boss
Hello readers, I'm back from my holidays refreshed and ready for the Ligue 1 end-of-season run-in.

In my absence Paris St-Germain managed to lose 2-1 at Nancy, before beating those losers from the South Marseille 2-1 in Sunday's Clasico. Once again PSG looked about as effective as Andy Carroll on roller-skates for much of the game, but came up with the goods when it mattered, Menez and Alex with the goals.

Unsurprisingly OM were unable to do us a favour in midweek against Montpellier, losing 3-1, meaning Rene Girard's side hold a three-point advantage at the top going into the last seven games of the season.

Which way the title will go is any-ones guess, and guess is exactly what I've done here in my attempts to predict the two team's upcoming results. I was surprised to discover that our fixtures are virtually mirror-images: where PSG play a team away, Montpellier usually face them at home, and vice-versa, so neither side has much of an advantage in that respect. Have a look and see what you think, and feel free to remind me of this post in a few weeks when it becomes apparent I've got everything completely wrong.

Week 32: Sunday April 15
Lorient v Montpellier: DRAW
Auxerre v PSG: PSG WIN
Although Lorient have lost their last couple, their home record isn't as bad as their league position (18th) suggests. I reckon they could hold Montpellier to a draw. PSG meanwhile go to rock-bottom Auxerre, who have a new manager in wonderfully-name Jean-Guy Wallemme. But even allowing for new-manager bounce, if we can't beat the bottom club we might as well give up now.
Montpellier: 67
PSG: 66

Week 33: Saturday April 21-Sunday April 22
Montpellier v Valenciennes (Sat): Montpellier WIN
PSG v Sochaux (Sun): PSG WIN
Both should win here, though of the two games PSG's is probably the harder. Valenciennes don't have much to play for, while Sochaux have picked up a bit of late as they bid to climb out of the drop zone, and have some dangerous players in their squad (Martin, Maiga, Boudebouz, etc).
Montpellier: 70
PSG: 69

Week 34: Sunday April 29
Toulouse v Montpellier: DRAW
Joe Cole's Lille gave PSG a bit of a battering at the Parc back in December, though the match finished 0-0. I expect them to have the edge at the Stade Metropole, perhaps with Cole himself playing a starring role. Or maybe not. Fortunately MHSC have a tough game that day too, Toulouse have only lost twice on home turf this season so I think that one will end all square.
Montpellier: 71
PSG: 69

Week 35: Wednesday May 2
Montpellier v Evian: Montpellier WIN
PSG v St Etienne: PSG WIN
Plucky little Evian have drawn a lot of games away from home in their first season in Ligue 1, but I think Montpellier will have the edge in this encounter. One of PSG's best performances of the season came just before Christmas when they won at St Etienne, and I'd expect them to repeat the trick.
Montpellier: 74
PSG: 72

Week 36: Saturday May 5-Sunday May 6
Rennes v Montpellier: Montpellier DEFEAT
Valenciennes v PSG: PSG WIN
Lovely little Mevlut Erding pops up with the winner for Frederic Antonetti's side, while PSG stroll to routine win over mid-table Valenciennes, whose players minds are already wandering towards the summer days spent relaxing on a warm beach.
PSG: 75
Montpellier: 74

Week 37: Sunday May 13
Montpellier v Lille: DRAW
PSG v Rennes: PSG WIN
Lille still need the points to keep themselves in the top three, and play out an entertaining draw with Rene Girard's team. Down in Paris, the pressure is on PSG to deliver, and despite putting in a distinctly average performance they grind out an unspectacular victory thanks to a moment of brilliance from Menez/Pastore/Nene/Hoarau/Gamiero/Bodmer (delete as applicable).
PSG: 78
Montpellier: 75

Week 38: Sunday May 20
Auxerre v Montpellier: Montpellier WIN
Lorient v PSG: PSG WIN
Montpellier go into the final weekend knowing they need to better PSG's result to win the title. They keep their end of the bargain by thumping already-relegated Auxerre, but can only watch on as PSG dish out the same treatment to Lorient, condemning Christian Gorcuff's side to the drop. Champions!
PSG: 81
Montpellier: 78

So yeah, by reckoning it's going to the last day of the season. Sit tight, it's going to be a bumpy ride.


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