The festive period has always been a busy one for English football, and this year is no different. The upcoming week will see the Premier League play on Boxing Day, then again over the weekend, and then once again on New Year’s Day – three rounds of fixtures condensed into one action-packed week. This is, of course, a long-standing tradition – Christmas and the New Year just do not feel the same without football. Of course, jam-packed weeks like this one bring the opportunity to ‘earn’ some extra Christmas cheer, if you will, by using the mobile version of bet365.
Across the Channel in France, Ligue 1 has taken a break for Christmas and New Year, and the league table bears a familiar look. PSG are, as expected, leading the table, with a seven-point lead over second-placed Marseille and a game in hand. Rennes have been the surprise package of this season, sitting in third and thus a Champions League qualifying spot, while Lille are in the Europa League spot behind them. One of the giants of French football, Olympique Lyon, are down in 12th place, having changed their manager and appointed Rudi Garcia to try and arrest their slide down the table. At the bottom, Toulouse and Nimes look doomed already, five points adrift of Amiens in the relegation play-off spot, who are themselves level on points with Metz. All in all, while the destination of the league title may once again be a foregone conclusion, the race for European spots, as well as the battle to stay in the top division, will be interesting to watch as the league resumes in January. Thomas Tuchel finally looks like he has a stable, settled side in Paris, with Neymar rehabilitated following his near-departure in the summer, and Mauro Icardi proving to be a superb loan signing to cover for Edinson Cavani’s injury problems. This could help him in Europe as well, where many observers are stating that this could finally be the year for PSG to achieve their long-awaited dream of winning the Champions League.
Fans of French football can take their pick from a number of interesting bets over the festive period. With the league title more or less decided, value can be found in trying to see which teams finish in the Champions League spots. Rennes are good value at 3.00, while Monaco and Lille are at 3.30 and 3.75; both sides are capable of mounting a sustained challenge once the league resumes. The top goalscorer stakes are dominated by PSG players, with Kylian Mbappe leading the way at 2.25, making him a fantastic value pick. Icardi (5.00) and Neymar (6.00) are the other PSG options, with Wissam Ben Yedder (6.50) of Monaco in the mix as well. Overall, backing a PSG player to finish as top-scorer, while making an informed pick for the Champions League spots, seems like a good strategy for punters wanting value from Ligue 1.