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Can OGC Nice beat Olympique Lyonnais to stay top of the French Ligue 1 this week?

OGC Nice striker Mario Balotelli has five goals in three games and will lead the line against Olympique Lyonnais this week.

OGC Nice striker Mario Balotelli has five goals in three games and will lead the line against Olympique Lyonnais this week.

OGC Nice welcome Olympique Lyonnais to the Allianz Riviera in Friday’s French Ligue 1 clash, and could well pick up a valuable three points in the title race given the contrasting form between the two sides of late.

Nice have picked up where they left off last season, improving upon an outstanding campaign that saw them exceed all expectations to finish in the top-four, and now many are tipping them to beat a giant in Lyon to retain their place at the summit.

Nice capitalising on PSG’s sombre start to the season

Ligue 1 defending champions Paris Saint-Germain have struggled for consistency early into Unai Emery’s tenure, and Nice have wasted little time taking advantage. PSG have suffered two defeats from eight games already but Lucien Favre’s side remain unbeaten with 20 points from a possible 24. Finishing fourth in Ligue 1 last season, Nice have managed to continue their fine run of form since March, picking up 13 wins and three draws from their last 18 games, and are currently a point clear at the summit as a result.

Boasting a tight defensive record with four clean sheets from eight games, Nice’s outstanding start in the league could well continue after the Lyon fixture given they face the likes of Metz, Nantes, Caen, Saint-Etienne, Bastia, Guingamp and Toulouse before the trip to the Parc des Princes to play Paris Saint-Germain in December. And they’ll go into this week’s meeting with Lyon with real confidence with formidable home form under their belt compared to Lyon’s travel-sickness.

Contrasting form could yield a home win

OGC Nice have picked up 13 points from a possible 15 at the Allianz Riviera this season, scoring more goals than any other side (11). AS Monaco and Olympique de Marseilles are two teams who have fallen to the Nice sword in recent weeks, and Lyon’s poor away record could see them coming unstuck.

The visitors are not only four places and seven points worse off than Nice in the table, but Lyon have also gone three games without victory on the road, losing twice. They have been shutout in their last two away outings, and have seen their long dominance over Nice ended in the last 18 months which could suggest a shift in power between the two sides.

After picking up just two wins against Lyon since 2002, Nice have since won two and drawn one of their last three. The hosts will also have striker Mario Balotelli – five goals in three games – leading the line this week which will boost their chances. Lyon are former perennial champions of Ligue 1, and have regularly finished in the top-three in recent seasons, but with OGC Nice 13/8 to win against Olympique Lyonnais on Friday night, can Les Aiglons deliver?

Wed 12 Oct, 2016
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