Bastia v Paris Saint-Germain – Stade Armand Cesari at 19.00 live on BT Sport 1
Perennial French champions Paris Saint-Germain begin a new era under Unai Emery’s tutorship on Friday night with the capital club as skinny as 1.05 to capture a fifth successive Ligue 1 crown.
Les Parisians begin their title defence on the island of Corsica and are understandably hot favourites to kick-off their league campaign with a comfortable victory having destroyed Lyon 4-1 in the Trophee des Champions last weekend despite Thiago Silva and Edinson Cavani’s absences.
The treble winners broke a league record with their 96-point haul last term (W30-D6-L2) and looked to be heading towards an unbeaten Ligue 1 campaign until falling to a defeat in their 28th outing. A huge 19 of PSG’s wins came alongside a clean sheet with 17 triumphs by two or more goals.
Interestingly, had we backed the champions in all 38 matches, we’d have made a 10% profit despite the unbackably short Match Odds often attributed to the defending champions. And on the road, Laurent Blanc’s team claimed top honours in all but four fixtures, returning a 24% profit had we backed the visitors in all 19 away trips.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has moved on this summer having scored 113 times in 122 league appearances but there are still plenty of options going forward for PSG in Emery’s new-look 4-2-3-1 formation. Hatem Ben Arfa scored last weekend and is likely to spearhead the attack should Edinson Cavani be unavailable once more.
Elsewhere, midfield destroyer Grzegorz Krychowiak will hope to make his debut in Corsica after missing the curtain-raiser with Lyon and the visitors should be well prepared for the battle following a reasonably rigorous pre-season.
PSG have beaten Bastia in 12 of their last 13 encounters, scoring at least twice in each of their last 10 showdowns, keeping clean sheets in six of their most recent seven meetings. Often awkward on the island, Bastia in theory should represent stiff opposition.
The hosts have finished between 10th and 12th in each of their four campaigns since returning to France’s top-flight although the appointment of Francois Ciccolini midway through 2015/16 saved the side from a possible fight against relegation.
Bastia managed just 36 goals last term – the third lowest tally in Ligue 1 – and have since seen top goalscorer Floyd Ayite head to Fulham. Under recruitment restrictions until late July, the Corsicans have had very little time to find replacements and bolster that toothless attack.
Thievy Bifouma, Lenny Nangis, Allan Saint-Maximin, Jerson Cabral and Enzo Crivelli have all arrived recently to give Ciccolini options but Bastia are unlikely to offer a substantial threat in the offensive third, relying on hard work and captain Yannick Cahuzac in midfield to disrupt PSG’s rhythm in front of a raucous crowd.
Bastia picked up 11 victories at their atmospheric Stade Armand Cesari base last season but may have to wait to extend that impressive run of results in 2016/17.
With 1.92 on offer for PSG to overcome a -1.25 Asian Handicap, getting the guests onside looks the obvious solution in what’s expected to be a one-sided encounter.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: PSG -1.25 at 1.92
Prices correct at time of writing.
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