Amiens v Angers – Stade de la Licorne at 19:00
Amiens finished second in a hotly contested Ligue 2 last season to seal their place in France’s top-flight for the first time in the club’s 116-year history.
A six-game winning streak to conclude their campaign – including a 96th-minute goal on the final day – edged Les Licornes (The Unicorns) into the automatic promotion places on goal difference, sparking huge scenes of jubilation in the northern city.
And Amiens couldn’t have asked for a tougher introduction to life to Ligue 1 than a trip to the capital to face PSG on the opening weekend of action. Although Christophe Pelissier’s charges battled hard to compete with their affluent hosts, the newcomers never threatened and went down 2-0 at the Parc des Princes.
Top goalscorer Aboubakar Kamara grabbed 11 goals last term but his summer move to Fulham has left Les Licornes short of attacking options and it showed in Paris with Pelissier’s posse having to wait until the 65th minute for their first effort on-target.
The 2-0 scoreline flattered Amiens with goalkeeper Regis Gurtner constantly called into action and I’m not sure the hosts from the Hauts-de-France will be good enough to successfully compete in the top-flight without adding to their forward line in the coming weeks.
Angers on the up?
Angers spent a few weeks in Ligue 1’s relegation zone back in February with African Cup of Nations call-ups and injuries having a debilitating effect on the side’s progress. Nevertheless, a run of five triumphs in six led the group into mid-table with boss Stephane Moulin then committing to another year in the hot-seat.
Moulin is entering his seventh campaign in charge and has earmarked a top-half finish as Angers aim this term. Les Scoïstes are known to be supremely organized and defensively sound under the 50-year-old’s watch but recently they’ve added an attacking dimension to their game.
Key players Nicolas Pepe, Famara Diedhiou and Cheikh Ndoye have all left Angers in the summer but Enzo Crivelli, Baptiste Guillaume, Lassana Coulibaly and Angelo Fulgini have been brought in to bolster the attack and midfield. Moulin’s spent his cash wisely as he searches for the right balance.
Guillaume and Fulgini both bagged goals in Les Scoïstes’ opener last weekend – a well-deserved 2-2 draw at home to Bordeaux in which they restricted their opposition to just seven attempts at goal. A repeat here should put the visitors in a strong position to claim maximum points.
The betting angle
Over the past two seasons, Angers have taken maximum points in nine (47%) of their 19 trips to bottom-half clubs, scoring on 14 occasions. I fully expect the guests to get on the scoresheet again here and with that in mind, backing Angers with a +0 start on the Asian Handicap line appeals at 1.88.
With this selection we’ll see our stake returned if the game ends all-square, only losing our cash should Amiens pick up an unlikely three points.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Angers DNB at 1.910
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