Amiens SC vs OGC Nice – 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.
Amiens have now recorded back-to-back promotions and six of the side involved in their victories 2015/16 campaign were involved last weekend when Christophe Pelissier’s charges went down to their third successive loss ‘to nil’ in Ligue 1.
Defeats on the road to PSG and St Etienne are understandable for the newcomers but the clear relegation favorites failed to fire when welcoming Angers to their Hauts-de-France base a fortnight ago and I’m backing the hosts to struggle again on Saturday evening.
Top goalscorer Aboubakar Kamara grabbed 11 goals last term but his summer move to Fulham has left Les Licornes short of attacking options. Goalkeeper Regis Gurtner has been called into plenty of action with Amiens returning negative 2.20 – 7.30 Expected Goals figures from their first three games.
With Guessouma Fofana missing this weekend – Amiens failed to win in five fixtures without the influential box-to-box midfielder last season – I’m happy to oppose the hosts and support Nice off a scratch 0 Asian Handicap start at 1.72.
Back Nice to bounce back
Nice might have been convincingly knocked out of the Champions League by Napoli in midweek but I fully expect Les Aiglons to bounce back.
Head coach Lucien Favre wasn’t impressed with Mario Balotelli’s efforts so with Alassane Plea and Vincent Koziello available again, plus the addition of Wesley Sneijder, there should be enough offensive punch to bloody the nose of the newcomers.
Of course, Jean Michael Seri may still join Barcelona in the coming days but I’d still be happy to support the guests in his absence. Les Aiglons haven’t collected the points their performances have merited thus far and their record against newly-promoted clubs – eight wins in 10 encounters – commands respect.
Last season Nice record W6-D3-L1 when traveling to bottom-half finishers so with the draw onside, I’m happy to side with Favre’s charges here.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: OGC Nice DNB at 1.670
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