Angers v Bordeaux – Stade Raymond Kopa at 19:00 GMT +1
Angers begin their 2019/20 Ligue 1 season at home to Bordeaux on Saturday night with the functional hosts underrated in the pre-match markets. Long-term boss Stephane Moulin begins his ninth campaign in the Les Scoistes dugout with the club from western France again expected to consolidate comfortably.
Angers concluded their last campaign in the bottom-half but performance data pointed to a much more positive year. Moulin’s men pierced the top-10 for ratio returns in Expected Goals (xG), xG from open play, as well as shots from inside the penalty area, and the same process should stand the side in good stead.
Les Scoistes were one of only nine clubs to end last season with a positive Expected Goals (xG) difference, whilst only seven sides suffered fewer overall defeats. Half of the hosts losses came against top four finishes with Angers falling to a total of only five reserves at their Stade Raymond Kopa base.
The departure of Flavien Tait weakens the group but Moulin has moved to bring in Sada Thioub as a direct replacement, plus the services of Thioub’s former Nimes team-mate Rachid Alioui to keep the group functional rather than flashy in key areas. Another comfortable mid-table campaign appears on the cards.
Bordeaux looking over their shoulder?
Bordeaux endured a forgettable 2018/19. Les Girondins collected the third-fewest points in the second half of the season (W4-D4-L11) to end in the lower reaches of mid-table having seen Paulo Sousa parachuted into position in March following the sackings of Gus Poyet and Ricardo Gomes earlier in the campaign.
The 2009 champions struggled in attack throughout the season and often seemed unable to stem the flow in defence. Performance data marked Bordeaux out as the division’s fourth worst and their squad is undoubtedly weaker on paper with young defender Jules Kounde joining Lukas Lerager at the exit.
The visitors tabled a paltry three triumphs on their travels – two of which were recorded against the bottom pair – with 11 of their remaining 17 games as guests ending pointless. Les Girondins scored just six times in that 17-game sample and there’s little evidence to suggest a revival could be coming.
Pre-match odds imply Bordeaux would be favourites if the two teams locked horns at a neutral venue and that’s a concept I just can’t buy. Unfashionable Angers might lack the glamour of their illustrious opponents but Les Scoistes have the ability to make a mockery of 1.70 quotes on a 0 Asian Handicap start.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Angers DNB at 1.700
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.