Angers v Guingamp – Stade Raymond Kopa at 19:00
A chastening 3-1 defeat at Bordeaux last Sunday saw Guingamp slide to their sixth successive Ligue 1 loss at the start of the 2018/19 season, and leave the Brittany boys four points adrift of their divisional rivals.
With four of the five previous clubs to make a pointless return after six games suffering relegation, EAG knew they must find their best form sooner than later.
Antoine Kombouare’s men have been the poster boys for French football underdogs. Despite heralding from a tiny Breton town, with little history or pedigree, the top-flight upstarts have won the Coupe de France twice and made the knockout stages of the Europa League in the last decade.
Guingamp are well accustomed to punching above their weight, fighting adversity and operating off a miniscule budget. And Las Costarmoricains knew something had to change ahead of a trip to newly-promoted Nimes on Wednesday night.
Kombouare surprised many with a 5-4-1 system and it helped EAG to their first point of the campaign in a dour goalless draw. The Breton club may look to pack the midfield once more on Saturday night, although Marcus Thuram could be replaced by Nolan Roux as the lone striker after struggling in midweek.
Poor transfer window
Guingamp are still playing catch-up after a poor transfer window. The visitors lost lynchpin Clement Grenier, leading scorer Jimmy Briand and premier creator Yannis Salibur without making the necessary reinforcements. It’s left Kombouare fielding an inexperienced side from a squad that lacks top-class talent or balance.
The Brittany outfit had conceded 17 goals – their worst tally after six games in the top-flight and the worst tally for a Ligue 1 team at this stage since 2005/06. Las Costarmoricains had leaked at least twice in all their opening six outings and have historically struggled on the road.
Tuesday night’s tussle was an improvement but there’s still a long way to go for a club that’s returned just W6-D10-L26 on their travels under Kombouare, keeping only six clean sheets. Indeed, in 27 (66%) of those encounters, EAG shipped twice or more so they’re easily opposed here.
Angers value to win
Angers find themselves in the top-half of the Ligue 1 table following a reasonably positive start to the season (W3-D1-L3). The hosts picked up their 10 points from each of their past four fixtures and Stephane Moulin’s men have impressed despite the major summer departure of key striker Karl Toko Ekambi.
The home side have a couple of injury concerns and could only managed five triumphs from 19 here last term, although Angers have tended to have the upper hand in meetings with Guingamp – winning the past four and keeping clean sheets in six of the last eight encounters here.
With 2.15 available on a home success, I’m happy to support improving Angers against a Guingamp side with little confidence on the road.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Angers -0.50 at 1.150
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.
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