Angers v Nimes
Nimes make their long awaited return to the French top-tier on Saturday night as the Crocodiles travel to Angers for their first Ligue 1 fixture since 1993.
The Occitanie club were a breath of fresh air in Ligue 2 last season as Bernard Blaquart’s enthusiastic, attack-minded style to the division by storm. Nimes racked up 75 league goals with Turkish forward Umut Bozok helping himself to 24 in his first season of professional football at the age of 21.
Bozok remains at the Stade des Costieres and will spearhead the Crocodiles challenge. Blaquart’s already confirmed he’ll not be altering his preferred approach so expect entertainment whenever Nimes are on show – the newcomers scored four or more goals on nine occasions in the second tier.
The underdogs lost just once since February as they secured second spot and automatic promotion and with only six promoted sides in the last five seasons suffering immediate relegation, hopes are high around the club as they look to cement their place alongside France’s elite.
With Nimes’ squad largely intact, and stronger in certain areas following a semi-successful transfer window, the Crocodiles should be supported with a +0.25 Asian Handicap start at attractive 1.93 quotes.
Angers will struggle for goals and are overpriced
Angers have consolidated in Ligue 1 under Stephane Moulin’s leadership but Les Scoïstes could be in for an uncomfortable campaign having lost star striker Karl Toko Ekambi to Villarreal. Ekambi hit 24 goals over the past two seasons and contributed to 23 last term alone, 15 more than any of his teammates.
The club have dropped in league position in each top-flight campaign since promotion and only survived in 2017/18 thanks to a late rally of six wins in their final 13 fixtures. The hosts drew 14 matches – the second-highest figure – and without Ekambi’s contribution, those points could easily turn to defeats.
Defensively, Moulin’s men managed just five shutouts and head into the new campaign having failed to secure a success in any of their seven pre-season matches, scoring just three goals. Stephane Bahoken and Jeff Reine-Adelaide provide hope but Angers will be reliant on Moulin’s magic to stave off any relegation fears this season as their squad make-up is average at best.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Nimes 0.25 at 1.910
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.
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