Brest v Toulouse – Stade Francis-Le Blé at 19:00 GMT +1
Brest are back in the big time for the first time since 2013 after securing promotion as Ligue 2 runners-up. La Team Pirate begin their campaign with a winnable home contest against perennial strugglers Toulouse at the compact Francis-Le Ble Stadium on Saturday night in Brittany.
Stade are fair favourites for the drop, especially so after seeing their head coach Jean-Marc Furlan resign from his role at the end of last term. The former boss led Brest to second with the division’s most clinical attacking output and incoming gaffer Olivier Dall’Oglio has promised to follow the same principles this term.
Dall’Oglio is an offensively-minded coach and will be keen to see his side to get forward at every opportunity. Last season’s newcomers Nimes enjoyed great success with their attacking efforts and La Team Pirate certainly have the potential with 27-goal forward Gaetan Charbonnier spearheading the side.
Brest are yet to make any major moves in the transfer market, focussing on small although key additions to keep the squad competitive. Ligue 1 quality might be thin on the ground but the newly-promoted team will fancy their chances of making a splash on the opening weekend in front of their loyal home supporters.
Toulouse could struggle again
Toulouse have finished no higher than 15th in four of their last five seasons in the French top-flight and last term were only four points clear of the Ligue 1 relegation play-off place. Les Violets produced a series of uninspiring displays and were firmly ranked in bottom-six across the major data metrics.
Alain Casanova continues in charge of Les Pitchouns and there has to be doubts over Toulouse’s potential to rise up the league standings. Transfer business has been unremarkable and the club’s first aim is again likely to be to steer clear of the bottom-three coming in 2019/20.
Keeping hold of livewire Max Gradel – Toulouse’s leading goalscorer last term – has been key and Casanova will be looking to coax out a few more match-winning performances from the playmaker. However, the support cast is far from fearless and so another season of struggle for Les Violets looms.
Goals on the agenda
Only three teams recorded fewer clean sheets last time out than Toulouse and the visitors’ rickety backline is sure to come under pressure from a buoyant Brest side on Saturday night. Despite their defensive issues, the guests were proficient in the final-third and that suggests goals be on the agenda here.
Brest notched in all bar two home outings en-route to promotion, whilst both sides scored in a league-high 55% of fixtures. With that in mind, I’m happy to attack the 1.95 available on Over 2.25 Goals when Toulouse pitch up at the Francis-Le Ble Stadium on Saturday evening.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.25 goals at 1.950
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.