Caen v Toulouse – Stade Michel d’Ornano at 19:00 GMT
Before the 2018/19 Ligue 1 season kicked-off, Caen were expected to toil towards the bottom end of the table. SMC survived by the skin of their teeth last term – by one point following a dreadful spell of seven defeats in 10 winless games to conclude their campaign.
Head coach Patrice Garande departed in the off-season after six years and incoming boss Fabien Mercadal arrived with no previous Ligue 1 experience; he was given the gig having led Paris FC in his previous role. The new boss had plenty of work to do with the squad losing a number of key elements.
Caen scored just 27 goals in 2017/18 – comfortably the lowest in the league – and top scorer Ivan Santini moved on for pastures new. Nobody else scored more than five goals in the group and centre-half star Damien Da Silva also headed to the exit, just two of five key starters to leave the club in the lurch.
The Normandy outfit brought in Enzo Crivelli and Casimir Ninga to spearhead their challenge but neither are prolific, nor consistent performers in the top-flight. With problems mounting at the both ends of the pitch, Caen were forecast to struggle and so it’s no surprise to see the side sitting in 18th.
Saturday night’s hosts pinched a 2-2 draw at Strasbourg last weekend despite firing in just five attempts – three of which were on-target – and Mercadal’s men continue to toil in attack. SMC are generating just 0.36 Expected Goals from open play per-game and averaging only 4.24 shots from inside the penalty area.
Caen have managed only two triumphs this term and failed to even score in two home ties against the clubs currently below them in the standings – Monaco and Guingamp. It makes the Normandy club easily opposable when they welcome Toulouse to the Stade Michel d’Ornano this weekend.
TFC are renowned poor travellers in France, although Alain Casanova’s charges have only been beaten in three of their eight away days, two of which arrived at PSG and Marseille. Indeed, Les Pitchouns have returned W4-D6-L2 when taking on teams in 7th and below, making them attractive 1.76 shots with a +0.25 start.
Les Violets survived an onslaught to seal a 1-0 victory at resilient Reims last time out and were only beaten by a solitary strike when traveling to all-conquering champions PSG three weeks ago, suggesting their well capable of grinding out a positive performance here.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Toulouse +0.25 at 1.760
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.
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