Nice v Caen – Allianz Riviera at 19:00 GMT+1
Patrick Vieira’s first stint in management has been a relative success in 2018/19 as the former World Cup winner has guided Nice to a comfortable top-half position in Ligue 1. Les Aiglons head into the weekend on the back of a four-match unbeaten streak (W2-D2-L0), keeping three clean sheets in the process.
The French Riviera outfit have been built from the back under Vieira’s stewardship, recording 14/32 (44%) shutouts. Nice have been particularly efficient at their Allianz Riviera home with Saturday night’s hosts silencing their visitors in 8/15 (53%) encounters here.
That well-organised approach should pay dividends when lowly Caen make the long journey south. Nice have a respectable record when welcoming Ligue 1 rivals to the Cote d’Azur, pocketing W7-D3-L0 here since mid-October, conceding only two goals in that sample. In fact, Vieira’s troops have W8-D3-L2 here since September, leaking just seven goals almost 20 hours of action.
Considering Les Aiglons’ strong defensive foundations and solid claims, I’m happy to support the hosts at 1.81 off a -0.50 Asian Handicap hurdle here on Saturday night as they prepare to face one of Ligue 1’s weakest attacks.
Caen easily opposed
The Normandy club are in the midst of a major fight for survival, propping up the division following a run of W1-D2-L10 since the winter break. SMC have fired blanks in eight of those 13 fixtures, managing only five goals across 19-and-a-half hours of league football.
Caen scored just 27 goals in 2017/18 – comfortably the lowest in the league – and top scorer Ivan Santini moved on for pastures new in the summer. Nobody else scored more than five goals in the group and incoming forwards Enzo Crivelli and Casimir Ninga could never be described as prolific, nor consistent.
So it’s unsurprising to see SMC toiling in the final-third. No team averages fewer shots from inside the penalty area, generates a worse Expected Goals (xG) figure or creates a lower xG from open play return. Caen have lost half of their away games in 2018/19 and produced the league’s worst xG ratio in games as guests.
Head coach Fabien Mercadal is under serious pressure to arrest the concerning slide but Saturday will probably prove a task beyond the Normandy side. The visitors have W0-D2-L7 at clubs in 11th and above, conceding at least twice in eight encounters and failing to score themselves in five of those fixtures.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Nice -0.50 at 1.810
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.
Can OGC Nice continue their effective football at home against relegation-bound Caen? Make use of this Nice v Caen Asian Handicap match preview and betting insights with VOdds or through Eastbridge’s Skype betting.