Nice v Reims – Allianz Riviera – Nice Stadium at 16:00 GMT Live at BT Sport
Nice boss Patrick Vieira is under pressure after overseeing a recent run of four losses in five Ligue 1 outings (W0-D1-L4) has seen Les Aiglons slide into the bottom-six. Missing injured striker Kasper Dolberg and ill midfielder Adrien Tameze, it didn’t take long for Strasbourg to exploit their fragility last week.
With both Wylan Cyprien and fit-again Christophe Herelle already banned, options were stretched in the Nice camp. Having fallen behind midway through the first-half, Vieira’s side were dealt another major blow in Alsace as Racine Coly was dismissed for a second bookable offence before the hour mark.
Les Aiglons never threatened to get back into the contest and with the club recently undergoing a major takeover, Vieira’s position is now under extra scrutiny at the French Riviera outfit. The former World Cup winner knows a rotten result at home to Reims this weekend could accelerate such concerns.
Reims aiming high
In-form Reims, who have lost just three times this season while also claiming the scalps of Marseille, PSG and Lille, had a chance to go second as they played host to Nimes, but their 0-0 draw saw Les Rouges et Blancs simply consolidate their position inside Ligue 1’s early Champions League qualifying positions.
Demanding Stade coach David Guion said, “We were defensively poor in the first half. However, we had a few chances to take the lead before the break. We totally dominated our opponents in the second half. We had clear chances to score but Nimes defended very well. They had a few set pieces but not much else”.
And that’s a microcosm of Reims under Guion’s leadership. The six-time champions are normally defensively astute but often lack a little X-Factor in the final-third. The Champagne club occupy a top-four berth in terms of Expected Goals (xG) and xG from open play with only PSG giving away fewer chances.
Visitors can avoid defeat
Nice supremo Patrick Vieira has been displeased with his team’s recent displays, openly criticising his players’ lack of commitment and rhythm. Les Aiglons have been beaten in six of their past nine Ligue 1 matches (W2-D1-L6), failed to keep a clean sheet all seen and been majorly unimpressive on the underlying data.
The hosts are operating below 31% in terms of xG from open play ratio, conceding the second-most shots from inside the penalty box in 2019/20 and are easily opposed when coming up against one of the most organised outfits in the French top-flight. Therefore, Reims +0.25 at 1.73 has to be the best bet here.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendations: Reims +0.25 at 1.730
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.