St Etienne v Bordeaux – Stade Geoffroy-Guichard at 16:00 GMT +1 live at BT Sport
St Etienne reaffirmed their role as favourites for fourth in Ligue 1 last weekend as attacking lynchpins Wahbi Khazri and Remy Cabella combined to help Les Verts to a last-gasp equaliser at Amiens. The 2-2 draw, coupled with an unexpected Marseille defeat, ensures Jean-Louis Gasset’s group are in pole position for Europa League group-stage qualification in 2019/20.
Arch-rivals Lyon also suffered a shock defeat, at home to relegation-haunted Dijon, earlier in the day, presenting Sainte with an opportunity to move to within four points of their third-placed neighbours. But despite making an early breakthrough from Timothee Kolodziejczak, the guests failed to impress.
That was despite Les Verts facing 10 men for almost an hour following an Amiens red card. Robert Beric hit the woodwork and the hosts cleared off the line as St Etienne piled on the pressure, before eventually making the breakthrough in stoppage-time, although the 10-time French title winners will need to improve their performances on the road in future.
Sainte have secured only four victories away – three occurring at the bottom three in the division – from their fortress Stade Geoffroy-Guichard base, a record that’s held Gasset’s charges back this season. However, Les Verts are back on familiar territory on Sunday afternoon when Bordeaux arrive.
Sainte appeal as hosts
St Etienne have secured W10-D2-L3 in their Loire home in Ligue 1. Exclude the three teams above Les Verts in the standings and that record enhances to W10-D2-L0, suggesting there’s plenty of value in supporting a home success this weekend with odds of 1.80 available on the hosts overcoming a -0.50 handicap.
Indeed, ignore all of Sainte’s fixtures with the top three teams in France – PSG, Lille and Lyon – and Les Verts have bagged W14-D8-L3. There’s a fair argument to be had for the former French champions to be labelled as ‘flat track bullies’ under Gasset’s watch and it’s a formula I’m keen to follow against Bordeaux.
Bordeaux’s inconsistent campaign continued as they beat Marseille last time out to move clear of the bottom-six. It was only Les Girondins’ sixth success in Ligue 1 since September and the Gironde outfit remain languishing in the bottom half.
The club have already dismissed Gus Poyet and general manager Ricardo Gomes in search of improvement in 2018/19 with Portuguese head coach Paulo Sousa now in situ. He’ll be hoping to guide Bordeaux to only a third triumph on their travels this term here (W2-D5-L8).
A two-point haul from seven trips to the top-half (W0-D2-L5) hardly inspires confidence in Les Girondins’, especially as the away side have fired blanks in 10 of 15 road trips. Bordeaux are marked out as a bottom-six side when viewing performance data and their away day blues look likely to extend this weekend.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: St Etienne -0.50 at 1.800
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.
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