Strasbourg v Lille – Stade de la Meinau at 14:00 Live at BT Sport
We might only be one week into the brand new Ligue 1 season but sleeping giants Lille already look like a Marcelo Bielsa side, based on their opening weekend 3-0 victory Nantes.
LOSC pressed their visitors relentlessly throughout. The high-energy style should have brought the northern club rewards even before a three-goal second-half flurry in an absorbing contest from the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
Bielsa, back in the French game two years after resigning as Marseille boss, named five new signings in his starting XI and they were all over Nantes from the off, Anwar El-Ghazi showing up well and Brazilian midfielder Thiago Mendes outstanding on his debut.
Lille’s big spending
Following the takeover of Lotus F1 team owner Gerard Lopez last year, Les Nordistes have undergone the biggest spending spree in their history, forking out £55 million with the club heavily investing in youth, ambition and energy as they bid for a Champions League qualifying position.
With only six clubs scoring fewer goals than Lille last term, we should expect a vast improvement from Les Dogues and the early signs were promising. You see, Bielsa only deals in entertainment and excitement – his stint with Marseille saw matches average more than three goals per game.
So we should expect another thriller on Sunday afternoon when LOSC travel to newly-promoted Strasbourg. With Over 2.5 Goals chalked up at 2.25, backing a goal-heavy game at the Stade de la Meinau holds plenty of appeals.
Strasbourg aiming for survival
Strasbourg fell into the liquidation after a rotten few years in the amateur leagues but have enjoyed a rapid rise since. Back-to-back titles have brought Le Racing back into Ligue 1 for the first time since 2007/08 and Thierry Laurey’s keen to keep his troops here.
A 4-0 thrashing at Lyon wasn’t the ideal start to Strasbourg’s season but having claimed only five triumphs on their travels last term, it wasn’t a huge surprise. Expect the hosts to prove a much tougher test when welcoming clubs to their Alsace-region base.
During their Ligue 2 run-in, Laurey’s men bagged 11 victories from 12 on home soil and Le Racing earned themselves a reputation for their entertaining football. Indeed, not only did Strasbourg finish as the division’s top scorers, they also posted the worst defensive record in the top eight.
Fixtures involving Le Racing were rarely dull and in their 21 games from December onwards, Strasbourg’s matches averaged a huge 3.40 goals per-game with 9/21 (43%) even featuring four goals or more.
There’s obviously no guarantee the goals will continue to flow in Ligue 1 but there’s certainly enough reason to believe Sunday’s showdown should provide plenty of entertainment for punters willing to support Over 2.5 Goals at a nice price.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2.5 Goals at 2.010
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