Troyes v Caen – Stade de l’Aube at 19:00

Troyes remains entrenched in the battle for survival at the bottom of Ligue 1 after a 2-1 defeat at St Etienne last weekend. The reverse was ESTAC’s seventh in nine winless outings and leaves the newly-promoted outfit third-from-bottom and four points adrift of safety.

However, it could have been oh so different. Jean-Louis Garcia’s group pounced on an error in the St Etienne defense to take an eighth-minute lead. Captain Benjamin Nivet pinched possession and teed up Adama Niane to give Troyes a surprise early advantage.

Unfortunately for ESTAC, their hosts made two attacking changes at half-time and momentum soon turned against the strugglers. Having probed for 20 minutes after the interval, St Etienne soon found a leveler and 16 minutes from time, their pressure paid again as they sealed a victory.

Troyes will be happy to return home. The hosts have relied upon their home performances to keep them afloat (W6-D3-L8), particularly when taking on the division’s lesser lights. ESTAC have W5-D2-L1 when hosting bottom-half sides, a reason for encouragement despite 17 losses in their past 24 Ligue 1 fixtures.

Goals at a premium

However, we shouldn’t expect a goal-heavy game at the Stade de l’Aube. Across those eight encounters with bottom-half dwellers, Troyes has conceded just once and seen six matches produce no more than a solitary strike.

Troyes has carved open the fewest goalscoring opportunities in the French top-tier, whilst only one side has scored fewer goals than ESTAC this term and that’s their opponents this weekend, Caen.

The visitors have found the back of the net just eight times on their travels with their away days notoriously low-scoring. Indeed, 20 of Caen’s past 27 road trips have featured Under 2.5 Goals with 11 also rewarding Under 1.5 Goals backers.

With such strong data and trends in our favor, it makes sense to support the 1.82 available on Under 2.25 Goals here.

Caen’s struggles

Caen boasts a seven-point cushion over Troyes but an alarming recent run (W1-D3-L5) has dragged the guests back into the relegation mire. And considering the visitors have claimed a sole success in 13 away Ligue 1 games – losing nine times – panic could begin to set in should they leave here pointless on Saturday night.

Stade was held to a 1-1 draw by rock-bottom Metz last time out. In an unusually open encounter by Caen’s standards, both sides traded decent attempts in a lively first-half before two goals arrived in as many second-half minutes as time began to run out on the pair.

The Normandy side came close to snatching all three points as they fluffed a one-on-one opportunity and so Patrice Garande’s men are still nervously looking over their shoulders. Defensively sound, expect Caen to try and eke out a result that would damage Troyes’ survival hopes, as much as solidify their own status.

Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Under 2.25 Goals at 1.860

By @MarkOHaire

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