MARK O’HAIRE’S (@MarkOHaire) best continental bet arrives from Ligue 1 on Saturday night.
Toulouse v Bordeaux | Saturday 19.00
Toulouse are looking down and out in their battle for Ligue 1 survival but the club officials have refused to down tools and went out of their way to appoint Pascal Dupraz as their new boss in the hope of inspiring a great escape.
Unfortunately for Les Pitchouns, Dupraz suffered a heart scare prior to his first game in charge against Marseille last Sunday, spending several days in hospital as a result. The suggestion is, he’ll be able to lead his men from the touchline this weekend and the noises are positive about him limited impact thus far.
A former striker, Dupraz is an attack-minded coach and will want his team to play on the offensive; after all, TFC don’t really have any option but to go for it in their battle against relegation.
On Saturday night, Dupraz has a full squad to pick from and will have been encouraged when viewing the tape of last Sunday’s creditable draw at Marseille. With Martin Braithwaite named the new club captain and a Derby de la Garonne ahead, it’s now or never for the hosts.
Star striker Wissam Ben Yedder – he’s netted seven of Les Pitchouns’ past eight goals and is their second-ever top goal-getter in Ligue 1 – might be leaving in the summer but he’ll be as keen as any to put on a show here.
Toulouse have accrued their second lowest points tally at this stage of a top-flight season since 1994 and are winless in nine (W0-D3-L6). As hosts, TFC have managed just a solitary success in 13 (W1-D7-L5) so it would be wrong to plump for a home win.
However, I’m keen to get goals onside, especially the 19/20 from 888 on Both Teams To Score as Bordeaux arrive.
Les Girondins are in their own rut with Willy Sagnol’s side managing just W1-D2-L3 in their last five. The travellers have managed just W2-D8-L8 on their travels and failed to keep their sheets clean in 12 away from their south-western base.
Les Marine et Blanc are out of the major European race following a 1-1 draw Gazalec last weekend as a late equaliser cost the club maximum points. Centre-half Pablo returned from an injury layoff in that encounter and appeared distinctly off the pace.
It’s certainly not an ideal scenario for a Bordeaux side that prefers to play on the front foot. And with Sagnol’s squad already missing Mathieu Debuchy, Grégory Sertic, Robin Maulun, Cédric Carrasso, Nicolas Maurice-Belay, Jaroslav Plasil and Nicolas Pallois this weekend, it’s difficult to see the guests shutting Toulouse out.
As hosts this season, Toulouse have only failed to net twice and that’s led to 11/14 (79%) of their Ligue 1 matches on home soil featuring winning BTTS bets. Include last season’s results that figure stands at 24/33 (73%).
Bordeaux have only fired four blanks on the road this term and with a haphazard backline, it’s no surprise to see Les Girondins involved in 9/14 (64%) of Both Teams To Score duels when playing away. Go back to the beginning of 2014/15 and that stat extends to 19/33 (58%).
So whether we take 2015/16’s trends or indeed the longer-term form, these two boast strong Both Teams To Score stats. In fact, going on the above records, odds of 4/6 would be a much more accurate price for Saturday night’s encounter.
I shan’t complain, mind. Instead, I’ll gobble up the 19/20 on offer at 888 as my European NAP.
Toulouse v Bordeaux – Both Teams To Score (19/20 888)
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