MARK O'HAIRE'S (@MarkOHaire) European NAP returns on Sunday with France's Ligue 1 in focus.
Bordeaux v Nimes | Sunday 16th September 2018, 16:00 | BT Sport
Bordeaux remain in a state of flux with interim head coach Eric Bedouet continuing to take charge of first-team affairs following a failed attempt to bring in Thierry Henry as Les Girondins’ new boss.
A series of discussions took place but the club’s prospective American buyers and investment fund GACP weren’t willing to match Henry’s demands, nor did they agree on the number of signings that should be made before the end of the window, leaving any deal dead in the water.
Claudio Ranieri and Antonio Conte have both since been contacted but no major progress appears on the cards, before Ligue 1 action returns on Sunday at least. Les Marine et Blanc return to the field to welcome newly-promoted Nimes.
The hosts followed up their shock – and impressive – home victory over Monaco with a four 2-0 defeat at Rennes to enter the international break one place off rock-bottom in France’s top-tier.
Bordeaux’s reasonable performance data
Although there are obvious concerns around the club, Les Girondins are still returning reasonable performance data from their opening four fixtures. Bordeaux have tabled a 50% Expected Goals from open play ratio, which ranks in the top half, with only PSG, Dijon and Lille creating more chances per-game.
However, only four sides are conceding a higher xG from open play figure and that means their 1.80 total xG average from open play is a Ligue 1 high at this stage of the season. It’s therefore no surprise to see all of Bordeaux’s league games feature at least two goals at this early stage.
Effervescent Nimes unlikely to roll over
Nimes have returned to Ligue 1 for the first time since 1993 and last season’s great entertainers in the second-tier have followed their familiar theme for open, attacking football in the top-flight.
The Occitanie club were a breath of fresh air in Ligue 2 as Bernard Blaquart’s enthusiastic, offensively-minded style took the division by storm. Nimes racked up 75 league goals during their promotion campaign and boss Blaquart said the Crocodiles wouldn’t be altering their approach in 2018/19.
The newcomers weren’t lying. Their opening four fixtures have averaged 4.50 goals per-game – three of which paid out for Over 3.5 Goals backers, including a 4-2 reverse against all-conquering PSG in their last outing before the international break.
Only four sides have landed more on-target efforts than the visitors and their carefree approach should lead us towards another entertaining encounter with Both Teams To Score standing out at 13/15 (10BET).
Bordeaux v Nimes – Both Teams To Score (13/15 10BET)