MARK O'HAIRE'S (@MarkOHaire) European NAP heads to France this weekend.
Dijon v Metz | Saturday 13th January 2018, 19:00
Four points from their final two fixtures ensured Dijon survived Ligue 1 relegation by the narrowest of margins in their first season back in France’s top-flight last term. The Mustards finished a point above 18th having accumulated the fewest number of wins (eight) throughout the campaign.
Despite their near miss, the Burgundy outfit won plenty of plaudits for their cavalier approach. Olivier Dall'Oglio's attack-minded side plundered 46 goals, the second best tally from clubs outside of the top-six.
Dijon’s entertaining approach
Dall'Oglio's approach has meant Dijon have long been associated with high-scoring encounters in a league unrenowned for shoot-outs. A huge 15 of their 19 outings this term have featured more than two goals and since they returned to the top-tier, 60% of their matches have paid out for Over 2.5 Goals backers.
Indeed, the Mustards’ matches are averaging 3.21 goals per-game whilst only four clubs boast a higher Expected Goals average per-game than Dijon’s 3.61. Drill deeper and the Burgundy boys’ fixtures are producing a 2.38 average Expected Goals per-game when only viewing open play figures.
If we focus purely on their Stade Gaston Gerard games, Dall'Oglio's charges have seen 3.10 goals per-game on average with Dijon only firing a solitary blank on home soil this season. The hosts’ brave performances have also led to a string of impressive results when taking on Ligue 1’s lesser lights.
The Mustards have churned out five successive victories here and if we exclude the top-eight, Dijon have W10-D5-L2 since promotion. Julio Tavares, Wesley Said, Kwon Chang-Hoon, Naim Sliti and Benjamin Jeannot have all played their part in forward areas, stepping up following the departure of star Lois Diony last summer.
Although those eye-catching numbers suggest Dijon should be good enough to seal maximum points against rock-bottom Metz, backing Over 2.5 Goals holds more appeal at 24/25 with Marathon.
Metz battling back
Under the astute stewardship of Frederic Hantz, the struggling guests have shown signs of life. First, the Maroons stunned the league’s best defensive side Montpellier 3-1 in their own backyard before an impressive 3-0 triumph over Strasbourg before the winter break brought them to within eight points of survival.
The rejuvenated visitors kicked-off 2018 with a Coupe de France triumph last weekend at lower-league Dunkerque and Hantz appears to be encouraging his troops to play on the front foot, well aware that wins are of utmost importance in Metz’s battle against relegation.
The Maroons feature prominently towards the top of average Expected Goals per-game figures and have seen four of their five Ligue 1 fixtures under Hantz produce three goals or more, making another goal-filled game likely at the Stade Gaston Gerard on Saturday night.
Dijon v Metz – Over 2.5 Goals (24/25 Marathon)