MARK O'HAIRE'S (@MarkOHaire) European NAP returns for 2018/19 for the first time and on Sunday the European football expert heads to Ligue 1.
Nimes v Marseille | Sunday 19th August 2018, 20:00 | BT Sport
Nimes made a sensational return to France’s top-tier last Saturday night as the Crocodiles scored three goals in the final 15 minutes of their match at Angers to clinch a stunning 4-3 success. It was the Occitanie club’s first fixture in Ligue 1 since 1993 and Bernard Blaquart’s men didn’t disappoint.
The newcomers were a breath of fresh air in Ligue 2 last season, earning promotion while playing an enthusiastic, attack-minded style that took the division by storm. Nimes racked up 75 league goals with Turkish forward Umut Bozok helping himself to 24 in his first season of professional football.
The Crocodiles scored four or more goals on nine occasions with league fixtures averaging a high of 2.95. Before starting life in Ligue 1, Blaquart reaffirmed his commitment for playing forward-thinking football with Nimes’ 4-4-2 formation often appearing closer to an all-out 4-2-4 attack when in possession.
The great entertainers were true to their word last weekend and so Sunday night’s showdown against Marseille at the Stade des Costieres promises plenty for neutral supporters. Unsurprisingly, Over 2.5 Goals (4/6 BetBright) and Both Teams To Score (8/13 Ladbrokes) are prohibitively short for punters to support.
However, there is value to be had by backing Marseille to rule the roost in a match featuring Over 1.5 Goals at 21/20 (Ladbrokes). This selection would see us profit should the visitors win by any correct score other than 1-0.
Marseille can conquer in high-scoring contest
L’OM missed out on Champions League qualification by just a single point last season as their 11 draws held Rudi Garcia’s group back. Results against Ligue 1’s leading lights also held Les Phoceens back as they delivered W16-D4-L0 against bottom-half dwellers, including W7-D3-L0 on their travels.
Marseille signalled their intentions for 2018/19 with a 4-0 shellacking of Toulouse last Friday night with Dimitri Payet playing a starring role. With Florian Thauvin in contention for a starting berth, along with Adil Rami, Steve Mandanda and Duje Caleta-Car, the guests have numerous quality options.
Both sides scored in 22 of L’OM’s 38 outings last term and, while the away side are still a touch vulnerable at the back, their outstanding offensive options should ensure they come out on top in this potentially ding-dong battle.
Nimes v Marseille – Marseille to win and Over 1.5 Goals (21/20 Ladbrokes)