JACK Wright's (@JackWright_BSB) Bet of the Day returns for Saturday as we head to France.
St Etienne vs Monaco | Saturday 23rd April 2022, 18:00 | BT Sport
With relegation rivals Lorient and Clermont both picking up massive wins in midweek, St Etienne dropped in to the bottom three and are staring down the barrel of Ligue 2 football for the first time since the 2003/2004 season however there is just three points separating the ten-time Ligue 1 champions and Angers some four places higher in fourteenth.
“Les Verts” at least showed they were up for the fight on Wednesday after falling two goals behind inside 23 minutes to Bordeaux, one of only two sides below them in the league, they battled back to claim a share of the spoils.
The Matmut Atlantique goal fest followed a familiar recent pattern, with Arnaud Nordin’s equlaiser being the 23rd goal in total over St Etienne’s last four games – an average of 5.75 – and was the eighth of their last eleven fixtures to cross over 2.5 match goals.
Manager Pascal Dupraz, appointed in December following the dismissal of Claude Puel, with the club bottom of the table having collected just two wins and a total of 12 points from their opening 18 games, is in bullish mood, insisting he is convinced his side “will win the battle for survival”.
The 59-year-old was understandably satisfied with the Bordeaux draw, especially with VAR ruling out a late ‘Les Girondins’ winner – and went on to claim he knows the recipe for beating their high-flying visitors here – although admitting, much to the delight of goal backers (that’s us by the way) that his side have serious defensive shortcomings.
Monaco certainly looks a team in perfect shape to take advantage and exploit that particular area of weakness to fire their way to what would be a sixth successive league win.
Head coach, Philippe Clement has his sights firmly set on the opposite end of the table and his side now sit outside the top three only on goal difference, a stat they will surely be targeting this game to improve, especially having seen second placed Marseille smash four goals past the home defence here at the start of the month, then lowly Lorient hit them for six just five days later.
Aleksandr Golovin’s first-half strike earned the ‘Monégasques’ a massive win over an OGC Nice side that started the day one point ahead of their local rivals – the 1-0 scoreline ended a run of four games which had featured at least three goals but that can be excused giving the huge nature of the latest edition of the Derby de la Côte d'Azur and that the Eaglets have Ligue 1’s meanest defence.
This fixture promises to be a lot more open and the visitors won’t be able to rest easy against a side that is at its happiest when in a forward motion, there are a lot of similarities to the Levante v Sevilla fixture on which we profited a couple of days ago.
One being the recent history of goals when these two sides meet, the reverse fixture ending 3-1 in September with the two games last season producing a 2-2 draw at Stade Louis II and 4-0 win for the away team here – a similar result would not surprise.
We can also not get too concerned if the first half isn’t a goal-fest – no side in the French top flight has conceded more second half goals at home than St Etienne.
St Etienne vs Monaco – Over 2.5 Goals (20/23 Betfair)