JACK Wright's (@JackWright_BSB) Bet of the Day returns for Sunday as we head to France.
Nantes vs Bordeaux | Sunday 24th April 2022, 14:00
Saturday’s Bet of the Day trip to France was so successful I thought I would stay overnight to take in another Ligue 1 clash to end the feature this week and *spoiler alert* we are hunting goals again.
So, it was music to my ears when I heard Antoine Kombouaré lament ““Too many defensive faults” in explaining his side’s 3-2 loss to Marseille in midweek, having twice taken the lead, twice gifting the home side the opportunity to equalise from the spot (which they took) before Amine Harit swept home the winner 15 from time.
As a result of that defeat at Stade Vélodrome, Nantes chances of European qualification are slim at best, nine points adrift of Strasbourg in fifth with only five games remaining, but regardless of that there should be plenty of motivation here for a side that were battling relegation 12 months ago.
In two weeks-time the Canaries will be contesting the Coupe de France final against Nice, so there will be players looking to ensure they are in the starting eleven for that showpiece occasion and Kombouare will be keen to take some momentum to Stade de France by improving a current run of form which has seen them win just one of their last six games.
What’s more this is the Atlantic Derby and provides the home side an opportunity to deliver a possibly fatal blow to their rivals' survival hopes with a defeat sending them a step closer to Ligue 2.
As mentioned yesterday, ‘Les Girondins’ flew in to a 2-0 lead inside the opening half an hour in their relegation six-pointer against St Etienne, only to be pegged back with two goals either side of the interval before suffering the agony of substitute Jimmy Briand having an 89th minute “winner” ruled out for offside by VAR.
David Guion is the man tasked with performing the great escape having previously guided Stade Reims to promotion and then two subsequent top-half finishes, replacing Vladimir Petković after the former Switzerland national team manager won just five of his 25 games in charge.
There certainly wasn’t any evidence of new manager bounce with no win in the 54-year-olds first six games in charge and following four games without scoring a goal there seemed to be a change to his cautious approach, with a much more attacking philosophy providing instant dividends by way of a 3-1 defeat of Metz.
Having released the handbrake in what seems an “if we are going down, let's go with all guns blazing” approach, there has been mixed fortunes, a 6-1 drubbing at Lyon followed that solitary success before the 2-2 draw in midweek – in total the last three games have produced 15 goals.
Nantes have the sixth best home points per game average in the league and only one side has a better win percentage as a home favourite this term, so this is clearly a tough match up for the visitors who have conceded more goals on the road than any other side in the French top flight – an incredible 47 in 16 matches, a shade under three per away day.
As was the case yesterday when a lesser side is forced to attack superior opposition due to the necessity for points, it should lead to goals, something which will also be helped by the likely recall of both sides' top scorers.
Hwang Ui-jo, who has 11 goals in 27 league appearances, is available again for the visitors after missing the St Etienne clash due to a ban while 12-goal Randal Kolo Muani was an unused substitute in Marseille but it would be a surprise if he wasn’t on the pitch from the first whistle here.
With Nantes having scored at least twice in 12 of their last 17 games at Stade de la Beaujoire and 17 of Bordeaux’s last 20 away matches have seen over 2.5 goals, I really like the prospect of that line being crossed again here – especially at odds of 10/11.
Recent evidence would suggest a front-foot approach from Les Girondins but with their horrific defensive record you would think they will need to score at least twice to claim a vital three points, while this fixture last season ended 3-0 to the home side whose fans will hope for similar in order to gloat at their local rivals ahead of their big day out in the capital.
Nantes vs Bordeaux – Over 2.5 Goals (10/11 Bet365)