Best odds: 12/5
The 2020/21 season kicks off in Ligue 1 this week with Bordeaux taking on Nantes on Friday, and one of the more interesting remaining games of the opening round is the one between Nimes and Brest. Some reports suggested the fixture might be postponed due to four positive cases of Covid-19 at Nimes, but as it stands, it’s still set to go ahead on Sunday at the Stade des Costieres, as planned.
Nimes barely escaped relegation from the top tier in 2019/20, finishing the season in 18th place with 27 points, just four more than Amiens in 19th, who have gone down with the campaign cut short due to the ongoing pandemic. Therefore, they’ll be eager to kick things off in a good way to avoid similar problems this time around.
However, their pre-season preparations, at least when the summer friendly games are concerned, weren’t a particularly good omen. They were beaten by 1-0 by Strasbourg in late July, as well as 2-0 by Ligue 2 side Grenoble Foot 38, and they only managed a 1-1 draw against Rodiz, who finished 16th in the French second tier.
Goalkeeper Baptiste Reynet arrived from Toulouse this summer, and the 29-year-old is expected to slot straight into the starting line-up. The same goes for fellow newcomers, midfielders Andres Cubas and Yassine Benrahou, and defender Birger Meling.
Coach Jerome Arpinon could also give a start to Romain Philippoteaux, though the midfielder began their last competitive match on the bench.
Brest earned promotion last summer by finishing second in Ligue 2 in 2018/19, and they will have done themselves proud by ending up in 14th place in 2019/20, 11 points above the relegated Amiens in 19th.
However, Olivier Dall’Oglio’s team have won only one of their last nine away games in Ligue 1, and that in itself doesn’t bode well ahead of the trip to Nimes. What’s more, they’ve been defeated in the last four competitive games against this particular opponent.
In pre-season, Brest beat Stade Briochin and Guingamp, both 1-0, drew 2-2 against Lorient, and lost 2-1 to Rennes.
Wingers Heriberto Tavares and Franck Honorat joined the club this summer and are both likely to start the first game of the season, as well as defender Christopher Herelle.
Gaetan Charbonnier will probably be leading the line upfront, supported from directly behind by Irvin Cardona. In the heart of defence, newcomer Herelle will probably be partnered by Jean-Kevin Duverne, with Ibrahima Diallo set to take his place in the middle of the park once more.
This is likely to be a very tough match, with both sides having a lot to prove and wanting to start the campaign the right way. A fierce battle seems set to unfold between the first and the final whistle from referee Jeremie Pignard.
It feels that Brest could finally manage to break the poor streak against Nimes this time and walk away with at least a point for their effort.
Best odds: 12/5