Prediction: Strasbourg to Win
OGC Nice will be aiming to build on their positive start to the Ligue 1 season as they travel to take on Strasbourg on Saturday evening.
Patrick Vieira’s troops kicked their season off in the best possible way last time out and will be looking to continue that against a Strasbourg side who didn’t quite enjoy the same fortune.
The hosts may have considered themselves slightly unfortunate following to the curtailment of Ligue 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the time of the cancellation, Thierry Laurey’s men sat tenth but just three points behind fifth-placed Nice. It remains to be seen whether they would be able to challenge for Europe but extra matches would not have gone amiss. As it happened though, they finished mid-table, securing yet another season of Ligue 1 football which in itself is a great achievement considering that before their promotion in 2017, the team had not enjoyed back-to-back top-flight campaigns since the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons. Their current campaign has not got off to the best start however as they fell to a poor defeat to newly-promoted Lorient. Mehdi Chahiri’s first-half strike had seemingly put them in control but second-half goals from Yoanne Wissa, Adrian Grbic and Pierre-Yves Hamel condemned them to defeat. Home soil really could come in handy as they aim to get back on track though having won seven out of their last ten league matches at the Meinau Stadium.
The aforementioned Chahiri will be hoping to continue his form having found the net on his debut for Strasbourg following his winter move from French minnows Red Star. He is sure to start in midfield once again. Idriss Saadi also made his comeback for the club after returning from Cercle Brugge as he was introduced from the bench. Luckily, Laurey does not have any injuries to contend with.
Whilst Strasbourg were on the wrong side of a comeback as Ligue 1 roared back into life, Vieira’s troops staged one of their own last time out. Taking on Lens, Les Aiglons fell behind early on to Gael Kakuta’s penalty but two goals either side of the interval from Amine Gouiri secured victory. That all now means that the team have lost just one out of their last 12 matches in Ligue 1. The victory also marks back-to-back league wins for the first time in over a year – a surprising statistic certainly for a club who enter the UEFA Europa League this season. A contributing factor to that damning form has been their record on the road. The team have only managed to win one of their last 11 matches away from home, having only won three away Ligue 1 matches before the cancellation of Ligue 1 last term. Vieira and his men will certainly hope to rectify that record and get another victory this weekend.
Gouiri is surely set to be included from the start once again following his match-winning showing last time out. The Frenchman already looks worth the £7m transfer fee that was enough to bring him in from Lyon. Fellow summer signing Robson Bambu may not take any part having been withdrawn in the first-half against Lens. Meanwhile, Stanley N’Soki, Danilo and Myziane Maolida all recently tested positive for coronavirus so will be absent.
Key Facts To Consider
- Strasbourg have not lost at home to Nice since the 2007/08 campaign
- Les coureurs won the last clash 1-0 in October 2019
- Thierry Laurey has never lost at home to Nice throughout his managerial or playing career
- Nice only managed to win three away Ligue 1 matches throughout the duration of the 2019/20 season
- The away side has not scored a goal in this fixture for three matches
Despite their victory last weekend, the omens are not particularly promising for Nice as they travel to Alsace. Their away form is horrendous and Strasbourg are extremely strong on home soil. It’s going to be tough for Nice to earn anything then and continue their great start. Laurey’s men could well produce a shock as they aim to react to their opening loss.
Prediction: Strasbourg to Win