Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Ligue 1 clash between Angers and Clermont, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
The home side are currently bottom of the league table, while Clermont are now in the top half after winning their last match.
Angers really need to start picking up points more regularly if they are going to stand any chance of avoiding relegation this season, as they are now seven points from safety in Ligue 1.
The Black and Whites have only amassed four points at Stade Raymond-Kopa all season, winning just once, in a 2-1 victory against Montpellier HSC all the way back in September.
After eight games, the side now managed by Abdel Bouhazama were on eight points, and that is the same total they remain on now, after losing 10 league matches in a row.
Bouzahama was made permanent manager earlier this month after an initial interim period, and one small cause for optimism is that his side won the first match following the appointment, a penalties victory against Strasbourg in the Coupe de France.
Clermont had started to struggle in Ligue 1 prior to the break for the World Cup, winless in their last five games prior to the season being paused, but they have started to show improved signs since returning.
While they lost against Lille in the first match, the Lancers have now won their last two games, which is particularly impressive considering they have faced tough opponents in Lyon and Rennes.
Pascal Gastien‘s side tend to fare well away from home, having only lost one of their last six games on their travels, and of the four games they have lost in total, all of these have been against teams in the top six.
Against Rennes, Clermont left it late but emerged 2-1 winners, after Johan Gastien struck in the 94th minute, a good habit that they have started to develop, beating Lyon courtesy of a late goal from Muhammed Cham.
The Lancers have a good recent record against Angers, only losing one of the last six matchups between the teams, and they will be full of confidence that they can get the job done on Sunday, given their recent form.
Angers Ligue 1 form:
Clermont Ligue 1 form:
To make things even tougher for Angers, they have a whole host of injury issues to contend with, and they will continue to be without some of their key players.
Sofiane Boufal is the Black and Whites’ joint-top Ligue 1 scorer this season, and he returned from injury against PSG last time out, appearing off the bench, so he could come back into the starting lineup, replacing Himad Abdelli.
As for Clermont, Gastien will have to make do without midfielder Maxime Gonalons, who has had recurring injury issues this season, so Yohan Magnin and Johan Gastien are the likely choices in the engine room.
Angers possible starting lineup:
Bernardoni; Bamba, Hountondji, Blazic, Doumbia; Bentaleb, Mendy, Capelle, Hunou, Boufal; Sima
Clermont possible starting lineup:
Diaw; Caufriez, Wieteska, Seidu; Allevinah, Gastien, Magnin, Borges; Khaoui, Rashani, Kyei