Clermont vs Angers
Angers’ flying start set to continue
Clermont’s side will change little after last weekend’s 1-1 opener at Niort. Centre-half Damien Perrinelle and back-up striker Romain Armand remain sidelined.
Angers looks set to name an unchanged side after an excellent 1-0 win over Sedan. Centre-half Malik Couturier remains doubtful and energetic midfielder Rayan Frikeche is on international duty with Morocco.
Injured/unavailable: Damien Perrinelle (knee), Romain Armand (thigh)
Doubtful: Malik Couturier (hernia)
Injured/unavailable: Stevie Riga (knee), Rayan Frikeche (international duty)
Angers fan message boards were buzzing after their 1-0 win over Sedan last weekend. Summer signings Richard Socrier and Alharbi El Jadeyaoui combined for the latter to score the winner, Fabien Boyer was commanding on his debut at centre-half and Claudiu Keseru, the club’s talented Romanian front man, showed he’s finding his range by striking the post twice from outside the area.
It’s all in stark contrast to 12 months ago, when Angers were banned from buying any players because of financial irregularities. With the new faces settling so quickly and coach Stephane Moulin a calming presence on the touchline and in front of the cameras, Angers look set to enjoy a decent campaign.
I can also see them claiming a win at Stade Gabriel-Montpied on Friday night as Clermont are a shadow of the side that finished fifth last season. Star man Romain Alessandrini departed for Ligue 1 Rennes over the summer and his loss was keenly felt as they were outplayed but drew 1-1 at Niort last weekend. Clermont will need to play a lot better than that if they’re to get anything here.
With Angers’ front men looking sharp, I back the visitors to win.
HEAD TO HEAD
Clermont’s home record v Angers is W3-D3-L2.
Papinade (James Eastham) has written about French football for nearly two decades. He had written for the French-language version of Champions (the official UEFA magazine of the Champions League) and appeared in L'Equipe and on France 2 television. He was also a French football columnist for France24 (the world's biggest French-language news channel). He has interviewed some of French football’s names, including Samir Nasri, Didier Deschamps and Laurent Blanc. He lives in Lille, northern France and attends Ligue 1 and 2 games on a weekly basis.