Nimes vs Nantes
Kone ready to fire hosts to victory
Nimes have three long-term injuries but no fresh knocks following last week’s opening game. Even though his side lost coach Victor Zvunka is likely to name a similar side.
Nantes coach Michel Der Zakarian has a full squad to pick from and is likely to make changes. France U20 midfielder Jordan Veretout is set to start after being on the bench last weekend, while summer signing Gabriel Cichero could make his debut at centre-half.
Injured/unavailable: Moussa Sidibe (groin), Emmanuel Correze (knee), Habib Balde (leg)
Nimes have 29-year-old Seydou Kone, who was 21-goal top scorer in National (France’s third tier) last season. Unfortunately, in last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at Auxerre all Nimes’ best chances fell to the wrong man. Mouri Ogounbiyi is better-known for setting up than scoring opportunities but found himself in three one-on-one situations against the Auxerre goalkeeper and failed to take any of them.
Nantes missed four or five good chances of their own in the first-half of their 1-1 draw at home to Istres, but managed to go in 1-0 ahead thanks to former PSG winger Fabrice Pancrate’s exquisite backheel. Sadly for the 12,441 fans at Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes stopped playing at half-time and had only themselves to blame for conceding the 90th-minute equaliser that earned Istres a point.
If the chances fall to the right men this weekend then both teams are capable of picking up all three points. I back Nimes to edge it: they’ll have a passionate crowd of more than 10,000 behind them for their first Ligue 2 game at Stade des Costieres for more than a year, and Nantes had Ligue 2’s second-worst away record (12 defeats in 19 matches) last season.
HEAD TO HEAD
Nimes’ home record against Nantes is W10-D10-L6. Three of the last four head-to-heads have ended all-square.
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.