EA Guingamp v Angers SCO – Ligue 1 Preview + Predictions
On Saturday evening, two teams meet who are both looking to arrest a slide, although in different areas of the table. Guingamp are 16th on 31 points and looking nervously below them at the relegation battle; Angers are 9th on 37 but on a terrible run of form having lost the last four in a row.
Guingamp’s last two matches have been pretty chaotic, losing 2-4 to Bordeaux and 3-4 at Lorient; in the ‘positives’ column, they score a fair amount, and also spread the goals around – Yannis Salibur has six, Sloan Privat and Jimmy Briand have five, and another seven players have chipped in. However their defence can be rickety and they have a habit of losing focus late on, with 58% of the goals conceded after the hour mark (against 40% overall for the league), and twice as many in second-half injury time as the norm.
Meanwhile, Angers’ early-season defensive solidity has dropped off badly – shipping five to PSG in game 22 was not the only problem: despite beating Monaco 3-0 in their next match, their goals per game conceded has continued to worsen and they are now averaging one in, one out. Selling Ludovic Butelle to FC Bruges in January is a big factor, as he was a rock in the first half of the season, keeping 11 clean sheets in his 19 matches and only conceding 11. Alexandre Letellier took over after his departure, but Denis Petric, in from Troyes, has started the last two matches, and even excluding the PSG game, they are conceding a goal a game more than when Butelle was between the sticks (1.6 v 0.6).
There was a spirited fightback from 3-0 down at half-time at home to Montpellier last weekend but it wasn’t enough (it’s captioned “a match to forget” on the club website). Cheikh N’Doye is their top-scorer on seven but nobody else has more than three, so with no improvement in their scoring to allay the defensive problems, and Bordeaux and Marseille looking to pull themselves together, it seems likely that their movement down the table will continue. With Lille and Lorient also having a decent chance of catching them this weekend, Angers could well be in the bottom half for the first time all season if they don’t take at least a point.
Guingamp will be eyeing this as a potential three points, despite their relative positions, on the basis that they should be able to outscore their opponents. The overall feeling is less that both teams will score than both will concede.