Coupe de France Quarter-Final : Angers SCO v GD Bordeaux
While the other quarter-finals involve combinations of minnows and the top two, this rerun of last year’s round of 32 match which Bordeaux won 2-1 should be one of the closer encounters of the round. The league fixtures have been pretty tight, Angers winning 1-0 in Bordeaux in game 5, and getting a 1-1 draw at home, while in the middle of a run of bad form about the winter break that saw them go down as far as 19th, before a fightback in February helped them recover back up to 12th.
Bordeaux meanwhile are in sixth, swinging between being cheerfully goalscoring and occasionally getting over-run, but showing signs of more solidity recently, even in defeat. Having reached the semi-final of the Coupe de la Ligue, which they lost 4-1 to PSG, they will be looking to reach the same stage in this – and are probably feeling fairly confident.
Diego Rolan is their top-scorer in the league with 8, and he’s no antique, but after him in a dynamic 4-3-3 come a clump of young attackers aged 20-22 who are making hay in a number of competitions. Gaetan Laborde is arguably first amongst them with 5 in the league, 4 in the Coupe de la Ligue (joint top with Cavani), and 3 – so far – in this competition, including both goals against Lorient in the last round, and the crucial injury-time winner against Dijon before that; Francois Kamano, Malcom and Valentin Vada have also been a highly enjoyable watch this season.
Putting youth aside, there is also history here. Bordeaux are four-time winners, most recently in 2013. And Bordeaux’s coach Jocelyn Gourvennec has been here before, of course – in charge of Guingamp, the last team to win (and make the Europa league fun) before PSG’s back-to-back titles. Angers’ best result was to reach the final in 1957, which they lost *6-3* to Toulouse; having beaten Bordeaux in the semi-final.
If this ends 6-3 it will be because it went to penalties – Angers just aren’t that goally. Famara Diedhiou is their top-scorer with 8 (and also the winner against National side CA Bastia in the last round) supported by Karl Toko Ekambi with 5 (including the winner at Bordeaux in the league), and young Nicolas Pepe, starting to build on his promise. They also play a 4-3-3 but Stephane Moulin has a tendency to field a 5-3-2 when facing bigger opponents (eg against PSG, OL, ASSE … and Caen), and whoever ends up at left-back or thereabouts will have their work cut out for them.
With Angers looking forward to welcoming Monaco in the next league game (Bordeaux host Metz), Moulin might decide this is a better place to deploy his strongest team. If so, they could be able to frustrate Bordeaux’s puppyish enthusiasm, as in the league games. This could explain the odds making Angers the slight favourites, which seems at odds with the two sets of attacking options available, but overall it’s very much a too-close-to-call situation, in which penalties would not be surprising.
Angers : Letellier, Petric – Manceau, Martinez, Pavlovic, Thomas, Traoré – Capelle, Dore, Ndoye, Mangani, Santamaria, Tait – Bamba, Bérigaud, Diedhiou, Pépé, Sunu
Bordeaux : Carrasso, Prior – Contento, Gajic, Jovanovic, Lewczuk, Pallois – Arambarri, Plasil, Sanhkare, Toulalan, Vada – Kamano, Laborde, Malcom, Menez, Ounas, Rolan