Coupe de France 16emes : Tours v FC Metz
After Bourg-en-Bresse Perronas hosted Toulouse yesterday in the battle of the second-from-bottom teams, Tours welcome Metz tonight in what could contrivedly be called the cutadriftatthebottomico.
Tours are holding up the rest of Ligue 2 after a terrible season to date, which sees them 12 points from safety, with only 9 points to their name. Their defence, although the second-worst in Ligue 2, has not been horrific. It is at the other end of the pitch that the problems lie, Jorge Costa’s men having mustered only 12 league goals all season. How they could do with someone like ex-striker Olivier Giroud back in their ranks (while the return of Laurent Koscielny wouldn’t do any harm either).
In fact, Tours’ 2018 form hasn’t been too bad, relatively speaking, with two wins, a draw and a defeat. The defeat was a commendable 1-0 reverse at leaders Reims, while the wins were this past weekend – 2-1 at home to Niort – and in the last round of the Coupe de France, a 2-1 win at fourth-tier Chartres, American striker Maki Tall scoring both goals (thus tripling his tally for the season) in a match that saw three red cards.
A potential banana skin avoided, then, and Tours will relish the chance to be the banana skin this time around, with little pressure on them despite home advantage, and the chance to try to get a bit of a run going.
Standing in their way are a Metz side that have had almost as bad a start to the season but may also be showing signs of recovery. Before a slightly unfortunate 3-1 defeat at Monaco last weekend, Metz were unbeaten in five matches, winning four of them – including three league wins with 10 goals scored, 3 more than they’d scored in their 17 preceding matches!
Frederic Hantz has more than steadied the ship, and while the odds are still stacked against them, les Grenats have an outside chance of staying up.
Perhaps with that in mind, Hantz has announced a youthful squad, with many first-teamers rested. However, it may give the likes of talents Thill, Niane (who scored two in the 4-2 win at Dunkerque in the last round) and the brilliantly named Dylan Lempereur a chance to shine.
This is a great chance for Tours to claim a scalp, but also an opportunity for Metz to maintain a little positive momentum. Expect a nervy match that could easily go either way and could be decided by an error.