MX23RW : Monday, May 17 04:47:36| >> :120:75345:75345:
Apr 17, 2021 at 11.45am UK at Stade Jean Bouin

Amadou (45+2'), Traore (65')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Doku (45+1'), Terrier (63'), Guirassy (90+1')

Preview: Angers vs. Rennes - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Ligue 1 clash between Angers and Rennes, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

An Angers side with virtually nothing but pride to play for welcome a Rennes outfit still fighting for the fifth and final European spot in Ligue 1 on Saturday morning.

Les Scoistes were put to the sword 3-0 by Lyon in their most recent fixture, while Rennes boosted their bid for a top-five finish with a narrow 1-0 triumph over Nantes.

Match preview

Angers manager Stephane Moulin pictured in January 2021© Reuters

Angers are all but guaranteed to finish the season in mid-table obscurity, and their performance against Lyon reflected one of a side who have accepted their fate as Stephane Moulin's men were crushed 3-0 by the title contenders.

Memphis Depay netted two goals either side of a Lucas Paqueta finish at the Groupama Stadium, and while that result has done little to affect Angers' place in the standings, a hint of concern may be creeping in for Moulin given his side's recent woes.

Indeed, Angers have now failed to win any of their last four matches in Ligue 1, and they have only managed to prevail in one of their 10 league matches since the start of February - a 1-0 win at Metz - although the 11th-placed Scoistes remain 11 points clear of danger and 11 adrift of the top five.

Angers' only successes in recent weeks have come in the Coupe de France, and Moulin will certainly have one eye on his side's impending battle with Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-finals of that competition, but ending a miserable home hoodoo must be the first port of call for Saturday's hosts.

Les Scoistes have taken just two points from the last 12 on offer at the Stade Raymond Kopa, and they are yet to keep a clean sheet at home in the league all season, so Bruno Genesio's Rennes will have a glint in their eyes when they take to the field this weekend.

Lyon coach Bruno Genesio gestures during the Champions League clash with Barcelona on February 19, 2019© Reuters

Nantes could not rain on Rennes' parade during a wet Brittany derby at Roazhon Park last Sunday, as Genesio's side kept up their stellar run of form with a 1-0 success over their rivals in gameweek 32.

Martin Terrier's stunning strike on the 52-minute mark was all that separated the two adversaries on the day, and Genesio has now witnessed his Rennes side claim 10 points from the last 12 on offer during their bid for another spell on the continental stage.

Les Rouge et Noir's two dismal periods of form over the autumn and early spring hampered their aspirations of European football under Julien Stephan, but Genesio has since lifted Rennes up to seventh in the table - four points adrift of fifth-placed Lens - but all the sides around them are also starting to pick up points when it matters most.

Rennes still have to face PSG and Monaco before the campaign concludes, as well as friendlier fixtures with Bordeaux, Nimes and Dijon, but they travel to the Stade Raymond Kopa boasting just one win from their last six away from home, and they are without a clean sheet in five on the road during that run.

Angers marched to a surprise 2-1 triumph on Rennes' turf earlier in the season, and Les Scoistes also knocked their opponents out of the Coupe de France by the same scoreline in February, but they have failed to win any of their last four league games against Les Rouge et Noir on home soil.

Angers Ligue 1 form:
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L

Angers form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L

Rennes Ligue 1 form:
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Team News

Rennes' Clement Grenier celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on January 9, 2021© Reuters

Moulin's five-at-the-back system did not pay dividends against Lyon, so the hosting manager could revert to a more familiar 4-2-3-1 here, with Mateo Pavlovic the unlucky one to drop out of the defence.

Pierrick Capelle shook off an injury concern to feature last weekend, but Vincent Manceau failed to do so and he occupies a spot in the treatment room alongside Lassana Coulibaly, Sofiane Boufal, Jimmy Cabot and COVID-positive pair Farid El Melali and Mathias Pereira Lage.

Five-goal playmaker Angelo Fulgini reportedly had to leave training early on Wednesday due to thigh pain, so Antonin Bobichon could fill in if his teammate's examinations reveal a serious injury.

Genesio has confirmed that Jonas Martin has taken to the field for the last time this season as he prepares to undergo surgery on an ankle issue, while fellow midfielder James Lea Siliki is now COVID-negative but not quite ready to return to action.

The visiting manager could be in a predicament at left-back with Faitout Maouassa and Adrien Truffert both nursing adductor injuries and doubtful, so the out-of-favour Dalbert could feature if neither of his teammates make the cut.

Jeremy Doku returns from a two-game suspension for Les Rouge et Noir and could challenge Flavien Tait for a spot on the right, despite the 28-year-old's assist for Terrier's winner against Nantes.

Angers possible starting lineup:
Bernardoni; Bamba, Traore, Thomas, Doumbia; Amadou, Mangani; Thioub, Bobichon, Capelle; Bahoken

Rennes possible starting lineup:
Gomis; Traore, Aguerd, Da Silva, Dalbert; Doku, Nzonzi, Camavinga, Bourigeaud; Terrier, Guirassy

SM words green background

We say: Angers 0-2 Rennes

Angers have enjoyed some unforeseen success against Rennes both in the league and cup this season, but Genesio is firmly steering Les Rouge et Noir in the right direction, and his side have plenty more to play for than their hosts do. Moulin will not want to see his side finish the season with a whimper despite their mid-table standing, but we still expect Rennes to prevail as they push for fifth spot.

Top tip

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Lyon coach Rudi Garcia pictured on February 19, 2021
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