MX23RW : Saturday, July 31 12:04:39| >> :600:5524234:5524234:
May 8, 2021 at 12pm UK at La Beaujoire-Louis Fonteneau
Coulibaly (19'), Louza (51' pen.), Kolo (70')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Mexer (31'), Benito (50'), Lacoux (57'), de Preville (74'), Basic (90+1')

Preview: Nantes vs. Bordeaux - prediction, team news, lineups

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

A relegation six-pointer at the foot of the Ligue 1 table takes place on Saturday lunchtime as Nantes welcome Bordeaux to the Stade de la Beaujoire.

Both teams picked up a crucial three points in the relegation dogfight last time out, as Les Canaris thrashed Brest 4-1 while Bordeaux claimed a much-needed win over Rennes.

Match preview

Antoine Kombouare, now in charge of Nantes, pictured in 2019© Reuters

It quickly became evident which team had virtually nothing to play for when Brest welcomed Nantes to the Stade Francis Le-Ble, as Antoine Kombouare's side followed up their win over Strasbourg with a 4-1 thumping of the mid-table Pirates.

Moses Simon, Ludovic Blas, Imran Louza and Kalifa Coulibaly - ending a goal drought stretching all the way back to November 2019 - all made the net ripple before Romain Faivre's late consolation, but there is still work to be done if Nantes are to pull themselves to safety.

As things stand, Les Canaris occupy the relegation playoff spot in 18th - two points clear of Nimes but four adrift of 17th-placed Lorient - so no matter what happens when Les Merlus take on Lyon a few hours later, Nantes cannot rise out of the bottom three just yet.

However, after finally claiming back-to-back wins for the first time this season, Nantes have the wind in their sails before the visit of fellow strugglers Bordeaux, and Kombouare's side can also look forward to a meeting with already-relegated Dijon in gameweek 37.

Both of Nantes' recent wins have come on the road, though, and they have gone 14 games without a win at the Stade de la Beaujoire and 17 without a clean sheet home or away - both of which represent the longest of such unwanted records in the club's history.

Bordeaux manager Jean-Louis Gasset pictured in November 2020© Reuters

An eighth-minute red card to Steven Nzonzi set the tone for Bordeaux's game with Rennes early on, and Les Girondins only needed three minutes to make their extra-man advantage count, as young Sekou Mara was the quickest to react as he lashed home on the 11-minute mark.

There were no more goals to be had at the Matmut Atlantique as Bordeaux ended a torrid five-game losing run to halt Rennes' momentum under Bruno Genesio, and victory over Les Rouge et Noir was the perfect tonic for Jean-Louis Gasset after his side were placed into administration.

Off-the-pitch concerns aside, Bordeaux's win over Rennes saw them leapfrog Strasbourg into 15th place in the table, and with only three games left to play in the 2020-21 season, Bordeaux have opened up a five-point gap between themselves and the bottom three.

2021 has proved to be an annus horribilis for Gasset and co so far, but one more win should all but guarantee their Ligue 1 status for another season, although they travel to Nantes having lost six of their last seven away from home - the outlier in that run being a 3-1 success at whipping boys Dijon.

Bordeaux and Nantes played out a goalless stalemate in the opening game of the 2020-21 season, but Les Canaris have only claimed one win from their last 12 in Ligue 1 against Gasset's men - losing eight times in that dismal run.

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

Bordeaux Ligue 1 form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W

Team News

Nantes players in a team huddle before the clash with Monaco on September 13, 2020© Reuters

Nantes defender Jean-Charles Castelletto lasted just 11 minutes of the win over Bordeaux before being taken off with a back problem, but the 26-year-old is serving a suspension this weekend anyway.

In Castelletto's absence, Andrei Girotto should fill the void in the heart of Kombouare's defence, while Charles Traore (thigh) is the only other injury concern for the hosts to work around.

After such a dominant showing against Brest, Nantes are expected to field an almost identical lineup on Saturday, with Randal Kolo Muani playing a little deeper in support of Coulibaly.

Bordeaux are also expected to keep changes to a minimum after snapping their losing run, but Jean Michael Seri returns from a ban to boost Gasset's options in the engine room.

Laurent Koscielny and Otavio continue to recuperate from Achilles injuries and are facing a race against time to be fit before the end of the season, while Nicolas De Preville is doubtful after missing out against Rennes.

Mara should continue to partner Hwang Ui-jo up top after his decisive strike in gameweek 35, while the young Tom Lacoux was trusted in midfield against Rennes and could find himself in the first XI again.

Nantes possible starting lineup:
Lafont; Corchia, Girotto, Pallois, Appiah; Chirivella, Louza; Blas, Kolo Muani, Simon; Coulibaly

Bordeaux possible starting lineup:
Costil; Kwateng, Mexer, Benito, Sabaly; Oudin, Lacoux, Adli, Kalu; Hwang, Mara

SM words green background

We say: Nantes 2-1 Bordeaux

Bordeaux's game with Rennes could have panned out a whole lot differently had Nzonzi not been sent for an early bath, but Gasset will give no thought to that as he aims to ensure Les Girondins' survival.

Nantes will remain in the bottom three whatever happens this weekend, but there is no better time for Kombouare to end his side's wretched home fortunes after back-to-back away wins, so we expect the hosts to take the spoils in this relegation scrap.

Top tip

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Saturday's key events

· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

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