MX23RW : Wednesday, January 26 22:20:54| >> :120:16542:16542:
Jan 14, 2022 at 8pm UK at Stade Municipal du Ray
NiceNice
2-1
NantesNantes
Dolberg (21' pen.), Thuram (56')
Dante (44'), Amavi (64')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Girotto (45')
Sylla (15')

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

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

One of the current title contenders in Ligue 1, Nice, have a chance to remain unbeaten in 2022 when they host Nantes in their first home game of the year at Allianz Riviera.

Despite being a man short for most of their previous match versus Brest, Les Aiglons maintained their second-place standing with a 3-0 win, while Les Canaris kept Monaco at bay, with a 0-0 draw.


Match preview

Nice head coach Christophe Galtier pictured in August 2021© Reuters

It may not have been the way Christophe Galtier had drawn it up, but a win is a win, and despite being dominated for long stretches of their weekend affair, they were able to claim their fourth consecutive victory in all competitions.

Overcoming adversity is essential to becoming a quality side who can contend for the domestic title, and this squad have been able to do that throughout the 2021-22 campaign, failing to score in three straight league games before going on their current run, while also coming back from a goal down to beat Lens in their last fixture of 2021, by a 2-1 margin.

Despite being reduced to 10 men after 20 minutes of play last Sunday, Nice still came away with the victory, becoming the first team in the French top flight since Lille to win after being short-handed for such a long spell, with Les Dogues overcoming the sending off of Jose Fonte in the 16th minute to beat Nimes back in 2018.

With 36 points from 20 games, many results have gone their way so far this season, and they have their goalkeeper to thank for a lot of those points, with the team conceding 22 targeted efforts over their previous three Ligue 1 affairs.

Not only have they allowed their share of scoring opportunities to their opponents, but they have been missing that quality needed in the final third on home soil, going goalless in three straight matches played at Allianz Riviera before their victory against Les Sang et Or.

While they have only conceded 17 goals in the league thus far, the second-fewest, this is still an aggressive team who come at you in waves and can catch you in transition, having scored several memorable strikes to this point of the campaign.

Nantes coach Antoine Kombouare on January 9, 2022© Reuters

Sunday was another solid defensive outing for Antoine Kombouare and La Maison Jaune, who held the third-highest scoring team in Ligue 1 from a season ago (Monaco) to only a single shot on target.

Their 58-year-old manager, who collected over 150 caps for Nantes as a player, has done a good job of turning this side into a more responsible team this season, who have had plenty of numbers behind the ball to cut off the time and space of the opposition.

They may be a sharp and stout defensive unit, but this side have had trouble putting together enough scoring opportunities as their creativity has been lacking recently.

With this team now beyond the midway point of the campaign, they are in a much better position than in 2020-21, as they are currently in ninth, trailing fourth-place Rennes by two points.

Nantes have shown a lot of poise and patience away from home, unbeaten in their previous four road matches played in all competitions, collecting a clean sheet in their last three.

Les Canaris have collected at least a point in each of their previous four Ligue 1 games, the longest such unbeaten run for this club in the top flight since winning four in a row in between April and May of last year.

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

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

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

Nantes form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D



Team News

Amine Gouiri pictured for Nice in August 2021© Reuters

Nice will be without midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, as the former Manchester United man was given his marching orders in the early stages of their match with Brest last weekend, while Mario Lemina and Youcef Atal are representing Gabon and Algeria respectively at the Africa Cup of Nations and Robson Bambu has not yet fully healed from his ankle injury.

Goals from Kasper Dolberg, Andy Delort and Amine Gouiri gave Les Aiglons the victory this past weekend, but none of that would have been possible if not for the heroics of Walter Benitez, as the Argentine made 10 saves to collect his first clean sheet since the start of December.

Dutch striker Justin Kluivert has been much more involved in the scoring for this team, with a goal and an assist in his last two league games, notching three assists so far in this campaign, putting him in second on the team behind Gouiri.

Four players are missing for Nantes due to the Africa Cup of Nations tournament, including Jean-Charles Castelletto, Charles Traore, Kalifa Coulibaly and Moses Simon, who are with Cameroon, Mali (Traore and Coulibaly) and Nigeria, respectively, while midfielder Wylan Cyprien is still nursing an ankle issue.

Goalkeeper Alban Lafont got plenty of help from the Nantes back five of Fabio, Dennis Appiah, Andrei Girotto, Nicolas Pallois and Quentin Merlin, as the Burkina Faso back stopper only had to make one save this past weekend for his second successive shutout.

Randal Kolo Muani is one of the most sought-after prospects in Ligue 1, with the Nantes striker tied for the team lead in goals with seven, the same amount as Ludovic Blas.

Nice possible starting lineup:
Benitez; Daniliuc, Dante, Todibo, Lotomba; Kluivert, Rosario, Thuram, Delort; Gouiri, Dolberg

Nantes possible starting lineup:
Lafont; Fabio, Corchia, Girotto, Pallois, Merlin; Bukari, Moutoussamy, Chirivella; Blas, Kolo Muani


SM words green background

We say: Nice 1-0 Nantes

Nice are finding ways to win the matches they need to, and this is another big one, and although they will not have the veteran presence of Schneiderlin, they have a keeper in fine form, who just stole three points away from Brest and should have an easier time against a Nantes side who do not have as much depth in attack.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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How you voted: Nice vs Nantes

Nice
74.8%
Draw
13.3%
Nantes
11.9%
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Paris Saint-GermainPSG22165146182853
2Nice22134536181842
3Marseille21117330161440
4StrasbourgStrasbourg22105744291535
5Rennes22104841212034
6Montpellier HSCMontpellier2210483730734
7MonacoMonaco229673526933
8Lens229673631533
9NantesNantes229583027332
10Lille228863030032
11Lyon218852927231
12Angers227872829-129
13Brest227782833-528
14Reims225982227-524
15Clermont2256112239-1721
16Troyes2255122031-1120
17Bordeaux2248103453-1920
18Metz2247112443-1919
19Lorient2238111838-2017
20Saint-EtienneSt Etienne2236131943-2415

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