BORDEAUX v NIMES
Ligue 1. Sunday September 16. Kick-off 4pm. Live on BT Sport 3
NORMAL service has resumed after the international break and it's back to the top division in France for a game involving Bordeaux, a team I tipped a couple of weeks back to put up a performance against Rennes away from home, falling to a disappointing 2-0 defeat.
With a lot of squads suitably rested the hope is players will be up for it and give us something worth watching. At the time of that preview Bordeaux were under the caretaker supervision of Eric Bedouet who guided them to the group stages of the Europa League after the sacking of Gus Poyet.
Since then the club have appointed Santos sporting director (and former coach) Ricardo Gomes as “general manager”. Apparently he doesn't have the required badges to be named as coach. Hold on, didn't he play quite a lot for a team called Brazil? Hmmm.
With one win and three defeats in the league, Bordeaux need to build on their European performances. The foundation on which Ricardo formed his last regime was a solid defence and the players will want to impress and secure the win in front of the home fans.
Bordeaux's Francois Kamano and Jimmy Briand up front are a threat but newly-promoted Nimes are a relatively young side who like to attack and are able to get on the scoresheet. Nine goals this season bears that out.
Renaud Ripart is at the head of affairs with Sada Thioub and Gabonese midfielder Dennis Bouanga on the right and left respectively. Bouanga is available after suspension and the likes of lanky Mustapha Diallo adds a bit of experience to the mix for them.
They kept hold of their main man from last season, Moroccan striker Rachid Alioui, although injury caused him to miss the World Cup and the start of the Ligue 1 season.
Nimes lost their last game to PSG 4-2 at home which is no disgrace. I think their gung-ho approach will leave space for Bordeaux to exploit but they will also play their part and could give the home side a few scares especially if they can score first and poop the party.
That said Bordeaux should win this. However, the distraction of an away tie to Slavia Prague ON Thursday could tell and Nimes will approach this match with no fear. It's another game back in the big time for them, their tiny budget not reflecting their spirit. Expect goals in an entertaining clash, with a possible surprise on the cards.