Buffeted by postponements and struggling to find the net - and results - both Angers and Bordeaux will be out to get the second half of the season under way nearest as they play their postponed Week 17 clash on Tuesday night.
Tuesday, 15 January 2019
Angers SCO - Girondins de Bordeaux
Initially scheduled for Saturday, 8 December, Angers' clash at home to Bordeaux was the first of three matches postponed due to 'Gilets Jaunes' protests in the Loire valley city, something coach Stéphane Moulin has struggled with in a poor start to 2019.
"It's hard to imagine how unsettling it is," said the Angers boss, whose side were eliminated 1-0 from the Coupe de France by amateur side Viry-Châtillon before drawing 0-0 in Amiens in their rescheduled Week 18 clash. "We're just trying to get through it. But we're not going to cry over spilt milk. We have turned the page."
Which is just as well, considering that the Scoïstes, who sit 14th with two matches in hand, have not claimed a Ligue 1 Conforama victory since Week 13. And while they also haven't lost in that time - five draws on the bounce, a club record since 1967 - they have scored just three goals and will doubtless be looking to club top scorer Stéphane Bahoken to add to his tally of five strikes in order to get back to winning ways.
Meanwhile the situation in front of goal is similar for Bordeaux. Although François Kamano has stood out with eight Ligue 1 Conforama strikes so far this season, the Guinea international (23 caps) is reportedly out of sorts over a potential winter departure and has not been included in the squad for the trip to Angers.
"François is a very sensitive lad, and we have to be careful with him," explained Girondins boss Eric Bédouet, who could lose his top striker - potentially to a Monaco side hungry for quality - in the winter transfer window. "He's a charming fellow with a ,ot of qualities but he is very vulnerable to everything that is said about him."
Thus Bédouet will be hoping that his other forwards - Samuel Kalu, Andreas Cornelius and Yann Karamoh, all on two goals for the season so far, and all tipped to start in Angers - can step up after a mixed start to 2019, while the experienced Jimmy Briand, who has four goals this season, will likely start on the bench.
The Girondins were eliminated from the Coupe de France 1-0 at the hands of Domino's Ligue 2 side Le Havre but then clinched qualification for the Coupe de la Ligue BKT semis - by the same scoreline and against the same team - before losing 1-0 to Nice in Week 20 and stretching their recent record to just one win in their last nine Ligue 1 Conforama outings.
Angers SCO: Butelle; Ab. Bamba, Pavlovic, Thomas, Capelle; C. Ndoye (c), Santamaria, Mangani; Reine-Adélaïde, Bahoken, Tait
Girondins de Bordeaux: Costil (c); Sabaly, Koundé, Jovanovic, Poundjé; Lerager, Otavio, Basic; Karamoh, Cornelius, Kalu