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Angers out to leapfrog Les Crocodiles

Publish on 23/01/2019 at 00h00 - S. WILLIS

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Angers have a chance to pinch 12th place from Nîmes as they travel south for their rescheduled Week 20 clash; Les Crocodiles, meanwhile, could break into the top half of the table if their attack can fire.

 Nîmes Olympique - Angers SCO

Angers have been going through a rough start to 2019, winless in the league and ousted from the Coupe de France by regional league outfit Viry-Châtillon, but Les Scoïstes claimed a first win of the calendar year 1-0 over Nantes last weekend and are now looking to pull clear of the drop zone.

In 14th place and just six points clear of 18th-placed Dijon, Stéphane Moulin's side will have to do without injured captain Ismail Traoré (knee), but have attacking midfielder Pierrick Capelle back from illness as they look to make the most of their match in hand - initially set to be played on 13 January but postponed due to security concerns - and leapfrog Nîmes in the process.

Flabbergasting

Especially considering that Nîmes handed Angers a wild 4-3 beating at home on the opening day of the season.

"That's the charm of football, but when it doesn't go your way, it's hard to swallow," said Moulin just after his side had lost a 3-1 lead in the final 13 minutes of the match. "We let them come back and win it when they were a man down; I've never seen anything like it."

Revival required

Fresh from a 1-0 league defeat to Toulouse at the weekend, Les Crocodiles will doubtless be looking to revive that early-season form. Bernard Blaquart's men scored no fewer than 12 goals in the first five matches of a thrilling start to the season, but since then have faded.

They have won just one of their last six in all competitions - 1-0 in a rescheduled Week 17 clash with Nantes - and scored just four goals, slipping from seventh place and crashing out of both cups.

No easy task

However, a win against Angers could put Blaquart's side right back in the top half of the table, just three points shy of the European places, but homegrown striker Clément Depres - who scored on his Ligue 1 Conforama debut just a minute after coming on in the crazy 4-3 win over Angers - knows that Angers will be out for revenge.

"That's for sure. They'll be pretty fired up," said the 24-year-old, who is tipped to make just his fourth league start of the season, alongside fellow youth academy graduate Renaud Ripart. "And if they manage to open the scoring or take the lead, it won't be so easy for us to turn it around this time.Even though it wasn't easy last time! But they will be ready for us."


Probable teams

Nîmes Olympique: Bernardoni; Alakouch, Briançon (c), Landre, Maouassa; Thioub, Ferri, Savanier, Bouanga; Deprès, Ripart

Angers SCO: Butelle; Ab. Bamba, M. Pavlovic, R. Thomas, Manceau; N’Doye, Santamaria, Capelle; Fulgini, Bahoken, Tait