After a slow start to the season, Nice head to Clermont on Sunday and look a good bet for their first win.
Who do Bettors Favor?
Checking out the best online sportsbooks we can see that Nice are widely regarded as the favorites here. The visitors can be backed at +110, while Clermont are available at between 255 and 260. And if you want to back the draw, you can do so at anywhere between +244 and +260.
|Clermont v Nice|
Clermont’s Entertaining Start
Last season Clermont enjoyed an impressive start to their first ever Ligue 1 season, which ultimately was enough to help them remain in the top flight.
Yet Clermont fans had to watch some poor performances in the second half of the campaign as the team slipped down the table and ended up 17th and it looks as though they could be in for another rollercoaster after an entertaining start in which they have scored four and conceded seven in two games.
Starting their season against PSG was a tough assignment and not surprisingly they were well beaten 5-0 as the reigning champions seemingly scored at will. They conceded another two without reply in their second outing of the season against Reims, but then offered a reminder of the goalscoring potential in their squad by scoring four times in the second half, to win 4-2. Maintaining that level of goal threat while drastically improving on defense is Pascal Gastien’s challenge this season.
Nice In Need of a Win
Nice were tipped for a good season by several pundits, and the signing of Kaspar Schmeichel and Aaron Ramsey certainly caught the eye, and there is plenty of youthful flair in the squad.
Unfortunately, they haven’t yet been able to translate that potential into success on the pitch and they head to Clermont-Ferrand desperately in need of a win. Lucien Favre’s side have played three competitive fixtures this season, drawing two and losing one, and have scored just two goals. Consecutive draws in Ligue One were followed by a disappointing 1-0 loss to Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the Europa Conference League playoffs, leaving them with work to do in the second leg.
The good news for Nice fans is that Aaron Ramsey is off the mark, scoring on his league debut, and their defense seems to be holding strong, but they are already four points off the pace in Ligue 1 and if they are to be serious contenders, can’t afford to slip too far behind.
Ligue 1 Team News
Forward Grejohn Kyei is likely to be missing for this game as he is still recovering from a calf injury, while right-back Mehdi Zeffane is also out due to a hamstring problem. Those absences will stretch the resources of a relatively small squad, although the biggest issue is in defense and Gastien is likely to consider more changes as he attempts to establish some defensive consistency.
The team news for the visitors is more encouraging as there are few injury problems. Ramsey has proven to be an impressive signing so far and having started both of their league games on the bench, he may be in line for a starting place here. Schmeichel, Nice’s other big summer signing will also be starting, and will be hoping to contribute a clean sheet after conceding once in each of his three games so far.
Ligue 1 Match Betting Pick
Two draws and a European defeat was not the start that Nice were expecting and Lucien Favre’s return to the club has got off to a rocky start. The expectation was that Favre would be able to unleash the creativity inherent in the squad after a season when they had seemed stifled in Christophe Gaultier’s rigid system, but that hasn’t happened so far, and the Favre project may take a little longer than expected to show results.
Their defeat in Tel Aviv was also a concern and highlights a potential problem with squad depth for a team with ambitions of competing in Europe and securing a Champions League spot.
Those remain longer-term problems, however, and the focus right now will be getting a win on the board, which ought to be possible against fragile, if unpredictable opponents.
Clermont’s ability to score goals is not in question, but their defensive organization definitely is. Only two teams in Ligue 1 conceded more goals last season and they’ve already let in seven. Although they were able to fight back against Reims, that won’t be as easy against one of the top teams in the division.
These two teams shared a game apiece last season, although notably both games were won by the visiting side and that looks the most likely outcome here. Nice may still be a work in progress, but they have plenty of goalscoring potential, and are strong defensively, so they are the best match betting pick.