The match that we will be previewing from this weekend’s Ligue 1 action is Sunday’s clash between Nice and Toulouse, with Toulouse making the journey to the Allianz Riviera stadium in the south-east of France to take on the side who are currently just three places above them in the table.
Both of these clubs have absolutely nothing to play for with just three matches of the campaign to go and are both set for midtable finishes. While midtable finishes have somewhat started to become the norm for the hosts, finishing in the top four only twice in the past nine seasons, there was perhaps greater expectation this season after a summer where they spent big on new signings.
Les Aiglons were the division’s 4th-highest spenders in the summer, spending around €70m on new players plus a further €13m in January. But despite that, Nice are still staring down the barrel of what will be yet another disappointing season as they look to just about squeeze into the top 10 of Ligue 1 this year, with dreams of finishing in the top four, which they last did in 2017, seeming a long way away at the moment.
However, it has been a much happier season for Nice’s opponents on Sunday for two different reasons, with Toulouse’s likely finish in the upper end of the bottom half of the table an encouraging sign in their first season back in the top-flight. Les Violets were promoted from Ligue 2 as champions this year, and in addition to their impressive league finish, have also picked up silverware as well, something that Nice have failed to do since 1997.
Toulouse beat Nantes 5-1 in the Coupe de France final just under 3 weeks ago to win what is just the club’s fourth-ever trophy in their entire history, with that success also granting them a place in the group stages of next season’s Europa League. So despite finishing lower than Nice, to all intents and purposes, Toulouse have had a much better season than their counterparts, and they have a chance to add to that feeling when the two sides meet on Sunday.
But both sides come into the match on absolutely terrible form, with Nice having won only two of their last 10 league matches, while the visitors have just one more than that with 3 victories in their last 10. They come into the clash having played out two goalless draws over the last 2 rounds of fixtures, with their last win coming when they scraped a 1-0 win over Lorient near the end of April which was just 4 games ago.
That, alongside 2-0 and 2-1 wins over Angers and Montpellier respectively, are the only league wins that Les Violets have picked up over the last 10 rounds of fixtures, but considering the form of Nice, Toulouse can carry hope that this weekend’s match is their chance to break their recent run of shocking league form.
But, faring not much better are Nice, whose two most recent wins from their last 10 have come against second-from-bottom Troyes and a 2-1 win over Rennes, but alongside being dumped out of the Europa Conference League by Swiss side Basel, they have drawn 4 on the bounce (to Auxerre, Nantes, Lorient and Angers) and lost four (to PSG, Stade Brest, Clermont and just last week to Strasbourg) of their last eight.
Their poor form as of late comes as somewhat of a surprise considering their upturn in form after sacking Lucien Favre in January, after which they proceeded to pick up eight wins from their next 12 games. It looked like Nice were going to finish the season strongly, but around mid-March, Les Aiglons’ performances have dropped drastically since and they haven’t looked the same side at all.
It is tough in separating these two and predicting a winner heading into Sunday’s meeting considering both teams’ poor form and the result of their earlier meeting this season, with the two sides playing out a 1-1 draw on the opening day. And while Nice have a favourable record in the league against Toulouse, winning 15 to Toulouse’s eight of their 35 total meetings, their poor performances throughout the majority of this season in addition to Toulouse’s also-poor recent form means that we think this one will likely end in a draw, with no discernible way to currently separate the two sides.
A draw between the two is currently priced at 11/4 odds, while a win for Nice is priced at 4/5 odds, whereas a win for the visitors is at 16/5 odds.
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