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Preview: Angers vs. Strasbourg - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Angers vs. Strasbourg - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Angers and Strasbourg, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Strasbourg will aim to continue their charge for Champions League football when they travel to Angers for Sunday's Ligue 1 showdown.

Les Scoistes went down 5-2 to Marseille in their most recent fixture, while Julien Stephan's men ran out 1-0 winners over Nantes.

Match preview

Having now descended into mid-table obscurity after a promising start to the 2021-22 season, Angers will likely spend the remainder of the campaign looking over their shoulder rather than keeping an eye on the top-half and European-chasing pack.

Gerald Baticle's side struck twice at the Orange Velodrome against Marseille through Angelo Fulgini and Nabil Bentaleb to threaten a shock result against Les Olympiens, but the hosts responded emphatically, as Arkadiusz Milik bagged a hat-trick alongside strikes from Gerson and Cengiz Under.

The 5-2 defeat told the story of Angers' season somewhat - an unexpected bright start before a harsh reality check - and Baticle's side now occupy 12th spot in the table after 23 matches, but a top-half finish is not out of their reach by any means.

Les Scoistes could potentially rise as high as 10th if results go their way in gameweek 24, but they have not been helping themselves over the past couple of months - winning just one of their last seven in all competitions and losing five of them.

Inconsistency has also been the theme for Angers at the Stade Raymond Kopa this season - winning five and losing five on home soil, as well as scoring and conceding 14 - with Strasbourg sure to punish any frailties exposed by Baticle's crop this weekend.

Julien Stephan experienced one Champions League fairytale with Rennes and is in with a decent shout of writing another European chapter with Strasbourg, who continue to defy expectation to keep their chances of a podium finish alive.

Les Coureurs have produced countless goal-laden performances all season long, although they had Dimitri Lienard's thunderbolt to thank for a 1-0 win over Nantes on February 6 and will look to return to their free-scoring ways at the Stade Raymond Kopa.

In a stark contrast to the days of Thierry Laurey, Strasbourg are mixing with the big boys under Stephan and sit fourth in the rankings at the time of writing - four points off the Champions League spots and one clear of Rennes before their meeting with Paris Saint-Germain.

It is testament to the work of Stephan, Adrien Thomasson and Ludovic Ajorque among others that only PSG (51) have scored more goals than Strasbourg (45) this season, who travel to Angers having won three of their last four in the league away from home - keeping a clean sheet on each occasion.

Angers did get the better of Strasbourg 2-0 in the first week of the season, though, and Les Scoistes have lost just once to Les Coureurs in eight Ligue 1 meetings since 2017, although that did come at the Stade Raymond Kopa last term courtesy of goals from Ajorque and Habib Diallo.

Angers Ligue 1 form:
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • L

Angers form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • L

Strasbourg Ligue 1 form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Strasbourg form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

Angers will expect to welcome Africa Cup of Nations duo Enzo Ebosse and Stephane Bahoken back to the squad this weekend, although both men will likely have to settle for spots on the bench.

Zinedine Ould Khaled remains out with his thigh problem, while much-coveted attacker Mohamed-Ali Cho is fit to return to the first XI, potentially in place of Sofiane Boufal.

Captain Ismael Traore is fine to line up in defence after a brief injury scare versus Marseille, and Baticle may opt against making many changes despite the manner of their defeat last time out.

Meanwhile, Strasbourg now have an Africa Cup of Nations winner in their ranks in the form of Habib Diallo, and Stephan will likely welcome the Senegal striker back to the fold here.

Diallo's return is timely as Kevin Gameiro nurses a knee injury, and he is joined in the treatment room by Maxime Le Marchand (back) and Jean-Eudes Aholou (muscle).

Majeed Waris's place could come under threat if Diallo is deemed fit enough to start this contest, but Stephan will otherwise see no reason to alter a winning formula.

Angers possible starting lineup:
Petkovic; Mendy, Traore, Manceau; Cabot, Mangani, Ounahi, Bentaleb, Doumbia; Cho, Fulgini

Strasbourg possible starting lineup:
Sels; Nyamsi, Perrin, Caci; Guilbert, Prcic, Sissoko, Leinard; Thomasson; Ajorque, Diallo

We say: Angers 1-3 Strasbourg

Angers and Strasbourg are heading in completely opposite directions at the moment, and that ought to be reflected over the course of the 90 minutes here, with Stephan's side still harbouring hopes of Champions League football.

Baticle's side are no pushovers on their day, but if their defensive showing against Marseille is anything to go by, Strasbourg will expect to run out comfortable winners.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data

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