Two sides who are dangerously close to the relegation line in the early stages of this Ligue 1 campaign will face each other this weekend as Troyes play host to Bordeaux from Stade de l'Aube on Sunday.
The Ligue 2 winners from a season ago were unlucky to drop a 2-1 decision to reigning top-flight champions Lille 2-1 last weekend, while Les Girondins are only just above the relegation play-off line because they have scored more goals for than Clermont.
For a second successive encounter, Troyes got the start that their manager Laurent Batlles wanted, going ahead after only six minutes versus Lille, but they could not maintain that momentum in the second half.
A goal from Jonathan David three minutes after the break brought the Ligue 1 champions back and then an own goal in the 85th minute left ESTAC empty-handed, having only won consecutive league fixtures once this year.
Since the start of October, they have conceded 13 goals in their previous nine games, eight of which were scored in the second 45 minutes of a match.
This group have improved defensively following their 4-0 defeat to Lens to kick off the month of November, having only allowed multiple goals in one of their last four matches since then, posting a clean sheet versus Lorient.
For them to be even slightly ahead of the relegation play-off line (by two points) is a positive sign for a club that have not lasted longer than one season in the top flight in each of their previous three campaigns (2012-13, 2015-16 and 2017-18).
They have only lost one of their last six home matches, although Troyes do not have a great record against six-time league winners Bordeaux, losing their previous two home games against them and coming away without a point in their preceding four fixtures.
Traditionally, as the saying goes, the more you age, the better you become, but that phrase does not seem to apply to Les Girondins, at least not in recent memory.
Bordeaux may be a world capital of wine, but unlike a fine wine that gets better with age, this team seem to get worse year after year, finishing in the bottom half of the table in each of their previous three league campaigns.
They have a mere 14 points after 17 Ligue 1 contests in 2021-22, their lowest total at this stage of a domestic season since 1959-60 when they had 12 points (converting three points for a win) and were relegated after finishing 20th.
Vladimir Petkovic has a massive challenge in front of him to try to get this long-suffering club back to a respectable level, which will take some doing, as they have only won two games since the former manager of the Swiss national team took over.
Last weekend for the first time in a long time, Petkovic saw more fight and determination from his group as they came back twice after going a goal behind and were able to pull out a draw against a formidable opponent in Lyon.
Defensively, this side have been poor throughout the season, conceding the most goals (39) of anyone in Ligue 1, and thus unsurprisingly losing their share of games, dropping 19 league encounters in 2021, the highest total in the top flight over that period.
In his second stint with the club, Tristan Dingome has become a solid contributor for Troyes, with a goal and two assists in his last two games, as he was the only player to find the back of the net for his team last weekend to move into a tie with teammate Yoann Touzghar for second with two.
Troyes went with the same starting 11 last weekend that they had when they began their match versus Lorient, with former World Cup winner Adil Rami sitting out for a second successive encounter, while centre-back Jimmy Giraudon, unfortunately, scored an own goal against Lille, costing his team a point.
Bordeaux benefitted from an own goal in their previous match, as Lyon right-back Malo Gusto gave Les Girondins an equaliser last Sunday, while a goal from Alberth Elis just before the hour mark earned them a single point as the Honduran is tied with Hwang Ui-jo for the team lead in goals with five.
Hwang, who had previously been nursing an ankle injury, set up the game-tying goal from Elis, while Paul Baysse is still recovering from a cruciate ligament rupture and Josh Maja is not yet fully healed from his back injury.
Yacine Adli is tied for fourth in assists in Ligue 1 with five, the same amount as Kevin Volland, Romain Faivre and Ludovic Ajorque, while veteran goalkeeper Benoit Costil has had a rough campaign, conceding multiple goals in 12 of the 17 matches that he has played.
Troyes possible starting lineup:
Gallon; Salmier, Rami, El Hajjam; Balde, Chambost, Tardieu, Kouame, Chadli; Dingome; Ripart
Bordeaux possible starting lineup:
Costil; Kwateng, Mexer, Gregersen, Koscielny; Elis, Fransergio, Onana, Oudin; Briand, Hwang
We say: Troyes 1-1 Bordeaux
Troyes have scored the second-fewest goals in the league so far this season (16), while Bordeaux have allowed the most, so we expect it to be a close game between two sides desperate to earn points.
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