Soccer France Ligue 1 - 4 March 2023
Nice vs Auxerre - Match Preview
“I'm glad to see happy people," beamed coach Didier Digard after Nice’s emphatic 3-0 win in Sunday’s Derby de la Côte d’Azur at Monaco, with that victory closing the gap to the European places to just five points. Still undefeated since Digard’s appointment in January (W6, D2), Nice’s latest triumph once again showcased a fierce backline which has conceded just two league goals since he took charge - the pision’s best defensive record in that period.
With the Eaglets also unbeaten across their last eight Ligue 1 outings at the Allianz Riviera (W5, D3) there may be belief they can continue their rise, especially against an Auxerre side that’s won just twice at this stadium from 11 attempts (D2, L7). Digard might go all out for an early goal then, as Nice are one of just four Ligue 1 sides undefeated after scoring first this campaign at all venues (W9, D3), and victory would be a great way to pay tribute to the French football legend and former Nice player Just Fontaine, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 89.
The visitors may not make it easy however, as they make this trip to the south of France fresh from stringing together consecutive league wins for the first time since August, bookended by a 1-0 victory at Lorient last weekend. AJA now find themselves out of the relegation zone on goal difference alone, and coach Christophe Pélissier appears upbeat after witnessing his team take eight points from the last 12 available (W2, D2), stating that they will be “in the race until the end".
Improving away performances could be the difference between relegation and safety for Auxerre come June, with only rock-bottom Angers registering less than their eight away points in Ligue 1 so far (W2, D2, L9). That, coupled with the fact they’ve not claimed back-to-back top-flight away wins in over 12 years, means it’s no surprise to see that Auxerre are clear outsiders here.
📋 Players to watch: Back in form after scoring his fourth brace of 2022/23 last weekend, no Ligue 1 player has scored more goals before the break than Terem Moffi so far (ten). Aiming to eclipse him, Rennes loanee Matthis Abline has scored all three of his goals for Auxerre this season away from home.
⚡ Hot stat: So far, 59% of matches in Ligue 1 this season have seen both teams score, the highest rate across the top-five European leagues.
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