Mark O'Haire - A Midweek Trip To Ligue 1 & The Europa League

9 min’s Mark O’Haire dips his betting toe into Ligue 1 and the Europa League for two midweek betting selections.

Bordeaux v Guingamp (Wednesday 6pm)

Bordeaux have endured a topsy-turvy Ligue 1 campaign and the 2009 champions find themselves entrenched in mid-table as we turn towards spring. Ownership and takeover talks overshadowed a dismal opening to the campaign, whilst coaching wrangles also threatened to derail on-field progress for Les Girondins.

Brazilian boss Ricardo Gomes was appointed in September but due to his lack of relevant qualifications required in French football, has been forced to play a background role whilst Eric Bedouet plays the cosmetic role of head coach.

Such instability hasn’t helped and Les Marine et Blanc could be forgiven for writing off 2018/19 early.

A semi-final Coupe de la Ligue defeat to Strasbourg last month was a bitter blow, but Bordeaux lifted the mood on Sunday when sealing top honours in the Garonne derby against Toulouse. The victory halted three successive away league defeats without scoring and ensures qualification for Europe still isn’t out of the question.

In truth, Bordeaux were second-best throughout against Toulouse after being gifted a two-minute lead through Toma Basic. Les Marine et Blanc were forced to batten down the hatches and the pressure eventually told as their regional rivals levelled with 20 minutes to play, only for veteran Jimmy Briand to pinch a winner in the dying embers of the encounter.

Bedouet was naturally delighted by the triumph and then spoke of his desire to secure back-to-back wins with rock-bottom Guingamp arriving at the Matmut Atlantique on Wednesday evening. And it’s surprising to see the hosts available to support at 1.95 quotes to clinch consecutive Ligue 1 victories for only the third time this season.

Les Girondins are smart operators here.

Runaway table-toppers PSG have already been held here, whilst top-six teams Lille and Sainte-Etienne have come away from the Matmut Atlantique pointless. Since the opening weekend of the campaign, Bordeaux have returned W6-D4-L1 on home soil and Les Marine et Blanc W15-D8-L8 since the start of last season.

Bordeaux boast a 47% Expected Goals (xG) from open play ratio and should be well capable of toppling a Guingamp side that’s struggling to stay afloat. EAG showed signs of life immediately after Jocelyn Gourvennec arrived in the hot-seat although the Brittany boys come into this contest having been beaten in 10 of their last 13 league outings.

Guingamp are generating just a 33% xG ratio from open play, and a 34% xG ratio when on the road this term. What’s more, EAG have been perennial strugglers in games as guests, posting a dreadful W6-D6-L19 away since the start of last season and losing 31/50 (62%) when viewing their road record back to the beginning of 2016/17.

Bordeaux went off at 1.79 when welcoming Dijon and Amiens, 1.71 against Caen and 1.78 against Nimes already this season so snap up the generous 1.95 available for the Garonne group to overcome Guingamp this midweek.

RB Salzburg v Club Brugge (Thursday 5.55pm)

RB Salzburg returned from their winter break for last week’s Europa League Last 32 first leg tie against Club Brugge and the Austrians appeared a little undercooked as they succumbed 2-1 to the Belgians. Having sailed through a tough group with an unblemished record, Die Roten Bullen went down to their first defeat in 2018/19.

Head coach Marco Rose remained philosophical about the result post-match, believing his team will be better for the run out and acknowledged the away goal via set-piece specialist Zlatko Junuzovic could prove vital if Salzburg are to overturn the one-goal deficit this Thursday. And that’s a task that RBS should be well capable of achieving.

Sunday’s cup showdown at the wonderfully-named lower-league Wiener Neustadt gave Salzburg another chance to stretch their competitive legs as they go in search of a sixth straight Europa League success. In fact, 10 of Die Roten Bullen’s past 12 outings here in this competition have resulted in home victories (W10-D2-L0) and I’m happy to back a repeat.

Schalke, Red Bull Leipzig, Lazio and Marseille (x2) have all departed defeated in that 12-game stretch and if we include domestic duties, Salzburg have returned a barely believable W45-D11-L0 since their last defeat in the Red Bull Arena back in November 2016. With a first leg defeat to overturn, I’m happy to back the home side overcoming a -0.75 hurdle.

Club Brugge’s title defence has wobbled in 2019 with Sunday’s success against Genk only their second in five league fixtures this calendar year (W2-D2-L1). Ivan Leko’s troops have conceded in each of those encounters and looked increasingly vulnerable defensively, which is an obvious concern when visiting one of the competition’s most feared forwardlines.

The Belgians have been far from reliable travellers in 2018/19 – returning W3-D5-L5 since mid-September – and those backline flaws have been evident as Club have conceded at least twice in seven of those 13 away matches. It will take a tremendous effort to keep a determined Salzburg side at bay and my feeling is the visitors will fall short.

I’m happy to back RB Salzburg with a -0.75 start at 1.74, knowing we’ll make money should the Austrians win in 90 minutes. We’ll pocket a half-stakes profit should the hosts achieve victory by exactly one goal with a full-stakes pay-out ensured by a two-goal triumph or more.

Recommended Bets

  • Bordeaux v Guingamp – Bordeaux to win (1.95) – 3 Points
  • RB Salzburg v Club Brugge – RB Salzburg -0.75 Asian Handicap (1.74) – 2 Points