Auxerre will be aiming to end a run of three consecutive defeats when they host Lorient in Ligue 1 on Friday.
The visitors, meanwhile, have performed above all expectations so far this season to find themselves in fourth place ahead of the meeting.
After gaining seven points from their first four matches, Auxerre have struggled against some of the bigger clubs in Ligue 1 in recent weeks, losing to Lyon, Marseille and Rennes.
The latter and most recent defeat was a particularly damaging one, as Rennes ran out 5-0 winners at Roazhon Park, with four goals coming after the hour mark as Auxerre threw in a late defensive collapse.
However, having been promoted via the play-offs last season, Jean-Marc Furlan’s side should not be judged by their performances and results against some of the more successful teams in the division in recent years.
Indeed, against Montpellier, Strasbourg and Angers – three teams Auxerre can more realistically be expected to compete against – they have taken seven points combined, so they will feel confident of gaining a positive result on Friday despite Lorient’s excellent form heading into the encounter.
Having finished 16th in each of their two seasons since returning to Ligue 1, Lorient would almost certainly have been considered within a group of teams at risk of being relegated, especially with there being an extra spot at risk this campaign as France looks to reduce its amount of teams in the top division to 18 over the coming years.
However, based on their early season form and the points tally which they have already amassed after seven matches, that assessment may need to be reconsidered as fans are dreaming of beating their all-time record seventh-placed finish in Ligue 1, which was set in the 2009-10 campaign.
Replacing Christophe Pelissier with rookie manager Regis Le Bris has proved a risk more than worth taking so far, with the 46-year-old shining in his first ever managerial role. Three successive wins has moved Les Merlus onto 16 points from seven games, including an impressive 3-1 victory against Lyon last week.
Based on current form, there should only be one winner at Stade de l’Abbe-Deschamps on Friday, but Le Bris will be trying to keep his players’ feet on the ground as he looks to build on their superb start.
Auxerre Ligue 1 form:
Lorient Ligue 1 form:
We say: Auxerre 1-2 Lorient
Lorient have built serious momentum over the past few weeks and we expect their confidence to carry them to a fourth successive victory.
Le Bris has strong options to turn to from the bench should things not be going his side’s way, which can not be said for Auxerre, who may succumb to a fourth straight defeat.