Preview: Nice vs. Auxerre
In-form Nice will aim to extend their unbeaten run in Ligue 1 to nine games when they welcome relegation-threatened Auxerre to the Allianz Riviera on Friday night.
The hosts head into Friday’s clash on the back of an impressive 3-0 victory at Monaco, while the visitors claimed a precious 1-0 away win against Lorient last time out.
Nice continued their spectacular revival under Didier Digard with a statement victory over Monaco last weekend, netting three first-half goals without reply at the Stade Louis II.
Nigerian striker Terem Moffi bagged a brace inside 26 minutes before Khephren Thuram completed the scoring on the stroke of half time, firing Nice to a fifth victory in six Ligue 1 outings.
In fact, the Eagles have won six of their eight league matches since Digard replaced Lucien Favre as manager back in early January, and they have also conceded just two goals under Digard, keeping six clean sheets in the process.
On top of that, Nice have scored exactly three goals in three of their past four league games, dispatching Marseille and Ajaccio before getting the better of Monaco.
Having lost just one of their previous 16 league encounters – picking up nine wins and six draws along the way – Digard’s men will move level on points with sixth-placed Lille if they notch another triumph on Friday.
When Auxerre registered a solitary victory in 17 league matches between late August and early February – suffering 13 defeats in the process – it looked as though the Burgundy outfit were destined for an immediate return to Ligue 2.
However, Christophe Pelissier’s side have turned things around in recent weeks, chalking up a four-game unbeaten streak to ease relegation fears at the Stade Abbe-Deschamps.
Following seven successive Ligue 1 losses, Auxerre recorded back-to-back draws with Reims and Angers before defeating Lyon and Lorient, taking eight points from a possible 12 to move out of the relegation zone.
Granted, Auxerre only find themselves outside the bottom four thanks to their superior offensive record, but they appear to be heading in the right direction after a testing period.
It is worth noting, however, that Auxerre have managed to win just one of their previous five meetings with Nice across all competitions, suffering three defeats along the way.
Nice Ligue 1 form:
Auxerre Ligue 1 form:
Auxerre form (all competitions):
We say: Nice 2-0 Auxerre
Regardless of Auxerre’s mini-revival in recent weeks, we expect Nice to notch a seventh victory in nine league matches when Pelissier’s side visit the Allianz Riviera.
Having racked up 17 goals across their previous eight Ligue 1 outings – in addition to six clean sheets – Nice look set to secure another comfortable win on Friday.