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Oct 23, 2021 at 4pm UK
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Preview: Nantes vs. Clermont - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Nantes vs. Clermont - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Ligue 1 clash between Nantes and Clermont, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Clermont Foot will continue their unlikely strong start to the season when they travel to face fellow mid-table side Nantes on Saturday afternoon.

It will be the first league meeting between the two since 2012-13, when Nantes ended the Ligue 2 season as one of the promoted sides, despite losing to Clermont three games before the end of the campaign.

Match preview

Promoted to Ligue 1 for the first time in their history last season, Clermont wasted no time in leaving an impression on the first tier, losing just one of their first six matches.

Whilst the honeymoon period may have ended for Pascal Gastien's side, Clermont have maintained their early-season form and currently sit in 14th with 13 points to their name.

Survival will no doubt be the only objective for the club this season, yet they will not have welcomed the news that as of next year, four sides will be relegated from Ligue 1.

It already puts Clermont on the back foot, should they survive the current campaign, and establishing themselves as a stalwart in Ligue 1 will be the dream for the club who were only founded in their current form in 1990.

Gastien was born 27 years before the merger between Stade-Clermontois and AS Montferrand created the current form of Clermont, and such is the vintage nature of the coach, he has since had a son of his own, who also plays for the club.

Johan Gastien joined Clermont in 2018, one year after his father arrived, and has since made over 35 appearances, whilst featuring in the successful promotion winning campaign last season.

Having never dropped below 10th in each of his three campaigns with the club in Ligue 2, Gastien achieved last season's second-place finish by the slender margin of two points over third-place Toulouse, who were forced to settle for the playoffs.

Had it been Clermont in the playoffs themselves, they would have come up against this weekend's opponents in Nantes, who toppled Toulouse over two legs to maintain their status as a Ligue 1 club.

That victory has given them the chance to compete in the top flight again, where it seems they have drastically improved on their stuttering form last season.

Currently five places above their opponents in the table, Nantes are one of seven teams separated by one point between Clermont in 14th and Strasbourg in eighth.

Nantes will be wary of being dragged back into another relegation battle, having done enough to distance themselves from the drop zone so far.

Three of their four victories this season have come at the Stade de la Beaujoire, and Antoine Kombouare will likely be confident his side can pick up another three points when they take on Ligue 1 newbies Clermont.

Nantes Ligue 1 form:
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L

Clermont Ligue 1 form:
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L

Team News

Just under half of Clermont's league goals this season have been scored by Mohamed Bayo, whose five strikes for the campaign have been in part responsible for their strong start.

Bayo will be tasked with breaking down the Nantes defence, yet the Clermont backline will be significantly depleted, with Jean-Claude Billong absent for the match.

The 27-year-old arrived from Benevento in the summer, but has only managed a handful of Ligue 1 appearances and looks set to miss the trip East with an illness.

Similarly, Saif-Eddine Khaoui has also endured a frustrating time with injuries and the midfielder will miss the Nantes match through a muscle problem.

Ludovic Blas has shone in an overall mediocre Nantes side this season, netting five times in nine matches to lead the way as the club's top scorer.

His performances have only been marginally ahead of Moses Simon's, who has registered five assists for the hosts this season, making him their out and out biggest creative threat.

Yet, Simon will not be combining with Quentin Merlin or Willem Geubbels on Saturday, as the pair have been ruled out through injury.

Nantes possible starting lineup:
Lafont; Appiah, Girotto, Pallois, Fabio; Chirivella, Cyprien; Bukari, Blas, Simon; Kolo Muani

Clermont possible starting lineup:
Desmas; Zedadka, Hountondji, Ogier, N'Simba, Samed, Gastien; Dossou, Berthomier, Rashani; Bayo

We say: Nantes 1-1 Clermont

These are the sort of games at the end of the season that could be looked back on as defining moments in a campaign, and Clermont will be hoping a win can aide their hopes of extending their Ligue 1 stay.

It will not be easy at all, with Nantes also on the lookout for points, and a draw will probably suit both sides.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data

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