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Preview: Reims vs. Nice - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Nice begin life without Patrick Vieira this Sunday afternoon with a trip to another team that has struggled for results in Reims.

The hosts were put to the sword 3-0 by Lyon in their most recent outing, whereas Nice have endured a dismal run with five defeats on the bounce in all competitions.

Match preview

Reims' fortunes appeared to be improving with a positive set of results in late October and early November, but David Guion's men have slumped once again and are still teetering dangerously close to the dotted line.

Les Rouges et Blancs prepared for a trip to Lyon in dismal fashion with a 1-0 home defeat to Nimes, and Les Gones eased to a 3-0 victory over Reims when the sides locked horns at the Groupama Stadium last Sunday.

Karl Toko Ekambi, Bruno Guimaraes and Moussa Dembele all breached the Reims defence on a forgettable afternoon for Guion, who also saw Moreto Cassama brandished from the field just after the half-hour mark.

In the space of two months, Reims have gone from competing in Europe to being two points clear of basement side Dijon in the French top flight, and with a trip to an in-form Brest side to come next week, Guion will be desperate for his team to pick up a result against a Nice side who have become the latest club to relieve their manager of his duties.

Nice's narrow Europa League defeat to Bayer Leverkusen brought the curtain down on Patrick Vieira's stint in the dugout, with Nice confirming on Friday morning that the former France international had been sacked after two and a half years in the job.

Vieira has become the second manager to be sacked this season after Dijon relieved Stephane Jobard of his duties last month, and Adrien Ursea will now be tasked with ending Nice's disheartening losing run when they pay a visit to Reims.

All in all, Les Aiglons have not performed badly in Ligue 1 this season, but Nice are nevertheless languishing in 11th position - an unacceptable ranking for the supporters who demand that their side push for a European berth.

Les Aiglons have not won in any competition since overcoming Angers on the first day of November, with Vieira overseeing five straight defeats before being let go - including a 3-1 loss to bottom-of-the-table Dijon - and Thursday's defeat to Leverkusen has confirmed Nice's elimination from this season's Europa League.

It remains to be seen whether or not the new manager bounce phenomenon will happen for a Nice side who are in desperate need of it - although Ursea can afford to feel optimistic about his chances of a perfect start to his reign, as Reims have only won once in their last nine against Les Aiglons.

Reims Ligue 1 form: LWWDLL

Nice Ligue 1 form: WWDWLL
Nice form (all competitions): WLLLLL

Team News

Reims will have to make do without Cassama following his red card against Lyon, which should see Valon Berisha deputise in midfield alongside Marshall Munetsi.

Berisha was not available for the defeat to Lyon but is expected to return to the fold with Cassama suspended, which leaves Xavier Chavalerin as the hosts' only injury concern.

The prolific Boulaye Dia lasted under an hour at the weekend, but the eight-goal striker has overcome a bout of muscular discomfort and will start here.

Ursea's first team sheet as Nice manager will not include Pierre Lees Melou or Youcef Atal, both of whom are sidelined with ankle and thigh injuries respectively.

Kasper Dolberg had only just made a recovery from coronavirus before sustaining a groin injury, and the Danish striker is unlikely to be available here.

Morgan Schneiderlin is back in the fold having served a one-match suspension for an accumulation of bookings, and the 31-year-old could come straight back into the Aiglons midfield.

Reims possible starting lineup:
Rajkovic; Foket, Faes, Abdelhamid, Konan; Cafaro, Munetsi, Berisha, Mbuku; Dia, Toure

Nice possible starting lineup:
Benitez; Lotomba, Bambu, Pelmard, Kamara; Schneiderlin, Thuram, Reine-Adelaide; Lopes, Gouiri, Claude-Maurice

We say: Reims 1-1 Nice

Games between Reims and Nice are notoriously low-scoring affairs, and that could be the case again here with both sides simply desperate to avoid another defeat. The visitors will no doubt be affected by the sacking of Vieira, and Reims will look to take advantage of Les Aiglons' unstable situation, but we reckon this encounter will end all square.

Top betting 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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