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Nice: Ligue 1’s surprise team is winning with a defence-first approach

04/12/23
Nice: Ligue 1’s surprise team is winning with a defence-first approach
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Ligue 1 has been dominated by Paris Saint-Germain in recent seasons. Therefore, it was no surprise that many pundits picked the Parisians to win Ligue 1 once more despite the duo of Neymar and Lionel Messi leaving the club.

Paris still had Kylian Mbappe and a host of other high-priced talent. Yet, the 2023-24 Ligue 1 season has not been straightforward for Paris Saint-Germain.

Thirteen matches into the campaign, just six points separate the top three clubs.

Of the two chasing teams, Nice are the most unlikely club to be battling for the title in the first half of the season.

The Eagles finished the 2022-23 season in ninth place and well off the European qualification places.

New coach Francesco Farioli has the team running on all cylinders. Nice took 29 points in their opening 13 matches, scoring 14 goals.

But it isn’t Nice’s goal scoring that has them second in the league and one point off first-place Paris Saint-Germain.

Nice’s defence is the best in Ligue 1, conceding just four times in 13 fixtures. Nice concede an average of 0.3 goals per game.

No other Ligue 1 team has conceded fewer than 11 goals. Farioli’s dedication to defence is what has Nice playing good football, even if the games are low on goals.

Nice have kept 10 clean sheets this term, with eight straight occurring ahead of round No. 14 this weekend.

The Eagles have already beaten Paris Saint-Germain. The teams played a wild 3-2 fixture, with Nice winning in the French capital.

The Eagles’ 3-2 win was the last fixture in which they conceded goals. Not only are Nice playing tremendous defence, but they are getting results.

Nice are the only unbeaten team in Ligue 1 after 13 matches. Farioli has led the side to a record of 8W-5D-0L.

After a run of three consecutive draws to start the campaign, Nice started to reel off wins.

Onlookers will have noticed the low-scoring games Nice play barring the 3-2 win over Paris in September.

Twelve of Nice’s 13 matches in Ligue 1 ended with under 2.5 goals scored. Each of their last eight fixtures finished with fewer than 2.5 goals.

If Nice are to win the league this season, which is a big ‘if’, then Farioli will need more goal scoring.

Terem Moffi leads the team in scoring with four goals. Four additional players have contributed two goals each.

Moffi has been brilliant, but Farioli will need the striker to continue scoring. Nice are playing great football.

The big question is: Can Nice continue keeping clean sheets and eking out 1-0 and 2-0 wins?

Home team
Away team
Probability %
1X2
Pred
Correct score
Avg. goals
Weather conditions
Coef.
Score
Live
coef.
Fr1
153451
2
0 - 1
1.31
2.05
3.40 3.60 2.05 no no no
FT
1 - 0(1 - 0)
-
- - -
Ligue 1 Regular Season
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L +/-
1
Paris St. Germain 54 23 16 6 1 35
2
Stade Brestois 43 23 12 7 4 16
3
AS Monaco 41 23 12 5 6 10
4
OGC Nice 40 23 11 7 5 7
5
Lille OSC 38 23 10 8 5 13
6
RC Lens 36 23 10 6 7 6
7
Stade Rennais 35 23 9 8 6 8
8
Stade Reims 34 23 10 4 9 -1
9
Olympique Marseille 33 23 8 9 6 8
10
Lyon 28 23 8 4 11 -10
11
Toulouse FC 26 23 6 8 9 -6
12
FC Nantes 25 23 7 4 12 -11
13
Strasbourg 25 23 6 7 10 -12
14
Le Havre AC 24 23 5 9 9 -6
15
Montpellier HSC 22 23 5 8 10 -6
16
FC Lorient 22 23 5 7 11 -13
17
FC Metz 17 23 4 5 14 -18
18
Clermont Foot 17 23 3 8 12 -20

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