The visitors are rooted to the bottom of the table as the only side not to register a win in the 2020-21 campaign, with Dijon losing 1-0 to Lens last time out.
While it is still mathematically possible for Nice to advance to the Europa League knockout stages, Patrick Vieira will no doubt be preparing for his side to be eliminated after an underwhelming group-stage performance.
Les Aiglons once again shipped three against Slavia Prague as the Czech giants trounced Nice 3-1 on their own turf in midweek, and while Amine Gouiri kept up his fine form with another goal, it was ultimately in vain as Slavia Prague eased to victory.
Despite their struggles in Europe – with that loss to Slavia being Nice’s third defeat on the bounce in all competitions – Vieira’s men have fared better domestically and head into their clash with Dijon having lost just one of their last six in the top flight.
However, that defeat was in Nice’s most recent league game as an in-form Monaco outfit triumphed 2-1 at the Allianz Riviera last Sunday, which saw Les Aiglons’ five-game unbeaten run come to an abrupt end.
Nevertheless, Vieira’s men – who currently occupy ninth spot in the table – now have the perfect opportunity to rectify their midweek mistakes against a Dijon side who are already favourites to finish below the dotted line come the end of the campaign.
The league’s basement side are the only team in the division yet to pick up a victory in the 2020-21 campaign, which is not all that surprising given that Dijon have only managed to find the back of the net five times so far.
Dijon picked up two points from their encounters with Lorient and Metz earlier this month to give fans a sense of belief, but any hopes of a quick fix with Linares at the helm were dashed by Lens, with Arnaud Kalimuendo netting the only goal of the game last Sunday.
While Les Hiboux appear to have shored up their defence in recent weeks, their problems in the final third must be addressed by Linares if they are to have any hope of climbing out of the relegation zone before Christmas.
Nice took the spoils 2-1 in the only meeting between the two sides last season, although Dijon will have fond memories of their trip to the Allianz Riviera in the 2018-19 campaign, where they thrashed Les Aiglons 4-0.
Nice Ligue 1 form: DWWDWL
Nice form (all competitions): DWWLLL
Dijon Ligue 1 form: LDLDDL
Nice have almost fully recovered from the coronavirus outbreak that ravaged their squad a couple of weeks ago, with Kasper Dolberg the only player to remain doubtful after testing positive.
Former Manchester United man Morgan Schneiderlin picked up his third booking of the season against Monaco and will play no part in this one either, with Pierre Lees Melou and Khephren Thuram likely to be recalled to the midfield.
Danilo is also back to boost Vieira’s options, although Dante is out for the season after tearing his ACL, while fellow defender Hassane Kamara is nearing a return from a thigh problem but Sunday’s game will come too soon for the left-back.
As for Dijon, Wesley Lautoa lasted 26 minutes against Lens before succumbing to a toe injury, and the midfielder is now set for a three-week spell on the sidelines.
Goalkeeper Saturnin Allagbe should also return to the fold after missing out last weekend’s defeat through illness, while Eric Ebimbe has an outside chance of recovering from a hamstring problem in time to feature.
Pape Cheikh and Jordan Marie will battle it out to fill the void left by Lautoa in midfield, while Mounir Chouiar – left out of Dijon’s squad to face Lens following behavioural problems in training – will hope to come back as well.
Nice possible starting lineup:
Benitez; Atal, Pelmard, Bambu, Lotomba; Thuram, Lees Melou, Reine-Adelaide; Lopes, Gouiri, Maurice
Dijon possible starting lineup:
Allagbe; Boey, Manga, Coulibaly, Chala; Ndong, Marie; Assale, Chouiar, Balde; Konate
We say: Nice 2-0 Dijon
The recent arrival of Moussa Konate has done little to alleviate Dijon’s problems in front of goal, and the visitors will certainly struggle to get on the scoresheet against a Nice side who have performed relatively well in Ligue 1. The hosts know that the visit of Les Hiboux is the perfect opportunity to gain some much-needed confidence during a demanding festive period, so we expect Vieira’s men to take all three points with minimal difficulty.
Top betting tip
Source: | This article originally belongs to Sportsmole.co.uk
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