Les Violets managed to hold Lyon to a 1-1 draw last weekend, in a game that cost Peter Bosz his job, while the visitors suffered a 3-2 defeat to Strasbourg.
Bosz’s tenure in the Lyon hotseat had been under threat for some time, and a 1-1 stalemate with Toulouse proved to be the final nail in the Dutchman’s coffin, even if Les Gones did get off to the perfect start at the Groupama Stadium.
Tete‘s second-minute effort deflected off 18-year-old Kevin Keben into the back of the net after some neat build-up play from those in white, but Rafael Ratao came off the bench to mark his return from injury with a 67th-minute leveller for Philippe Montanier‘s men.
The newly-promoted hosts have taken seven points from the last 12 on offer during a solid spell of form, including back-to-back home wins over Reims and Montpellier HSC to help them climb to 11th in the table – four points clear of the drop zone.
Having fared the best out of the newly-promoted sides so far, Toulouse will hop, skip and jump their way back to the Stadium Municipal in search of a third straight home win in Ligue 1, and they are the only side in the division to have scored and conceded the same amount of goals on their own turf, with eight flying in at each end.
Slovenia defender Miha Blazic made history as the first Angers player to score at both ends of the pitch in a single game for 56 years, but his own goal contributed to Les Scoistes’ downfall in a 3-2 defeat to Strasbourg at the Stade Raymond Kopa last weekend.
Kevin Gameiro and Adrien Hunou exchanged a pair of stunning volleys before Blazic diverted a header into his own net, and a dreadful error from Angers goalkeeper Yahia Fofana put the ball on a plate for Habib Diallo to tap home before Blazic’s consolation.
Things were looking up for Gerald Baticle‘s side with back-to-back wins over Montpellier and Nice last month, but successive home defeats to Marseille and Strasbourg have brought Les Scoistes crashing back down to earth as they lie 17th in the rankings.
Angers’ current standing would lead to demotion to Ligue 2, with four teams facing the drop this time around, and Baticle’s side hold the unfortunate honour of being the division’s worst defensive outfit, having shipped 24 goals in 10 games thus far.
Angers ran out 2-0 winners over Toulouse when the sides last met in the curtailed 2019-20 Ligue 1 campaign, ending a seven-match winless streak against Les Violets, but Montanier’s side are well-poised to snap a three-game scoreless run versus their faltering visitors.
Toulouse right-back Mikkel Desler will be back from suspension for the visit of Angers and should slot straight back into the side, with Keben’s brief stint in the first team set to come to an end.
With Ratao coming back from injury to good effect last time out, only Rhys Healey (ACL) is expected to be absent for the hosts this weekend, with the English striker not expected to see the field again until April.
Ratao came off the bench to replace Thijs Dallinga with 58 minutes gone against Lyon, but the latter should continue to spearhead the charge as Montanier’s leading number nine before he serves a one-game ban against Strasbourg next weekend.
Meanwhile, Angers also have a striker out for the long-term with an ACL injury in Lois Diony, and this game is also expected to come too soon for Ali Kalla and Ulrick Eneme-Ella, both of whom are down with knee injuries.
Left-back Souleyman Doumbia should be fine for Sunday after missing training earlier this week, while Fofana has also returned to the practice pitches after suffering a blow to the knee.
The 22-year-old has edged out Paul Bernardoni in recent weeks to become Angers’ number one, and Baticle will not want to knock his confidence further after last week’s error, so Fofana ought to retain his place in between the sticks.
Toulouse possible starting lineup:
Dupe; Desler, Rouault, Nicolaisen, Sylla; Dejaegere, Spierings, Van den Boomen; Aboukhlal, Dallinga, Chaibi
Angers possible starting lineup:
Fofana; Valery, Hountondji, Blazic, Doumbia; Mendy, Bentaleb; Ounahi, Hunou, Boufal; Sima