France Ligue 2 – Bourg-en-Bresse v Strasbourg Preview (29/7/16)

BP-RCS

Bourg-en-Bresse preview

At the time of writing, a full squad list for Bourg-en-Bresse has yet to be released for today’s game. They’ve had a few niggling injuries of late so it’ll be interesting to see who's in and who's out. Whether or not new signing from Evian Kevin Hoggas is in the squad remains to be seen as well. Against all odds, Bourg-en-Bresse easily stayed up last season despite most people (including me) predicting they finish rock bottom. A positive approach helped them out and they scored a lot of goals, often willing to gamble instead of settling for a draw. This season they welcome nearly a dozen new players so the makeup of the team will change a lot. In a recent press conference the coach talked about being ‘stronger defensively’ but this goes against their natural instincts. Friendly results have been mixed but performances largely praised. The general mood around the club seems quite good.

Strasbourg preview

Les Alsatians are at full strength with the exception of striker Jeremy Blayac & playmaker Dimitri Lienard who aren’t match fit yet. A few other less important attackers are also missing. Considering the new signings that Strasbourg have, its debatable if either of the aforementioned duo would’ve started anyway. The visitors have bolstered their ranks by signing Baptiste Guillaume & Khalid Boutaib upfront, and Vincent Gragnic in attacking midfield. All three of those players will hope to make an instant impact here. Strasbourg based their success last season around defence and were a very boring team. However, ex GFCA coach Thierry Laurey takes over at the helm and he usually likes to employ two strikers upfront. So we could see Les Alsatians have more attacking purpose about them this year, but until they take to the field it remains to be seen. All their friendly matches have been low scoring which suggests their backline will continue to be strong.

Conclusion & betting analysis

I can’t help but feel Bourg-en-Bresse are a little bit disrespected by bookmakers here. They are only very slight favourites on a DNB handicap line when really they should be on a normal -0.25 handicap. Strasbourg could go well this year but they don't really have the right to be so overrated in this match straight away. Having said that, I can’t rule out any outcome here. The visitors are going to be extremely motivated on their return to Ligue 2, especially as they play a team who denied them promotion two years ago. There will definitely be a revenge factor for Les Alsatians in this case and everyone will be giving 110%. I think this match is best watched and left alone betting wise. Bourg-en-Bresse have added nearly a dozen new players and their manager has talked about being more defensively sound, which is in contrast to last year. Of all the matches in this round, this is the one I’m least confident about predicting and nothing would surprise me. I’ll predict a 1-1 draw but something in the back of my head actually tells me one of these teams will sneak a victory, maybe thanks to a late winner.

Prediction: 1-1
Recommended bet: None

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