France Ligue 2 – Niort v Lens Preview (29/7/16)

NIORT-LENS

Niort preview

Les Chamois are missing two key midfielders for this tip. New man from Bourg-en-Bresse Aliou Dembele is suspended, whilst another addition Laurent Agouazi is injured. Niort don’t have a lot of quality or depth in the middle of the park so they’ll be pretty lightweight in this department here. The rest of the squad is in good condition and the main strength of the team is going to be in defence this year. That will be less the case tonight with them missing two good DMIDs. Lack of goals could be a big problem for them again, especially as they have a negative coach who will readily accept draws. Les Chamois didn’t have a bad run of pre season friendlies, but were poor last week losing against Tours 2-0. They showed a distinct amount of rust and it was a disappointing performance.

Lens preview

Les Sang et Or are missing left back Anthony Scaramozzino and midfielder Patrick Olsen due to injury. Both would've started the game had they been fit. In creative midfield they lost Wylan Cyprien to Nice on Wednesday and they've yet to sign a replacement. New striker Teddy Chevalier isn’t match fit yet, plus fellow frontmen Nanizayamo & Abdelrafik Gerard aren’t included in the squad, likely because of a lack of match sharpness too. Lens have a few youngsters here who might make their professional debuts. Les Sang et Or had a solid enough pre season, even drawing against Arsenal. They look set to have an improved year under Alain Casanova and their ambitions are always high. But once again a lack of goals could be a problem, at least until Chevalier and a few others return to full fitness.

Conclusion & Betting analysis

Come the end of the season I think these two teams will be at the opposite ends of the table. But as far as an opening match goes, it looks difficult to call. Both are missing players and this could be a tight tactical game. I would expect Lens to dominate the midfield areas in their 3-5-2 formation, especially as Niort are missing two key men in the middle. If any team is to win then Lens look the most likely, but their price isn't great. The bookies only just make them slight underdogs on a DNB line and this won’t be an easy place to visit on the opening day. Lens won this fixture towards the end of last season 1-0, but were very lucky that night. I suspect Niort would enjoy some sort of revenge so might be extra motivated. I think a goalless draw is a massive runner here and if someone is to win, then 1-0 either way is the most probable score. This isn’t a match I’m interesting in betting on. I don’t see an edge on the match lines, and the bookies aren’t offering anything for under backers either with a line of 2.0

Prediction: 0-0
Recommended bet: None

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