France Ligue 2 – Red Star v Auxerre Preview (30/7/16)

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Red Star preview

The home side are at full strength for this match and even have the added bonus of midfielder Naim Sliti at their disposal. He’s soon going to be transferred out to Lille but is in the squad today. Whether he’ll play I’m not sure, but he seems quite a loyal type who will be happy to get stuck in if needed. Red Star are back playing matches in Paris this season and they’ll be based at Le Stade Jean Bouin, which is a mostly a rugby stadium right next door to PSG’s ground. This is a far better arrangement than having to drive over 50 miles to Beauvais. It means the core heart of their fans can support them this season. Everyone knows that Red Star are going to be a solid side under Rui Almeida. Even despite the fact they lost some key pieces in defensive areas, they've done their best to find replacements. Red Star haven't lost any friendly matches and looked typically solid against good teams like Lille, Anderlecht & Metz in preseason.

Auxerre preview

It’s all change at Auxerre with a new manager and plenty of arrivals and departures. Viorel Moldovan is at the helm and has promised some attacking football. Maybe this is a bit naive in French football but he was a striker so his natural mindset is likely to be positive. It looks like he’ll try and play with two men upfront where possible. For this match he has bigger concerns in defence though. Two of his new signings are unavailable, and right back Ruben Aguilar is another casualty. Auxerre could be especially vulnerable in wide areas where they’ll be starting two unproven defenders. AJA haven't had a great preseason and a lot of reports suggest this team isn’t really ready and lacks identity. Last weekend they got blown apart by Orleans 4-0. Ok, that was only a friendly but it’s still concerning to lose against a team like that with only a week to go until the first official match.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Friday night was incredibly low scoring in Ligue 2 and most teams just felt each other out. Very few sides were willing to take many risks and we ended up with a staggering five 0-0s! This match is another contender to finish goalless and I don't think we'll see a quick tempo. Temperatures in Paris will be quite high for this mid afternoon clash and a lot of players will struggle in the heat. It’s a well known fact nobody really likes playing at this time of day, the French much prefer evening games. However, in this instance I think that Red Star will find a way to win. They’ll be desperate to pick up 3 points on their return to Paris and right now they seem like being much more prepared than their opponents. You know what you’re going to get from Red Star, solid tactics, strong game management & discipline. Auxerre meanwhile, are more of an enigma and aren't helped by certain absences. I think backing Red Star @ 1.87 on a -0.25 handicap is a pretty safe bet. I’d be surprised if they lost this game and there’s a high chance of them keeping a clean sheet. I think something like 1-0 or 2-0 is likely in this instance.

Prediction: 1-0
Recommended bet 2 units: Red Star -0.25 @ 1.87 (minimum odds acceptable 1.70)

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