The last 12 months have been a really turbulent time for Troyes. After an horrific Ligue 1 season the atmosphere is all doom and gloom. New coach Jean Louis Garcia begins a rebuilding project but summer friendlies haven't been particularly encouraging. Last time out they got easily beaten by Dijon and many fans are worried about their preparations. The new coach has seen loads of players leave the club and nearly a dozen new arrivals. For this game, new centre back Giraudon is suspended, whilst key midfielder Thiago Xavier is injured. As per usual, Troyes have the normal list of casualties on the treatment table as well. The one big surprise is that centre back Mathieu Saunier is in the squad and set to start! There are pretty much question marks all over the field in many places. My feeling is that Troyes will be lacking confidence and it’ll be hard for them to hit the ground running.
Les Lionceaux have wingback Pierre Gibaud suspended, whilst talented young centre back Jerome Onguene is given a rest after playing really well for France U19 in their recent European championship win. New striker from Angers Goran Karanovic isn’t deemed match fit yet and isn’t included. These absences won't affect Sochaux much. Onguene is a bright young talent but they've done all of pre season without him so will be suitably prepared. The rest of the squad is in fine condition with no other absences. Sochaux were unbeaten in all of their friendly matches and look to have a really solid team on paper. The last time head coach Albert Cartier had a whole year in charge at this level, he took Metz up to Ligue 1. He’s a strong tactical coach and will make his sides difficult to break down. They had weaknesses in attack last season and will hope the signing of Faneva Andriatsima can help them out upfront.
Conclusion & betting analysis
I think both teams could be heading in different directions this season. Sochaux should be up there in the promotion mixer but I don’t see Troyes doing as well as many imagine. The club has had a really difficult last 12 months and you can sense all isn't right within the camp. There’s a losing mentality here right now and I can see their hangover continuing into the start of the season. This is a very tough opening match against a side who seem really well prepared for the challenges ahead. Sochaux will come here with a strong gameplan and should be highly organised and disciplined. Keeping clean sheets and preventing chances will be their main aim. On the other hand I could see Troyes being tactically all over the place. Pre season reports suggest Jean Louis Garcia's preferred 4-5-1 formation isn't working at the moment. I'd personally say there’s a good chance Sochaux will win the match something like 1-0 or 2-0. Conventional wisdom says you shouldn't back an away team in France unless the value is immense, or you're backing a top side. You could argue the case for both here and I don’t see why Sochaux are such a big underdog. I’ll only have a small bet on the DNB handicap @ 2.35, but I’m quietly confident Sochaux can pick up all three points, or at very worst manage a draw.
Recommended bet 1 unit: Sochaux DNB @ 2.35 (minimum odds acceptable 2.05)