France Ligue 1 – Caen v Lorient Preview (13/8/16)

SMC-FCL

Caen preview

There’s not been a lot of change at Caen during the summer. The big transfer out of the club looks set to be Andy Delort, but the striker hasn’t yet moved. His replacement is Ivan Santini from Standard Liege who cost over £2m. Delort isn’t in the squad for tonight’s match, neither is new signing Romain Genevois (CB). For the most part though, Caen look in good health. The Normandy side finished seventh last season and had the least amount of draws (6) out of anyone. Their willingness to gamble probably earned them more points. Sides who have less draws tend to finish quite high in the table. I would expect coach Patrice Garande to adopt a similar approach again this year. He is one of the more attack minded managers in Ligue 1 and isn’t afraid of pushing for victory in any match.

Lorient preview

Similar to Caen, Lorient have effectively lost one key player during the summer. Left sided defender/midfielder Raphael Guerreiro has departed to Dortmund for a whopping £10m but his presence will be missed. An interesting new addition is Sylvain Marveaux but unfortunately he’s injured for this match. Young playmaker/winger Jimmy Cabot is also a casualty tonight, but the rest of the squad is fully available. Much of this Lorient team is similar to last season and they’ll hope that their usual injury crisis doesn’t develop as badly. Switching to a grass pitch should help their cause. Les Merlus had one of the worst defences in Ligue 1 last season conceding a massive 58 times. This is partly due to the tactics of Sylvain Ripoll who often leaves the team too exposes. FCL won’t lack for attacking threat under his stewardship though.

Conclusion & betting analysis

On the opening day of the season there’s often a lot of uncertainty surround most teams. But in this instance I’m not so sure. Neither side has changed much, each has kept the same manager and both usually have a distinct attacking style.The pitch at Le Stade Michel D’Ornano is nearly always in great condition, especially this time of year which promotes attacking football. There’s also going to be a really decent sized crowd which should motivate the players a bit extra to put on a performance. I wouldn’t normally like to get involved in a bet like this so early in the season but I think over 2.25 is a bit of value @ around the 1.85-90 mark. The way both teams usually play should result in at least two goals at very worst. For me, it feels like an obvious over knowing how Caen and Lorient usually operate. This is the opening day so there’s more doubt than usual, but this is going to be my pick. I’m not sure who’ll win. It could go either way and something like a 2-2 draw wouldn't surprise me.

Prediction: 2-2
Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.25 goals @ 1.87 (minimum odds acceptable 1.70)

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