France Ligue 2 – Clermont v Ajaccio Preview (26/8/16)

CF-ACA

Clermont preview

After a tough start to the season Clermont surprisingly won 1-0 at Auxerre last week. I never really saw this coming, but it was a fully deserved success and I had no complaints about the result despite the fact I was an Auxerre backer. Clermont were much more solid in all areas of the field, dominating Auxerre and seemed to have a lot more energy and life about themselves. Of course, it helped matters that they kept 11 men on the field for just the second time this season. In two of their first three games Corinne Diacre’s boys had a sending off before half time. Whether or not last week was a one off remains to be seen, but it was a much improved performance against a reasonably decent team. Under Diacre they are usually strong at home, although looked well below their best in all fixtures at Le Stade Gabriel Montpied this term.

Ajaccio preview

ACA are a team who I thought would struggle in the early stages of the season but they've actually looked quite good. The Corsicans have seven points on the board so far and arguably should’ve picked up even more! They endured a difficult summer off the field but it seems to have resulted in as stronger togetherness on the field and this is a side with great team spirit, determination and self motivation. Their coach Olivier Pantaloni gets the most out of his players and is a tactician who has to be respected. Their only injury is to centre back Joris Sainati who’s going to be out for a while. Ajaccio recently signed Moussa Maazou upfront in a bid to solve their goalscoring issues. The encouraging thing was he got into some great positions last week but unfortunately looked like a donkey in front of goal. I never rated him much and this guy misses too many chances, although he might have been rusty having not played for a while.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Clermont -0.25 would normally be an automatic bet here but I am willing to refrain due to elements of doubt. Firstly, Clermont just haven't looked that good to me yet this season, last week was the only exception. Maybe they are moving in the right direction but I would like to see more of that before I commit any money on them. Ajaccio meanwhile, are renowned for their away woes and finished with the worst road record out of anyone last season. They don’t win many on their travels but they've generally played pretty well this month, including in both away games. They tend to find ways not to win though, either by missing chances or by conceding at the wrong moment. One thing you do know is that Pantaloni will set the team up difficult to break down and most of Ajaccio away games end under 2.5 goals. I’m not really sure here and no result would surprise me. We should maybe get a few answers after this fixture, but it looks like a no bet situation tonight.

Prediction: 1-1
Recommended bet: None