France Ligue 2 – Clermont v Red Star Preview (5/8/16)

CLERM-RS

Clermont preview

New defensive midfield signing Joseph Lopy got sent off after less than 10 mins last week, so he’s suspended for this clash, Playmaker Farid Boulaya is out injured long term but Clermont have no other casualties to worry about. One thing that fans have every right to be worried about was their performance last week though. Ok, they played with 10 men for over 80 mins but by that stage they were already behind against Valenciennes anyway. Eventually, they lost 2-0 but were it not for the goalkeeper Mehdi Jeannin they would've lost 4 or 5 nil. Clermont were really woeful throughout the whole night and showed no sort of fighting spirit when reduced to 10 men. Perhaps Corinne Diacre showed her naivety as well and there didn’t seem to be any plan B or C in that scenario. Clermont have always been better at home under Diacre and usually quite offensive minded. But they have to improve a lot on last week’s display otherwise they could be in trouble again.

Red Star preview

The visitors are at full strength, minus the longer term absence of #1 goalkeeper Arnaud Balijon who has an achilles tendon injury. New fullback signing JC Castelletto is included in the squad tonight and could get the start at left back. I think it’s fair to say more was expected of the Parisians last week as they laboured to a 0-0 home draw against Auxerre. It was a match devoid of many chances anyway, but Red Star literally only created one or two main opportunities. That simply isn’t good enough and could be an achilles heel all season. One thing you know you’ll get with this team is a solid defence though. Coach Rui Almeida has his team set up difficult to break down and highly disciplined. The main priority here will be to keep a clean sheet.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Red Star won both H2H encounters against Clermont last season and produced a really good tactical display at this stadium to beat them 2-0. I see something similar again. Clermont will probably have most of the ball and generally look more threatening, but ultimately fail in the final third of the field due to good defending and maybe some poor finishing. Whilst at the other end Red Star will possibly sneak a goal from a set piece or break situation and hit Clermont cold. The hosts don't have someone like Famara Diedhiou to bail them out of trouble this year and following their display last week, it’s difficult to have much confidence in them. Having said that, Clermont are usually strong at home under Diacre so I’m not interested in betting against them. Red Star +0.25 will probably end up at least a half winner though and I think something like 0-1 or 0-2 could be on the cards.

Prediction: 0-1
Recommended bet: None

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