France Ligue 2 – Clermont v Sochaux Preview (12/8/16)

CLERM-SOX

Clermont preview

The hosts won for the first time this season in the midweek cup against Amiens. They fielded a mixed team but were highly fortunate to prevail 2-1. Overall, they were largely outplayed and it rather sums up what's been an unconvincing start to the season for Corine Diacre’s men. They were blown away on the opening day at Valenciennes, whilst last week could only manage a 0-0 at home vs Red Star. Last season, the Auvergne side were great entertainers and played positive attractive football. This year I’m not so sure they have the personnel to do this yet. They are already missing the likes of Famara Diedhiou who was such a big presence upfront for them. Diacre has a good home record at the club and rarely loses here but I just sense all isn't quite right within their camp. Playmaker, Thomas Guerbert won’t play here due to an agreement with Sochaux. Their only injury is the long term Farid Boulaya.

Sochaux preview

Le Lionceaux prevailed in the midweek cup on penalties at home to GFC after a 0-0 draw. Fitness and fatigue are unlikely to play a part here though because the squad was completely rotated around. The odd player who started in that match will feature here but it’s not a factor to consider much IMO. The only injury for Sochaux to worry about is to midfielder Florian Tardieu. The loss of him will be a blow, he’s quite dynamic in the middle of the park and had started the season well. On a more positive note, Jerome Onguene returns after being given some time away following the European U19 championships. Albert Cartier’s men have started the season in solid fashion. A win at Troyes (3-1) was followed by a 0-0 against Valenciennes in a match they dominated. There’s always a concern with Sochaux about whether they offer enough of a threat upfront, but nobody can deny they are incredibly solid defensively.

Conclusion & betting analysis

The last two meetings between these sides at this stadium have both ended in 0-0 draws. The way both have been playing this year, a hat trick of stalemates could be on the cards. Clermont have yet to score a goal in the ligue, whilst Sochaux head into the match on the back of successive 0-0 draws. I’d say there’s a strong chance at least one, if not both of these sides keeping a clean sheet. Of the two I favour Sochaux more though. They are one of the better teams in this division and come the end of the season should be there or thereabouts in the promotion race. Clermont just haven’t looked good in any match thus far, something isn’t right. This is a good chance for Sochaux to grind out another away victory. I can’t see this being a classic and one goal would probably be enough either way. I think the visitors will find a way to win by a slim margin, 1-0 or 2-0. Their price on a DNB handicap is 2.03 which isn't that bad. I rate Sochaux as one of the best 3 or 4 teams in Ligue 2 and I trust them enough to bet on this line.

Prediction: 0-1
Recommended bet 1 unit: Sochaux DNB @ 2.03 (minimum odds acceptable 1.85)

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