France Ligue 2 – GFC Ajaccio v Le Havre Preview (12/8/16)

GFA-HAC

GFC Ajaccio preview

The Corsicans lost on penalties on Tuesday night away against Sochaux following a 0-0 draw. The coach rotated the squad a little bit, but there is sure to be some sort of fatigue, especially after a long journey to north eastern France. GFC have generally had a positive start to the season. Only some great goalkeeping denied them on the opening day at home to Brest, and they followed that up with a good win at Auxerre. GFC usually play really well in front of their own fans, nobody likes to travel to Le Stade Ange Casanova. My main worry with them is still scoring goals. Do the likes of John Tshibumbu, Sekou Cisse and Rafik Boudjedra really strike fear into opposition defences? They are alright, but nothing special and good defences will keep them in check. GFC don’t have a lot of injuries to worry about and apart from being pushed to penalties on Tuesday night, the squad looks set to be in good condition.

Le Havre preview

HAC absolutely hammered Reims 5-2 in the midweek cup. They scored all five goals in a 20 min stretch just after halftime to completely stun their opponents. I think it was just an example of exactly what this Le Havre team is capable of when they get going offensively. In the ligue they've relied more on defensive strength to get them through games. Successive 1-0 victories against Orleans & Nimes were generally very hard fought. In actual fact, I thought they were very lucky to beat Nimes last Friday night because they came under a barrage of pressure in the second half. It’s clear this HAC side has great mental strength and believes in itself. The squad is in fine condition with no major injuries or suspensions. Bob Bradley said they need to play well in ‘all areas’ of the pitch tonight and he admitted a trip to GFC won’t be easy.

Conclusion & betting analysis

I rate both teams very highly and come the end of the season I’d imagine each side will be strongly involved in the promotion race. Le Havre come into the match in better form but GFC crucially have home advantage. That's very important because this place is a fortress and an extremely difficult location for anyone to visit. Bob Bradley has a great record since taking over as Le Havre coach, but his away statistics aren’t that brilliant. HAC on the road aren’t as effective and I have a feeling this could be a difficult night for them. The midweek cup win at Reims demonstrated their power though and it’d be silly to bet against such a good side. In fact, it’d be silly to get involved full stop here. This is a battle between two good teams and anything could happen. I’m finding it really difficult to predict so I’ll opt for a 1-1 draw. But from a betting point of view I’d say it’s clearly one to avoid. There’s a chance it could open up and the overs become a viable option in-running. But pre game I’m happy to sit this one out.

Prediction: 1-1
Recommended bet: None

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