France Ligue 2 – Le Havre v Troyes Preview (19/8/16)

HAC-ESTAC

Le Havre preview

The promotion favourites remain unbeaten but I think it’s fair to say they’ve yet to reach top gear in the ligue. Their two wins have both been by 1-0 scorelines, and last week Bob Bradley’s men drew 1-1 at GFC Ajaccio. The American coach has talked about how he wants his team to push on more when they take the lead, criticising their lack of ambition when holding onto a 1-0 advantage. I expect to see HAC very proactive right until the end of the game here and look to kill off Troyes comfortably. The squad is in excellent condition with few injuries to worry about. New signing on loan from Rennes, Sebastian Salles Lamonge is included in the squad for tonight.

Troyes preview

ESTAC finally managed a victory last week, beating Laval 1-0 in what was a poor affair. New coach Jean Louis Garcia won’t care though, he’ll take any points on offer at the moment. As I’ve mentioned all season, this is a club very much in the doldrums and recovering from a very painful Ligue 1 campaign in which they hardly won a match. Their general performances haven’t particularly impressed me and beating Laval is nothing to shout about. This will be a much tougher test and Troyes are going to have to seriously raise their level in order to obtain anything here. As per usual, ESTAC have plenty of injuries, although nothing new to worry about at least. Maybe winning a game and keeping a clean sheet will improve their confidence and belief, but I’m personally not convinced.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Le Havre haven’t been at their best yet this season but I expect them to obtain a fairly easy three points tonight. They are much the better team and I rate them far higher than Troyes. The visitors just look like they've got a lot of rebuilding to do, whilst HAC are pretty much the finished article and are probably the best team in this ligue. The manager has talked about scoring more goals so I quite like the idea of backing them on a -1 asian handicap here. The price on a -0.75 cap or the straight win isn’t particularly appealing. Bob Bradley has a superb record at home since he joined the club and at very worst I’d imagine they win by a one goal margin. This could be one of those nights where the offense becomes more dangerous though, especially against a defence which isn’t particularly convincing. I think 2-0 or 3-0 could be on the cards and I fully expect Le Havre to dominate from start to finish.

Prediction: 3-0
Recommended bet 1 unit: Le Havre -1 (asian) @ 2.07 (minimum odds acceptable 1.80)

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