France Ligue 2 – Red Star v Brest Preview (12/8/16)

RS-BREST

Red Star preview

The Parisian outfit suffered embarrassment on Tuesday night when they lost on penalties against local rivals PFC in the cup. They were facing National Division opponents but could only labour to a 1-1 draw after 90 mins, and that was how things stayed until penalties. Red Star didn’t get off to a great start last season and they are once again quite flat at this stage of the campaign. Both of their Ligue 2 matches have ended 0-0 draws and they've created very few chances in either encounter. It’s no secret that coach Rui Almeida prioritises defence over anything else, but sometimes he takes it to the extreme and they have no outlet going forward. There have been quite a few changes in the squad this season and I sense everyone is still getting used to each other. There’s a slight feeling of unsettlement and a definite lack of rhythm. Red Star fielded a fairly strong XI in midweek, so might feel the effects of that here, especially in the second half.

Brest preview

The Breton outfit were another team who got taken to penalties in midweek, but they managed to prevai against Valenciennes scoring all five of their spot kicks. This is perhaps an indication on the level of skill coach Jean Marc Furlan has at his disposal. The new Brest manager is renowned for loving technical players and for adopting attacking football. He claims ‘football should be a show’ which is a rarity in terms of French football mentality! Brest have started the season alright. They were poor but drew 0-0 at GFC on the opening day, whilst last week they came from behind to beat Orleans 2-1. With guys like Labidi & Maupay in their ranks upfront, the visitors actually have some decent finishing power. Maupay took the winning goal really well last week with a classy rifled shot. Furlan has a knack at this level of getting results and you have to respect him for that. Their squad is in full health for tonight, minus winger Valentin Lavigne who is ruled out with a tooth problem.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Both teams played in midweek and got taken to penalties having fielded relatively strong XIs. So I could see this match being a bit of a damp squib and fairly low on chances. Red Star are one of the most boring teams in Ligue 2 but certainly know how to keep it tight. They've drawn both of their opening games 0-0, although arguably been second best in each fixture. I think Brest will have the lion's share of possession here and probably have the better chances. Whether or not they can take one I’m not sure. Until Furlan gets their attack properly firing then they might have to resort to playing more conservatively on their travels, similar to how they ground out a 0-0 at GFC on the opening day. Brest +0.5 is actually a pretty good price @ around the 1.85 mark. I’d say there’s a good chance they won't lose here. But backing away teams in France isn’t usually a great idea unless you’re taking a big power side or a superb value line. All it takes is for Red Star to get their noses in front and they’ll be like a dog with a bone, defending like beavers. I think something like 0-0 or 0-1 is very possible and don’t expect a classic. I won't bet on the game, but for those who are feeling brave then Brest might be worth backing for a small stake.

Prediction: 0-0
Recommended bet: None

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