France Ligue 2 – Red Star v Le Havre Preview (27/8/16)

RS-HAC

Red Star preview

The hosts head into this match second bottom of the table on just a couple of points. The Parisian outfit have only scored one goal all season and generally looked quite toothless. There were at least some positives to take from their Monday night display at Reims. They came from 0-1 down to get level and then really looked in the ascendency. They ultimately didn’t push on and succumbed to a late goal but it was a big improvement on what they’d shown in their previous three games. Whether or not they can now kick on from this remains to be seen. I talked about how the squad has been pretty unsettled recently due to some impending moves away from the club. The same thing still applies here and I think the whole club will breathe a sigh of relief when this window is shut. Key playmaker Hameur Bouazza returns from injury here. Finally, as a reminder Red Star now play their home matches back in Paris at Le Stade Jean Bouin.

Le Havre preview

Things all started so rosy for Le Havre this season but they've gone off the rails in the space of a week. Firstly, they suffered a shock home loss to Troyes (1-3), then suffered complete embarrassment in the cup, going down 2-5 to lower ligue side Châteauroux 2-5 at home! Bob Bradley called that performance completely unacceptable and accused his players of not caring. I’m not sure what to make of it myself but Le Havre have been known to fail in cups before, last year they went out in similar fashion. Something isn’t quite right at the moment though and they have yet to really fire in any ligue matches yet this season. Right winger Zinedine Ferhat is inured but the rest of the squad is fully available. Le Havre haven’t generally been as good away from home under Bob Bradley but still have to be respected, because on paper they have great quality in all areas of the field.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Red Star won both meetings between the two sides last season but don’t really come into the match in great form. They've struggled in both home games, yet to score and generally been second best. Le Havre have had a difficult last week or so and I expect to see a reaction from them. Bob Bradley hasn't been very pleased with their performances and he’s the sort of motivational coach who can fire up his players to perform. He’s not a natural away tactician but I think they’ll just about have enough to find a victory today. However, I’m not confident enough to actually back HAC, even though a DNB line is offered. If Le Havre win, I don’t think it’ll be in a convincing fashion. Truth be told I don’t expect this to be much of a classic. Very hot temperatures are expected in Paris, so expect a sluggish sort of low tempo game in which one goal would possibly be enough for victory.

Prediction: 0-1
Recommended bet: None