France Ligue 2 – Valenciennes v Laval Preview (26/8/16)

VA-LAV

Valenciennes preview

VA went nearly 400 minutes without conceding a goal in a competitive match to start the season off with, but that all came to a grinding halt last week. Brest put three past them and they lose 2-3 thanks to a late goal. Valenciennes haven't looked too bad this year though and have generally been solid at the back. Sometimes they lack offensive firepower but there’s some decent youth here along with experience veterans who know how this ligue works. VA drew a lot of games at home last season and that can sometimes be their issue, converting one point into three. VA have some guys on the sidelines but no new injuries to worry about.

Laval preview

Les Tangos only have two points to their name and have only scored one goal in the ligue so far this season. This isn’t a surprise, they have one of the worst squads in the division, have an extremely negative manager and it was expected they be involved in a lot of low scoring draws this season. Laval played on Tuesday night in the cup away against Orleans and managed to prevail on penalty after a 0-0 draw. They fielded a fairly strong side in that fixture so might be lacking both physically and mentally tonight. The defensive duo of Malik Couturier & Appindangoye are both injured, as is goalkeeper Lionel Cappone.

Conclusion & betting analysis

This won’t be a classic by any means. Laval are the exact same in every match and especially away from home they will park the bus against anyone. They can be difficult to break down and this will be Valenciennes’ problem. But I just wonder what they’re going to have left in their tank after 120 mins of action only three nights ago? VA meanwhile, have had a full week to prepare and this could be significant, especially in the second half when Laval will likely tire. Valenciennes are as big as 1.97 on a -0.25 handicap which looks miles too much of a big price to me. The draw risk is probably higher than in some fixtures, but at least only half would be lost if that occurred. I just see something like 1-0 or 2-0 as being very likely scorelines here. Laval rarely offer much threat, and combine that with VA’s strong defence. Only one goal would probably be needed to win. 0-0 is a danger but I’m certainly very happy to back the hosts on this -0.25 line.

Prediction: 1-0
Recommended bet 1 unit: Valenciennes -0.25 @ 1.97 (minimum odds acceptable 1.75)