France Ligue 2 – Valenciennes v Reims Preview (13/8/16)

VA-REIMS

Valenciennes preview

VA have started the season fairly well and have yet to concede a goal in any competition. They hammered Clermont on the opening day, deserving to win by more than a 2-0 margin. Last week they were second best but managed to hold out for a 0-0 draw at Sochaux. I won't hold that against them though, Sochaux are playing really good stuff right now. In the midweek Coupe de la Ligue they lost against Brest on penalties and fielded a mixture of first team regulars and bench players. With an extra day of rest compared to most teams, this shouldn't affect VA too much. Faruk Hadzibegic’s men were renowned for their home draws last season but the result against Clermont was very encouraging. They did play against 10 men for the majority of the encounter but were constantly on the front foot looking to be positive. Injury news with favourable with only striker Lamine Ndao ruled out here. Left back Saliou Ciss is back in the squad after missing the first two games of the season.

Reims preview

The Champagne side suffered a shocking 2-5 reverse in the cup on Tuesday night at home to Le Havre. They conceded all five goals within a 20 minute spell in the second half. Ok, it was only the cup and they only fielded a half strong side, but it's still a worrying outcome and performance for new coach Michel der Zakarian. I have to say Reims haven’t really impressed me so far this season. I expected a lot more of them because on paper I’d say they have one of the best squads in the entire league. They were down to 10 men very early on against Amiens in game one, and were ultimately lucky to escape with a 1-1 draw. Truth be told, I didn’t think they were that great vs Bourg-en-Bresse last week either (1-0), again lucky to win against what seems to be a poor team so far. Gaetan Charbonnier is suspended here because of the red card he picked up. Reims seem ill disciplined and I’m not sure why they are leaving out Samuel Bouhours (LB) & Antoine Devaux (CM) here. Reims don’t appear to have a natural left back in their squad for this game.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Last night I had two solid DNB picks win for me in Ligue 2 and I’m going to go for another here. I’m firmly in the Valenciennes court. They have impressed me so far this year and the great performance on the opening day at this stadium springs to mind very quickly. I’ve got a feeling Reims might be a work in progress and it could take some time for Michel der Zakarian to sort them out. I’m not sure what it is, maybe an air of overconfidence and that some players expect an easy ride in this division. It’s not as simple as that. They have been indebted to backup keeper Edouard Mendy in the last two games, so it’ll be interesting to see if #1 keeper Johann Carrasso returns here. Something doesn’t seem right with Reims and I could see them struggling in this game. VA are a big price on this DNB handicap and I think they have every chance of victory. At worst, they should be able to obtain a draw. I also think over 2 goals looks a really big price @ 1.94. Both sides have attacking potential and shown a willingness to push forwards already this year. Forget the 0-0 for Valenciennes and the 1-0 for Reims last time out, each of those encounters was way more open than the scoreline suggested. I think we are looking at something like a 2-1 or 3-1 home win today and Reims could get rumbled.

Prediction: 2-1

Recommended bet 1 unit: Valenciennes DNB @ 2.13 (minimum odds acceptable 1.85)
Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2 goals @ 1.94 (minimum odds acceptable 1.75)

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