Monthly Archives: September 2016

France Ligue 2 – Strasbourg v Valenciennes Preview (1/10/16)

rcs-vaStrasbourg preview

  • Suffered just one loss all season but a recent run of just 1 win in 6 has hindered their progress.
  • Nevertheless, they are strong at home and a win would put them on the back of the leaders once again.
  • Regular defensive duo Ernest Seka & Eric Marester both miss this match because of injury. Seka is an influential figure, yet to miss a game this term.
  • Pacey striker Stephan Bahoken is ruled out too, but key midfielder Jeremy Grimm returns.
  • Strasbourg have only scored 9 goals in 9 games which is significantly less than most other teams in the promotion hunt.

Valenciennes preview

  • Somehow managed to lose against local rivals Lens last week, succumbing to a last minute goal in a match they should’ve won.
  • Have drawn 5 of their 9 matches and are usually hard to beat. Lack of victories often hinders their progress though.
  • The defensive duo of Ahmed Kantari & Loris Nery - who would both be starters, are ruled out.
  • Their gameplan away from home is usually quite negative and I don’t expect them to take too many risks here.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Both teams have drawn 3 of their 9 matches 0-0 and are no strangers to an all square match.
  • Strasbourg are 1.75 favourites which looks too short. This is a tough place to visit and they are well supported but there isn’t such a big difference between the two teams.
  • The defensive absences on each side might make a difference but this still has an overall feel of a really tight match.
  • If I was to take anything here then it’d be Valenciennes +0.75. They rarely lose a match and if they do, it’s most likely by a tight margin.
  • However, the risk of a 1-0 or 2-0 win is too high. Strasbourg could easily grab a goal and then just try to hold on.
  • Overall, I’m happy to swerve this match. Ligue 2 has been really difficult for me to predict of late and I will wait until after the international break to lick my wounds in it.

Prediction: 0-0

Recommended bet: None

France Ligue 2 – Niort v Orleans Preview (30/9/16)

niort-orlNiort preview

  • Relieved to have finally picked up their first victory last week as they managed to grind out a 1-0 success away at Red Star.
  • Niort are still far from convincing though and the general standard of their performances have been really poor this season.
  • Coach Denis Renaud remains under pressure. That’s especially the case at home where Les Chamois have delivered a number of sub-standard displays.
  • The fullback duo Tristan Lahaye & Jonathan Brison remain out injured.

Orleans preview

  • The newly promoted outfit have lost 3 of their last 4 games and drifted off form recently.
  • The Orleans defence was difficult to penetrate in early matches, but a total of 10 goals have been conceded in their last four fixtures.
  • Centre back Matthieu Chemin is suspended & key playmaker Karim Ziani is rated doubtful because of injury.
  • Have lost 3 out of 4 away games and don’t seem comfortable on the road.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • This is a battle between 16th and 17th in the table and I expect it’ll be a fairly poor match.
  • Neither side is playing very well at the moment and will be afraid to lose.
  • Due to recent defensive issues it’s likely that Orleans will come here with a defensive gameplan and make themselves difficult to break down.
  • Niort have issues scoring goals so this one could end up as a stalemate, unlikely to open up unless the deadlock is broken early.
  • Niort are a -0.25 favourite with the bookies and this looks spot on to me.
  • It’s quite simply not a match I have any interest in betting on. I’d say it’s a strong 0-0 contender and one goal either way from a set piece or something could be the difference.

Prediction: 0-0

Recommended bet: None

France Ligue 2 – Nimes v Bourg-en-Bresse Preview (30/9/16)

no-bpNimes preview

  • After failing to win any of their first five games, Nimes have now won 3 out of 4 and have moved up into the top half of the table.
  • Les Crocos have actually played some of the best football out of anyone this season and many would argue they deserve to be higher in the standings.
  • Left back Zie Diabate & midfielder Teji Savanier both miss out again because of suspension. Neither have featured much due to various bans so far this campaign.
  • Nimes’ injury situation is very favourable with only winger Karim Ait Fana ruled out, and he wouldn't be a guaranteed starter anyway.
  • Usually a strong home team, but yet to pick up three points in front of their home fans in four attempts.

Bourg-en-Bresse preview

  • Unbeaten in five matches and have looked much better since their poor start to the campaign.
  • Still a number of guys out injured, but most have now been on the sidelines for a while. They have no new injuries or suspensions to worry about.
  • Usually quite a positive team and carry a threat going forwards.
  • Have surprisingly kept back to back clean sheets, albeit against two poor teams Laval & Tours.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Nimes are odds-on to win this match but this is not very appealing. The hosts have yet to win here this season and Bourg-en-Bresse are in decent form.
  • That said, there’s still a strong chance of a Nimes win. They have extra quality in certain areas which could make all the difference.
  • This should be an open game of football between two teams who are usually very attack minded for Ligue 2 standards.
  • I’m expecting an end to end type game with chances for both.
  • The bookies aren’t giving much away and the goal line is set at 2.5, with the over price odds-on.
  • There isn’t great value here but I’m willing to take the bet based on sheer confidence. I feel there will be enough chances which will generate at least three goals.

Prediction: 2-2

Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.5 goals @ 1.92

France Ligue 2 – Laval v Clermont Preview (30/9/16)

lav-clermLaval preview

  • Won just one game all season and currently reside inside the relegation zone.
  • Their goalscoring tally of just 5 in 9 games is a poor return, especially when you consider three were scored in one match!
  • They have few injuries to deal with and left back Erwan Quintin is the only official absentee.
  • Les Tangos can be a tough nut to crack at home and have only lost once here so far this season.

Clermont preview

  • The visitors are winless in three games but have been difficult to beat recently.
  • Number one goalkeeper Mehdi Jeannin is out of action until January with a broken wrist. This means backup custodian Marc Aurele Caillard will take the gloves.
  • The rest of the squad is in good health and they have no suspensions to worry about.
  • Clermont started the season in fairly poor form but the standard of their performances have improved since then.
  • Have faced some tough opponents recently and this might feel like an easier test.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Laval are one of the most boring teams in Ligue 2. Under the management of Denis Zanko they operate the same in most games, which is to prioritise defence.
  • I expect this to be quite a tight encounter and chances could be at a premium.
  • It’s difficult to know exactly which way the game will go. Clermont will possibly have more possession but Laval can never be underestimated here in front of their own fans.
  • Laval are slight favourites on a DNB handicap which is probably about fair.
  • The game does have a strong draw feeling surrounding it and both teams could easily cancel each other out.
  • Overall this isn’t a match I particularly want to get involved in. I don’t have a strong feeling about the contest.

Prediction: 1-1

Recommended bet: None

France Ligue 2 – Ajaccio v Brest Preview (30/9/16)

aca-brestAjaccio preview

  • Currently situated bang in the middle of the table, and as per usual have shown a big variation of results at home and away.
  • Ajaccio will always be strong in front of their own fans and have won 3 out of 4 here so far this season.
  • Winger Mouad Madri is suspended but their only other absentee is centre back Joris Sainati, who is out long term.
  • Key veteran playmaker Johan Cavalli should return after missing out with injury last week.

Brest preview

  • Joint top of the table after a morale boosting victory against promotion rivals Reims on Monday night (2-1)
  • Have only lost one game all season and remain unbeaten away from home.
  • Ligue 2 specialist manager Jean Marc Furlan appears to be working his magic once again. He’s very good at this level.
  • Experienced playmaker Bruno Grougi remains their only injury. The exact same squad which featured on Monday night is employed again.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Brest are flying high and enjoying themselves. They are a difficult side for anyone to face at the moment.
  • However, a trip to Corsica on the back of a short week is never going to be easy. Brest have lost on all of their last three visits to this stadium.
  • Ajaccio are favourites in between a -0.25 and DNB handicap. This seems fair when you consider how strong they are at home.
  • For both teams, 7 of their 9 games have all contained at least 2 goals in them.
  • With that in mind, backing over 2 goals close to the 2.0 mark looks like a decent bet.
  • This match is unlikely to be anything crazy and massively end to end. But both sides play with enough attacking intent to generate goals.
  • There’s a good chance of at least a push and the price is too good to refuse.
  • Brest have been playing well recently but I have a feeling they could come unstuck here at a difficult location.

Prediction: 2-1

Recommended bet: Over 2 goals @ 1.98

Tippeligaen – Bodo Glimt v Stromsgodset Preview (30/9/16)

bodo-sifBodo Glimt preview

  • Successive defeats has left them third from bottom in the relegation playoff position.
  • The 0-1 loss at Stabaek was especially crippling facing a direct rival and could hurt them mentally.
  • Despite the recent defeats, I still feel that Bodo are playing fairly good football. Last week they hammered Sarpsborg 4-0 in the cup quarter final.
  • Squad in good condition with no major injuries or suspensions.
  • Bodo have the third worst home record in the Tippeligaen, somewhat surprisingly when you consider their northerly location.

Stromsgodset preview

  • Their winless run in the league has now been extended to nine matches following a 1-1 draw against Odd last weekend.
  • All of their focus will now be on the cup in which they face a lower division side in the semi finals. That match isn’t for another month though.
  • Godset have generally been playing better in the last couple of weeks and aren’’t under a lot of pressure in the league.
  • Key striker Marcus Pedersen is back in the squad following injury but his physical condition is still questionable.
  • Have a poor away record which is statistically the second worst in the Tippeligaen.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Both of these teams are in the semi finals of the NM Cup which will be played at the end of October. Bodo drew the short straw and will have to travel to Rosenborg.
  • This match probably means a lot more to Bodo Glimt who are fighting for their lives. Godset look set to finish in mid-table mediocrity.
  • Goals usually flow when these two teams meet and Godset have won on both of their last two visits to Aspmyra Stadion, 4-0 and 5-3 respectively.
  • The result is hard to call. Bodo are slight underdogs with the bookies but this feels wrong considering Godset’s awful away record.
  • But with so much pressure on the home side then I’m willing to leave the match market alone.
  • I just sense a really open game of football and over 2.75 goals catches my eye. Godset have been involved in some lower scoring matches of late but recent signs are that they are starting to play better again.
  • I just don’t see defences being on top in this game and I think chances will be created at both ends. The question is whether or not they get taken.

Prediction: 2-2

Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.75 goals @ 1.89

France Ligue 1 – Rennes v Guingamp Preview (30/9/16)

ren-eagRennes preview

  • Inconsistent side who blow hot and cold. Suffered a disappointing 0-3 defeat away at Dijon last week.
  • Have a 100% home record, winning all 3 matches in front of their own fans this season.
  • Squad condition fairly good with only midfield duo Yoann Gourcuff & Clement Chantome ruled out. Starting striker Giovanni Sio returns from injury.
  • Christian Gourcuff is a positive coach who promotes attacking football. He’ll have Rennes line up in his usual 4-4-2 formation.

Guingamp preview

  • Following a good start to the season, Guingamp have now lost 2 of their last 3 games.
  • Left back Marcal, who has made a good start his life at Guingamp, is suspended for this match.
  • The visitors have a few players out injured long term but have no new casualties in this department.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Local Brittany derby and in recent years the away team has done surprisingly well, winning 5 of the last 7 meetings.
  • However, in this instance you have to favour Rennes. They have started the season very well at home and yet top drop any points at Roazhon Park.
  • This should be an attractive encounter and both managers usually like to have a go in a positive fashion.
  • Over 2.25 goals looks generously priced @ 2.01. I don't see this being a defensive match, even though it is a derby.
  • There should be enough chances at both ends for this line to cover, or at worst offer a half loss.
  • Rennes -0.25 is offered around the 1.85 mark and this is slightly tempting. But due to the fact it’s a derby game and with Guingamp having a good record here, I’ll leave this market alone.

Prediction: 2-1

Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.25 goals @ 2.01

France Ligue 2 – Tours v GFC Ajaccio Preview (30/9/16)

tfc-gfcTours preview

  • Bottom of the table with just one win all season which came against Niort.
  • Coach Fabien Mercadal is under pressure and might be close to the sack
  • Some of his squad choices for this match are strange, leaving out certain players unexpectedly like veteran Bryan Bergougnoux.
  • It just feels like he might be close to losing the dressing room, if he already hasn’t!
  • Tours have by far the worst defensive record in Ligue 2, conceding a whopping 18 goals at an average of 2 per game!

GFC Ajaccio preview

  • Struggling and are winless in five games. They did at least score a late equaliser to draw against Amiens on Tuesday night.
  • Had to play with 10 men for over 70 mins in that match so could be physically and mentally fatigued with just three days of recovery.
  • Midfielder Amos Youga is suspended, whilst the attacking duo of Robert Maah & Sekou Cisse are injured.
  • Lack of goals continues to be a big problem. They've only netted 6 in 9 games and generally don’t look very threatening going forwards.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Tours are in a mess and this might be the last chance for coach Fabien Mercadal.
  • This however, might be a good time to be playing GFCA who aren’t in great form and coming off a short week.
  • The big weakness that Tours have is in defence, but I’m not sure that GFC have the attacking firepower to take advantage.
  • The visitors are -0.25 favourites, but this looks a bit too short. It’s true that Tours aren’t playing that well but do GFC really deserve such strong favourtism on the road?
  • Over 2 goals is priced @ 2.0 and this is highly tempting. The last 9 Tours matches have all contained at least two goals.
  • This however, is counteracted by the fact that only one GFC game has ended with over 2.5 goals in it so far.
  • Overall, I sense a surprise result and that Tours might win. But who could risk betting on them right now? The over is too risky as well considering GFC’s defensive strength.

Prediction: 2-1

Recommended bet: None

France Ligue 2 – Reims v Auxerre Preview (30/9/16)

reims-ajaReims preview

  • Lost for the first time this season on Monday night, going down to a late defeat away against Brest (1-2)
  • Reims have to be respected for their ability to pick up results, but they’ve yet to really set the world alight with performances so far.
  • Still have a 100% home record, but all of their victories have been by tight margins.
  • Team news is favourable and the same squad is retained. Reims have few injuries to worry about and no new concerns.

Auxerre preview

  • Sacked coach Viorel Moldovan this week. Taking over as interim boss is David Carre.
  • Second bottom of the table and have won just a single game all season.
  • Haven’t scored a goal in any of their last six games, a run which stretches well over 540 minutes!
  • Injuries to the attacking duo of Yoann Touzghar & Alexandre Vincent might not be a bad thing and will give someone else a chance.
  • Could be highly unpredictable following the sacking of Moldovan and with a caretaker boss in charge.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Auxerre appear to be in a bit of a crisis and it could be a good time to face them before they hire a permanent manager.
  • Reims lost for the first time on Monday night and it will be interesting to see how they respond. This is their first really difficult moment of the season.
  • The hosts are rightful favourites around the 1.75 mark and are the most likely team to win this match.
  • They are a tempting bet, but Reims are coming off a short week and the change of coach might help inspire Auxerre.
  • I’m expecting a home win, but in my experience it’s always best to play safe and with some caution whenever a team changes its manager.

Prediction: 2-0

Recommended bet: None

France Ligue 2 – Lens v Red Star Preview (30/9/16)

lens-estacLens preview

  • Have lost just once all season and should be brimming with confidence after winning their last two games, one of which was a last gasp success against local rivals Valenciennes.
  • Lens are still adapting to new coach Alain Casanova and are a bit of an enigma team, capable of anything.
  • A number of new signings who were added late in the transfer window are still settling into the side as well which adds to the unpredictability factor.
  • The offense has improved in recent weeks but they haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their last six games.
  • Left wing back Anthony Scaramozzino is injured, but they have no other absences to regular starters.

Red Star preview

  • Defeat at home to Niort last time out snapped an unbeaten four match run.
  • Red Star have improved after a dodgy start and conceded just two goals in their last five games.
  • Goalscoring is a still a major problem for this team though. Red Star have only netted 4 goals in 9 games which is the lowest tally out of anyone in the entire league!
  • Midfielder Stephan Raheriharimanana is ruled out injured along with centre back Pierrick Cros. Everyone else is available apart from keeper Arnaud Balijon, out long term.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Lens definitely have extra momentum at the moment and are a short priced favourite around the 1.80 mark.
  • Red Star will almost certainly set themselves up hard to break down and their main objective will be to keep a clean sheet.
  • Lens might have issues breaking them down but will feel they only need one goal due to Red Star’s issues hitting the back of the net.
  • This match will only open up if there’s an early goal or if Lens managed to get ahead before half time.
  • I think the hosts will probably find a way to win, but I’m not willing to get involved at such a short price.

Prediction: 1-0

Recommended bet: None