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

BREST-CLERM

Brest preview

  • Top of the table and unbeaten so far. Came from 0-2 down in stoppage time to draw against Sochaux last time out.
  • Three of their usual starting back four is unavailable tonight
  • Coach Jean Marc Furlan is a Ligue 2 specialist, obtaining numerous promotions from this level in the past.
  • Furlan’s attack minded nature is unusual for this ligue, but his magic touch appears to be working again so far.

Clermont preview

  • Had a difficult start to the season but responded well thanks to consecutive victories
  • Squad at full strength with no injuries or suspensions
  • Not usually as strong away from home but did win their last road match at Auxerre 1-0.

Conclusion

I don’t know what it is about Jean Marc Furlan in Ligue 2, but he seems to have the midas touch. Along with being a good coach at this level, luck often seems to be on his side. Somehow, Brest came form 0-2 down against Sochaux in injury time to earn a 2-2 draw just before the international break. Furlan is a manager who will always be positive, looking to win a game rather than draw it. The Breton backline will be much changed here due to the injury of Gaetan Belaud, suspension of Zakaria Diallo and the apparent drop due to poor form of left back Louis Nganioni. So Brest might be vulnerable at the back but their midfield and attack won't be changed, and it’s in that area which they’ve been most impressive. Clermont have bounced back to form thanks to a couple of recent wins, but I never trust them on the road under the management of Corinne Diacre. I feel she's too naive and will probably get sucked into a shootout by Furlan here. I expect an open game of football in which both teams score, but Brest will probably come out on top due to their extra quality in the final third.

Prediction: 3-1

Betting analysis

There are two bets that stand out to me here. I’ll start with the match market where Brest are a -0.25 favourite around the 1.85 mark. This look too generous to me for an unbeaten team who seem to be confident and transformed under the management of Furlan. Yes, their backline will be changed around but the strength of Brest is never going to be in this department. In midfield and attack they look quite slick at the moment and they have some quality finishers like Neal Maupay and Zacharie Labidi who have great technical ability at this level. I also think over 2.25 goals is worth backing. I could easily opt for the safer line of 2.0 @ around 1.80, bit in this instance I think the bigger more juicy odds are worth risking. Both teams are usually quite attack minded, which is unusual for Ligue 2 football. This should be an attractive game on the eye, containing quite a few chances and I see this as a strong over candidate.

Recommended bet 1 unit: Brest -0.25 @ 1.84 (minimum odds acceptable 1.70)

Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.25 goals @ 2.13 (minimum odds acceptable 1.80)