France Ligue 2 – Le Havre v Valenciennes Preview (10/9/16)

HAC-VA

Le Havre preview

  • The promotion favourites are winless in three matches after producing some poor performances
  • Captain and centre back Steven Fortes ruled out injured, although his form hasn’t been great anyway.
  • Squad otherwise at full strength and they welcome back right winger Zinedine Ferhat who started the season in eye catching form.
  • Bob Bradley has an excellent home record since he took charge of Le Havre nearly a year ago.

Valenciennes preview

  • Only lost one match all season and have started well, already on eight points.
  • Have a good defence and have kept 4 out of 5 clean sheets.
  • Good away record under their current coach.
  • Experienced playmaker Sebastien Roudet is injured, but they have no other new casualties.

Conclusion

HAC started the season with some impressive professional results, even if they didn’t play that well. Mixed in with an excellent 5-2 cup win at Reims, it really seemed like they were living up to the tag of promotion favourites. However, a poor outcome in the next round of the cup against lower ligue side Chateauroux was followed up by another loss at home to Troyes. Prior to the international break they could only draw 0-0 at Red Star. Bob Bradley has an excellent squad on paper, but something isn’t quite right with them and they’ve lacked penetration and offensive fluidity. Valenciennes will come here with a defensive gameplan and try to keep things tight. This Saturday afternoon fixture hasn’t yielded many goals yet this season. Three of the five games have ended 0-0, whilst the other two have ended 1-0. Teams don’t like playing at this time of day in the heat so I’m expecting another low tempo sort of game and maybe Le Havre will be frustrated again.

Prediction: 0-0

Betting analysis

In the long term I have no doubt that Le Havre will be right up there in the promotion chase. They have a great squad on paper and sooner or later their offensive weapons will start to fire more regularly. But right now they appear to be in a slight slump and I need to see more from them before I’d consider backing HAC again. The hosts are on a -0.75 handicap today which seems too short against a solid team like Valenciennes. The visitors have kept 4 out of 5 clean sheets and have some strong players at the back like Loic Nestor. If I was betting I’d side with Valenciennes +0.75 but I’m not silly enough to go against a team like HAC. The goal line is set at 2.25 and this might be too high when you consider the fixture in detail. But overall I’ll leave this fixture alone. It was a difficult night in Ligue 2 last night, once again highlighting why it’s one of the hardest leagues in the world to bet in.

Recommended bet: None