France Ligue 2 – Lens v Reims Preview (22/10/16)

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Lens preview

  • Defeat on Monday night away against Sochaux (0-1) snapped a run of six unbeaten games. The loss was a surprise because many fancied them to do well against Les Lionceaux.
  • Nevertheless, Lens are still in seventh spot and a victory here would take them just a point off the podium. They do however, face another ‘power side’ in Reims.
  • Squad condition is excellent with no major injuries or suspensions. There is a feeling of settlement amongst the players after a frantic summer period when a lot of new guys were bought in.
  • Le Stade Felix Bollaert is the biggest in Ligue 2 and a big crowd is expected today. For the first time in a while, the fans are starting to be a help to the players, inspiring them to better performances.

Reims preview

  • The visitors also suffered a surprise defeat last week, 0-1 away against Ajaccio. They’ve now lost 2 of their last 3 games, is the Reims ship starting to hit the rocks?
  • Victory would put them back to third in the table but there are plenty of question marks surrounding their away form which is the fourth worst in the division.
  • No new injuries to worry about. Left back Samuel Bouhours continues to be left out for tactical reasons. It seems he is well out of favour with the coach even though I personally think he’s one of their best defenders.
  • Michel der Zakarian is a good tactical manager and is sure to come up with a decent gameplan here. But don’t expect Reims to be particularly aggressive. They will probably sit back and a draw would be acceptable to them.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Both teams will aim to bounce back after disappointing defeats last weekend. Each has strong promotion aspirations and this is a heavyweight contest.
  • Often, these sort of games are quite tight and I’m expecting something similar. Five of the six Reims away games this season have all ended under 2.5.
  • Lens have been playing better recently but their convincing wins have only come against Red Star & Orleans who are two poor sides. This is a more challenging contest.
  • Reims will be hard to beat and will likely make themselves difficult to break down. This match has a strong feeling of a draw about it.
  • Taking the hosts on a -0.25 is maybe a little tempting. This looks like an inflated price, perhaps bigger than it should be. However, ultimately I’m not at all convinced they can win so I’m happy to leave the game alone.

Prediction: 1-1

Recommended bet: None