Monthly Archives: November 2016

France Ligue 1 – PSG v Angers Preview (30/11/16)

PSG preview

  • The champions obtained a vital 2-1 win against rivals Lyon on Sunday night. They put in a pretty good away performance considering the opposition and it was quite a statement victory.
  • This midweek encounter could see the coach make a number of changes as squad rotation occurs. Angel Di Maria returns from injury, but whether or not he’ll be risked to start is questionable.
  • Blaise Matuidi, Javier Pastore & Adrien Rabiot will definitely be missing from the midfield but PSG have loads of quality depth.
  • They are unbeaten at home and only conceded one goal in front of their own fans so far this season.

Angers preview

  • The visitors have been inconsistent this season but are generally tough to beat. They are situated in 10th spot and are the definition of a true midtable side.
  • Key midfielder Cheikh N’Doye and centre back Romain Thomas both return after suspension. It will aid their cause massively having these guys back. However, Yoann Andreu is banned so someone will have to fill in at left back.
  • Nobody is injured for Angers apart from attacker Billy Ketkeo who is ruled out long term.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • PSG are a -2 Asian handicap favourite tonight. This is understandable, although whether they’ll fully cover it I’m not sure.
  • There’s a strong chance that PSG will win to nil. They might not be as offensively dominant under Unai Emery but they tend to concede relatively few chances under his management.
  • Angers got smashed here 5-1 last season but don’t usually get blown out by anyone. They can be hard to break down and there’s a suggestion they’ll line up with a back five here to make things awkward for PSG.
  • The 2-0 scoreline is actually the most likely outcome. I’d be surprised if PSG dropped points here but at the same time they could labour towards victory.
  • If I had to bet I’d side with the +2 or under 3 lines, but I have no intention of getting involved here. Overall, I don’t think it’s a great match to bet on.

Prediction: 2-0

Recommended bet: None

France Ligue 1 – Toulouse v Montpellier Preview (30/11/16)

Toulouse preview

  • TFC are winless in five games, their worst period of results since Pascal Dupraz took charge of the club. Back to back home defeats against Lyon and Metz mean they’ll be trying to avoid a hat-trick of losses in front of their own fans.
  • Toulouse had a lot of momentum at the start of the season, but maybe their fire has gone out a little. Key defender Christophe Julien is suspended here and midfielder Alexis Blin rated doubtful.
  • Centre back Issa Diop remains out too, along with playmaker Oscar Trejo. The squad could certainly be in healthier condition, although at least they’ve had a five day period of rest considering their most recent fixture was on Friday night.

Montpellier preview

  • The visitors have only lost 1 of their last 7 games and are in reasonably good form. They were frustrated by Nancy at the weekend, held to a 0-0 at home. This was one of the few games in which they failed to score this season, but also a rare instance when MHSC kept a clean sheet.
  • This isn’t particularly the norm. Most Montpellier matches of late have been quite exciting, end to end contests. They've been willing to ‘have a go’ in nearly every fixture. Coach Frederic Hantz isn’t afraid to take the game to the opposition away from home either.
  • Playmaker Stephane Sessegnon is suspended and striker Souleymane Camara injured. This should give a chance for the often forgotten Kevin Berigaud to start in attack.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • This is a battle between two teams seemingly in contrasting form. Toulouse have struggled of late whilst Montpellier are picking up results.
  • The fact that TFC are a -0.25 home favourite is pretty fair. If you forget about their previous two home games Pascal Dupraz has a superb record at this stadium since he took charge of the club.
  • The extra day of rest could be important for Toulouse as well and they should be pretty fresh. Montpellier should be relatively well rested too so I think both sides will have plenty of bring to the table.
  • I think this will be quite an open contest and over 2.25 is my preferred pick. Quite a lot of TFC’s home games have ended over, and the same can be said for Montpellier all round.
  • The fact that both teams come into the game on the back of an under fixture probably inflates this price, which is fine by me. I expect both teams to score and someone to either win 2-1 or a 2-2 draw.

Prediction: 2-2

Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.25 goals @ 1.95

France Ligue 1 – St Etienne v Marseille Preview (30/11/16)

St Etienne preview

  • Sainte came from behind to beat Angers 2-1 away from home on Sunday. This was just their second win in six games and a much needed boost.
  • With their involvement in the Europa League, Les Verts are used to playing in midweek but this is a hectic period for the club and understandably some players are struggling physically. Some rotation could take place.
  • The hosts aren't helped by two suspensions to regular starters. Both are at the back with Leo Lacroix and Kevin Malcuit banned. Upfront, big striker Nolan Roux is injured.
  • Sainte have only lost once at home this season but a collection of draws has stalled their progress, especially recently.

Marseille preview

  • Just one win so far for new coach Rudi Garcia. They come into this match on the back of a 4-0 defeat at Monaco.
  • Marseille have struggled once again this season and it could take some time for the new boss to sort them out.
  • Key midfielder Lassana Diarra is injured and ruled out of this contest, which is a blow. The coach might look to shake things up following such a disappointing defeat.
  • OM have the third worst away record this season, losing 5 out of 7 on the road.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • OM haven’t actually lost against Sainte in any of their last six meetings. But the hosts are favourites tonight, and understandably so.
  • Marseille aren’t in great form and just seem pretty flat at the moment. I’d imagine Rudi Garcia will try and make them hard to break down here, which might be effective because Sainte aren’t the heaviest scoring of sides.
  • With the hosts on a -0.25 handicap, this seems pretty fair to me. A home win is the most likely outcome but the risk of a draw is also pretty high.
  • Nothing tempts me here and a low scoring draw or home win seems probable. I wouldn’t even rule out a 0-0.

Prediction: 1-1

Recommended bet: None

France Ligue 1 – Nantes v Lyon Preview (30/11/16)

Nantes preview

  • Les Canaris continued their poor form at the weekend when they could only draw 0-0 at home to lowly Lille. Nantes are now inside the relegation zone and have only won three games all season.
  • The hosts have scored a measly nine goals, which is the second worst tally in the entire league behind Nancy. They simply don’t create many chances either, which is probably the biggest concern. Couple that with a lack of quality strikers and it’s no surprise to see them struggling to find the net.
  • The squad continues to be in good condition with few injuries. This has been the case for a few weeks so they have no excuses in this department. Attacking midfielder Adrien Thomasson is suspended for tonight’s match.
  • Nantes have the worst home record of anyone in Ligue 1. Their statistics read 1-3-3, netting just three goals in the process. This is quite frankly appalling and actually majorly embarrassing for a side that receives such good support. Fans are restless though and don't like the off field regime.

Lyon preview

  • Defeat at home to PSG on Sunday night snapped a good period for OL. They had won three in a row and also enjoyed some decent Champions League success.
  • OL were unlucky to lose that match and played a very good second half against the champions. The question now is how much that loss deflated the team. Can they bounce back quickly?
  • Squad condition is good with only defenders ruled out. None can be classed as very important though. Jallet has been missing for a while, the jury is still out with Mammana & Nicolas Nkoulou has become a very poor player considering what he was a few years ago.
  • Lyon do possess the fourth best away record in the league but have already lost three times on their travels, a couple of those at Lorient and Dijon which is fairly concerning.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Lyon recently beat Lille 1-0 and afterwards their opponents sacked coach Frederic Antonetti. A similar outcome here could see Nantes do the same with Rene Girard. He is under a lot of pressure and Nantes have been dreadfully disappointing so far this season.
  • Lyon are a -0.25 away favourite and this is no surprise. They probably deserve to be even shorter and few could complain if they were an odds-on price. Lyon are much the better team at the moment and really should get the job done.
  • The only doubt is whether they can break down a sometimes resolute Nantes backline. However, Lyon have enough individual players like Alexandre Lacazette who have the quality to win games on their own.
  • Lyon are one of the top teams in this league so I have no concerns backing them on the road. A -0.25 handicap seems fairly safe and the chances of them actually losing the game is low.
  • I don’t expect this to be a classic and Nantes’ low scoring nature probably ensures this game ends an under. For those looking for a good correct score bet then 0-1 or 0-2 are the most likely outcomes.

Prediction: 0-2

Recommended bet 1 unit: Lyon -0.25 @ 1.88

France Ligue 1 – Nancy v Metz Preview (30/11/16)

Nancy preview

  • Perhaps unconvincingly, Nancy have managed to only suffer one defeat in their last five games. That was the freak 0-6 against Monaco and can almost be classed as an exception. Nancy have otherwise looked fairly solid at the back, keeping three clean sheets.
  • This is still a poor team and nowhere near as enterprising as they were last season in Ligue 2. Nancy lack the offensive firepower or gameplan to be much of a threat in Ligue 1. They are going to have to fight for their lives to avoid relegation.
  • The coach has decided to stay faithful with most of the players who have been picking up the positive results recently. Y#This means that the likes of Mickael Chretien & Eric Cabaco at the back are left out. In attack, Anthony Robic is ditched in favour of pacey forward Anthony Koura.

Metz preview

  • Les Grenats did well to come from 1-3 down to draw 3-3 against Lorient at the weekend. They are now unbeaten in three games and positioned in midtable. I still feel they are one of the weakest sides in Ligue 1, punching above their weight.
  • Key striker Mevlut Erding remains injured which is a blow. Maybe Thibaut Vion will come into the side here. He scored both the late goals that earned them a draw vs Lorient.
  • Metz have a surprisingly good away record, winning three times on their travels already. The six goals they've conceded on the road is one of the best records in the entire league.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • The first thing to mention here is that this is a big Lorraine derby between two teams who hate each other. It’s a massive occasion and for both sides these fixtures are easily their most important of the season.
  • Metz have a great record in these contests, only losing 1 of the last 13 head to head meetings. Both games between the two ended as draws in the second tier last season.
  • Nancy are -0.25 favourites and this seems about fair. They are the most likely victors due to home advantage. I also think they might be slightly better than Metz, although there’s not an awful lot to choose between the two sides. Neither is particularly good at Ligue 1 level.
  • It’s going to be a nervous affair and literally anything could happen. The two results last season, 2-2 and 0-0 demonstrate this. It could be an open affair or tight and cagey, I really have no idea which way it’ll go.
  • With matches like this, unless you have a strong feeling or there is a clear edge for a certain side, then the best option is always to refrain from betting.

Prediction: 1-1

Recommended bet: None

France Ligue 1 – Guingamp v Nice Preview (30/11/16)

Guingamp preview

  • For the third straight game, Guingamp came from behind to equalise in the last 10 mins to earn a draw. This team has some great fighting spirit and never knows when it's beaten. Les Costamoricains remain in fifth place which is an excellent position at the end of November, far higher than they expected.
  • Antoine Kombouare’s men are unbeaten at home this season, winning four timers and drawing twice at Le Stade Roudourou. EAG have only conceded three goals in front of their own fans.
  • Injury news is favourable with both right back Jordan Ikoko and midfielder Etienne Didot returning from injury. Striker Sloan Privat is ruled out but he’s only really been used primarily as a bench/ impact player recently.

Nice preview

  • Les Aiglons were still top of the pile entering this round of matches. Monaco’s draw on Tuesday night also aids their cause. However, Nice themselves have been far from perfect of late and cracks are starting to appear.
  • Defeat at Caen and a draw at home to Bastia have to be classed as dropped points. Now they face an even tougher match away to high flying Guingamp, and they’ll travel without key striker Mario Balotelli who remains injured.
  • The rest of the Nice squad isn’t in bad condition but we could see some rotation. The visitors have been involved in the Europa League this season so are used to playing midweek, but it’s still a physical detriment and I’ve seen recent signs of fatigue in this squad.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Nice have a fairly good record in this fixture, winning in 3 of their last 4 visits to Le Stade Roudourou. This includes a memorable 7-2 victory a couple of years ago!  However, right now it looks like they’ll be in for a difficult night.
  • Guingamp are really hard to beat at the moment, especially at home. This match has a really strong feeling of a draw about it. The bookies can’t seem to separate either team and a DNB handicap is offered. This seems about fair.
  • There’s a chance this could be an open game of football. But without Mario Balotelli I don’t think the overs can really be backed in any Nice game. When over 2.25 is around the 1.90 mark, there simply isn’t enough temptation.
  • There is nothing here which appeals to me and it’s another game I’m happy to leave alone. If I was to bet anything it would actually be directly on the draw. I just don’t see either team getting beaten here.

Prediction: 1-1

Recommended bet: None

France Ligue 1 – Bastia v Bordeaux Preview (30/11/16)

Bastia preview

  • The Corsicans haven’t won any of their last seven games but have been fighting hard for draws recently. They’ve managed to eek out three points out of four and grafted with honour against Lyon with 9 men, only losing 2-1 on that occasion.
  • The squad has limited quality, but great heart. Bastia are also very strong at home where they can never be underestimated. This is a difficult place for any side to visit and only PSG and Angers have beaten them here this season.
  • Powerful striker Enzo Crivelli won’t play here because Bordeaux are his parent club. This is a blow because he’s quite a focal point upfront. SCB are boosted by the return of defender Alexander Djiku in the squad for the first time since August.

Bordeaux preview

  • Les Girondins turned around a 1-2 deficit to beat Dijon thanks to a couple of late Francois Kamano goals on Saturday night. He’ll now be pressing for a start against his former club and brimming with confidence.
  • Bordeaux can be a very inconsistent team, certainly in terms of performances. They are however unbeaten in six games and making reasonable progress under new coach Jocelyn Gourvennec. Les Girondins are up to sixth spot in the table and proving difficult to beat.
  • Their injury situation isn’t too bad. The coach has left out a few players for this game, either for tactical or physical reasons. With this being a midweek fixture I could see them rotating the XI around which makes them unpredictable. Bordeaux’s away record is an up and down 2-3-2.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • The away team haven’t won any of the previous ten head to head meetings. All of the last seven contests have ended under 2.5 goals. Matches between these two sides are usually quite tight, containing few chances.
  • Most Bastia home games have ended under 2.5 this season. The fairly poor pitch at Le Stade Furiani doesn’t help matters. They are also quite compact under Francois Ciccolini and pretty goal shy, netting just 11 times in 14 games.
  • Bordeaux are -0.25 favourites tonight which I’m not too sure about. They are the better team on paper, but Bordeaux are hardly a ‘power side’ and this is a very tricky location to visit.
  • An away win is the most likely outcome nevertheless. Bastia have often played poorly in midweek rounds and are obviously not in great form. This match doesn’t interest me from a betting point of view.

Prediction: 0-0

Recommended bet: None

MLS Playoffs – Toronto FC v Montreal Impact Preview (30/11/16)

Toronto FC preview

It looked like Greg Vanney’s men were down and out of the first leg when they were losing 3-0. But somehow, almost out of nowhere they managed to dig deep and score a couple of away goals which now makes them favourites to progress to the MLS Cup Final. The dangling carrot is of a vast size. Should they manage to prevail in this tie then TFC would actually host the final against Seattle. All they need to do is win 1-0, 2-1, or by a bigger margin. Sounds simple, right? Well, they’ll be tested hard by a strong Montreal team who for the majority of last week engineered a well orchestrated gameplan. Vanney deserves plenty of credit for his substitutions last week, with Toussaint Rickets and Will Johnson both making a big impact. There’s a really strong case to be starting Johnson right from the off here. He adds more experience and bite to the midfield and surely deserved rewarding after his performance. TFC have a doubt in defence with Eriq Zavaleta suffering a minor injury in training, but he should suit up. There are no concerns about their three key men, Giovinco, Altidore & Michael Bradley. How that trio perform could be the decisive factor determining success or failure.

Montreal Impact preview

In some ways, the Impact are in a similar position to the previous round when they took a 1-0 lead to New York. The difference on this occasion is that they have no safety net. A 1-0 or 2-1 loss would be crippling and even a 3-2 wouldn’t necessarily give them progression. Montreal are almost in a position where they need to draw or win. Again, that sounds simplistic enough but it’ll be an extremely difficult task. I expect the visitors to approach the game how they did in New York. The aim will be to keep it as tight as possible for a while, and then wait for their opponents to open up. One thing that must be mentioned is how lucky they were in the opening 20 mins in New York though, even surviving a missed penalty. I’m sure TFC will put them under immense pressure early on, and perhaps on this occasion they won’t get away with it. Montreal do possess surprising offensive strength though and the likes of Piatti, Oduro, Mancosu or even Didier Drogba from the bench can’t be underestimated.

Conclusion & betting analysis

There are two ways this match will go. The first possibility is that it’s a tight edgy game for an hour or more, leading to a dramatic finale when Toronto go in search of the goal they need. In that instance then perhaps a 1-0 home win or a late Montreal strike on the counter is to be expected. The second alternative is that an early goal is scored at either end, leading to an end to end contest with which anything is possible. Toronto coach Greg Vanney has talked about being patient, but I have to believe TFC will come hard and Montreal early, looking to get on the front foot and gain the advantage. The hosts are a strong favourite with the bookies and on a -1 Asian handicap TFC even reach odds-on. This seems too short to me, after all Giovinco and company only actually have to win by one goal and it could be enough to see them prevail. I could see TFC prevailing, but if they got desperate then it’s possible the Impact could take advantage. Therefore, my preferred pick is over 2.75 goals. At some stage, someone is going to have to react here. The only danger is if it stays 0-0 for a long time. If a goal is scored before halftime then I could see things going really crazy and opening up. I wouldn't be at all surprised if this ended 3-2 and extra time was needed.

Prediction: 3-2

Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.75 goals @ 1.83

France Ligue 2 – Sochaux v Bourg-en-Bresse Preview (29/11/16)

Sochaux preview

  • Back to back wins have got them back on track following a stumbling period. Les Lionceaux did very well to beat GFCA on Friday night because they played with 10 men for the whole of the second half.
  • Perhaps they could pay for that physically here, but the overall mood in the camp should be much better now. They are back up to seventh in the table and bang in the promotion hunt. Sochaux have only lost three times all season.
  • Right back Mickael Alphonse who has played every single minute this season is suspended. Midfielder Ilaimaharitra is injured along with winger Florian Martin who has been missing for a couple of months now.

Bourg-en-Bresse preview

  • The visitors are back in form. They are now unbeaten in four games and the goals are starting to flow again. They needed three at Valenciennes, then thrashed Red Star 4-1 on Friday night.
  • Bourg have a few injuries to contend with. At the back Ange Digbeu & Quentin Martin are ruled out. Bruce Abdoulaye returns, but there are doubts surrounding his fitness following a fairly lengthy layoff.
  • Attacker Romain Del Castillo is another ruled out, and a few guys are reported to be carrying some knocks. So Bourg aren’t the healthiest of sides heading into this contest.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Both sides come into the contest with question marks surrounding fitness. Sochaux played 45 mins with 10 men on Friday and I have the feeling this could be a low tempo game.
  • I’m not sure what either side is going to have left in the tank so it makes sense to expect a low scoring contest, especially as a number of Sochaux games end under.
  • Bourg are a weird side with which anything is possible. They are very hard to predict and nothing would surprise me from them here.
  • Of all the games today this is the one I have least feeling about. Sochaux are odds-on to win but I’m not interested in backing them in any form. The best advice here is to leave well alone.

Prediction: 1-1

Recommended bet: None

France Ligue 2 -Red Star v Orleans Preview (29/11/16)

Red Star preview

  • It’s now three consecutive defeats for the Parisian outfit who are sliding towards the relegation zone. They’ve played some fairly good teams recently but it's worrying how the hosts got outplayed in most of their recent contests.
  • Squad condition is excellent with only goalkeeper Arnaud Balijon ruled out long term. Everyone else is available, as has been the case for the last whole month so there’s no excuses in this department.
  • Red Star haven’t enjoyed a very good homefield advantage since they returned to Ligue 2 level. Nothing much has changed this season and they've only won twice in front of their own fans, against Tours and Laval who are both below them in the table.

Orleans preview

  • Defeat at home to Valenciennes on Friday night snapped a three game unbeaten run. Orleans are situated in 18th spot, a position they always seem to hold. It’s inevitable they’ll be battling hard against relegation for most of the campaign.
  • Injuries and suspensions hit them hard tonight. At the back, the influential Anthar Yahia (inj) and Edson Seidou (susp) are both ruled out, whilst key playmaker Karim Ziani is another casualty.
  • A few other players are carrying knocks and appear to be in poor health as Orleans try and improve their terrible away record. Their statistics are five defeats and two losses so far, the worst record in the entire division.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Orleans were perhaps unlucky to lose against Valenciennes on Friday. They were the better team in the game but failed to take their chances, something which often happens.
  • With a few players out and considering such a poor away record, then I’d say this is a good chance for Red Star to prevail. They don’t have a great home record but I think they’ll collect all three points.
  • The hosts are a really big price in a DNB handicap, around the 1.80 mark. This is simply too high and has to be backed. I actually rate them as the better team and they have a lot more factors in their favour.
  • I’d be surprised if Orleans won this game. A draw is certainly possible but I will play the percentages here and back Red Star. I doubt it’ll be much of a classic but something like 1-0 or 2-0 may well occur.

Prediction: 1-0

Recommended bet 1 unit: Red Star DNB @ 1.80