France Ligue 1 – Nice v Bastia Preview (27/11/16)

Nice preview

  • Lucien Favre’s men continue to churn out results. Monaco’s win on Saturday has dropped them back down to second place but a win, or even a draw would see them reclaim top spot. In total, Nice have won 10/13 Ligue 1 games.
  • Their disappointing Europa League campaign officially ended on Thursday night following a 2-0 defeat to Schalke. I doubt this will disappoint fans too much, they simply never got going in the competition.
  • Key striker Mario Balotelli is injured and without him upfront their goal threat is significantly reduced. Nice are otherwise at full strength, minus centre back Paul Baysse who has now been missing for nearly six weeks.
  • Les Aiglons have won their last five home games and been imperious in front of their own fans this season. A lot of their victories here have been convincing, although Balotelli did play a key part in most of them.

Bastia preview

  • Saturday’s results have seen the Corsican outfit move into the relegation zone. Francois Ciccolini’s side haven’t won any of their last six games.
  • As per usual, Bastia’s away form has been awful. They won at Lorient in early August but have since followed that up with five straight defeats.
  • SCB still have injury problems in defence but they do at least welcome back three players from suspension. Two of them, Leca (GK) & Cahuzac (DM) are considered extremely important.
  • Bastia don’t lack for heart which can be important in a fierce derby match like this one. If the game is stop start and physical, it will probably suit them better.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • This is a big Mediterranean derby and both teams hate each other. There is a huge rivalry and this fixture has historically seen plenty of bad blood.
  • Bastia have surprisingly won on both of their last two visits to Nice. Their awful away form almost has to be discounted due to the nature of the fixture. They will be fighting for their lives which makes them a dangerous animal.
  • Nice are 1.65 favourites but I’m not interested in backing them without Mario Balotelli. He’s a big loss and would be extremely useful in a fixture like this one.
  • Literally anything is possible here. Expect the unexpected. There’s a strong chance of a lot of cards and probably a sending off, along with numerous penalty appeals.
  • For a betting point of view, nothing much interests me. This is a highly volatile fixture which could certainly be an interesting game to watch. But the unpredictable nature worries me too much and it simply has to be swerved pre match.

Prediction: 1-1

Recommended bet: None