France Ligue 2 – Laval v Lens Preview (29/11/16)

Laval preview

  • New coach Marco Simone started with an excellent win away at Reims, but they came unstuck against Strasbourg on Friday night. The tough run of fixtures continues here facing Lens. It’s not be an easy start for the ex Tours boss.
  • Simone is known for his defensive mindset and tough to break down formations. We have seen Laval offer relatively little in attack so far under his management, but they do look well organised at the back.
  • Simeone has shockingly left out leading striker Dylan St Louis. I’m not sure of the reason but it’s by choice of the coach and nothing to do with injury. The same has occurred with defender Nordi Mukiele. Both of these players had previously started every fixture for Laval this season, so it’s quite a shock.
  • Centre back Malik Couturier is still injured along with defensive midfielder Adrien Monfray. Fellow man in the middle Modibo Dembele is suspended.

Lens preview

  • Alain Casanova’s northern outfit have only lost twice all season, the lowest number out of any side in the league. A number of draws have stalled their progress, but on Friday they managed to pick up a vital three points against fellow promotion rivals Le Havre.
  • Scoring goals can be a problem for this team. It’s not often they net more than once in a match and they tend to miss a lot of opportunities. That doesn’t bode particularly well ahead of a fixture in which they are likely to face a team who enjoy parking busses!
  • The Lens squad is in very good condition at the moment with very few injuries to worry about. There is a lot of consistency within their team at the moment and overall it feels like they are pretty settled.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Leaving out your best offensive talent, seemingly for personal reason shows just how unconcerned new Laval coach Marco Simeone is about scoring goals. He’ll have one objective here - avoid defeat.
  • They might be the the home side but I still expect Laval to set up very negatively. It’ll be up to Lens to try and break them down, something I’m not totally convinced will happen.
  • The visitors are -0.25 favourites, but with the risk of a draw pretty high then this probably isn’t worth taking.
  • Overall, I’m expecting a very tight match. The goal line is set between 1.75 and 2.0 which pretty much sums everything up. Someone could win 1-0 but I think this is a strong 0-0 contender, devoid of chances.

Prediction: 0-0

Recommended bet: None