France Ligue 2 – Niort v Le Havre Preview (9/12/16)

Niort preview

  • Les Chamois’ good run was ended last time out away against Reims (0-1). Denis Renaud’s men have won 6 of their last 9 games though and have been one of the big in-form sides in Ligue 2 recently.
  • Following a very dodgy start, Niort are now unbeaten in five home games and have looked pretty good in front of their own fans.
  • Squad condition is pretty good. The only real concern is to key striker and leading scorer Dona Ndoh. It would be really useful to have him around but I’d say he’s unlikely to start. A place on the bench is nevertheless a possibility.

Le Havre preview

  • Les Ciel et Marine are suddenly out of form. They’ve lost 3 of their last 5 games, winning just once during this period at lowly Laval.
  • Goalscoring has been a major issue, failing to net in 4 of their last 5. Key striker Ghislain Gimbert is suspended, whilst leading scorer Mathieu Duhamel is left out by the coach, simply due to poor recent form.
  • Leaving out such a key player is surprising, and quite a statement by coach Oswald Tanchot. HAC are once again not living up to expectations and the pressure his risen on him.
  • Away form has been better for the Normans this season. They’ll have to do without quality left back Ferland Mendy who is injured though.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • The bookies can’t separate either side here and are priced up on a DNB handicap. I personally feel this is wrong and Le Havre are a bit overrated at the moment.
  • On paper, they are of course the stronger side. But matches aren’t won on paper. With Duhamel & Gimbert not in the squad and key left back Ferland Mendy injured, I think Niort have the edge.
  • I haven’t seen much from Le Havre recently that suggests they’ll win this match. The simple fact is they aren’t performing well enough and the chemistry of the team is all wrong.
  • Taking Niort on a DNB handicap should be fairly safe. There’s a good chance of a draw here and I don’t envisage too many goals. But if either team is to win then I definitely rate Niort’s chances as higher.
  • It’s no surprise to see the goal line set at 2.0. Le Havre have been very goal-shy of late and Niort tend to operate more defensive against bigger sides. So I’ll just stick with the home DNB pick.

Prediction: 1-0

Recommended bet 1 unit: Niort DNB @ 1.96

Minimum odds acceptable: 1.75