I have to say the host nation were well below par in the opening game. They hardly created anything in the first half against minnows Guinea Bissau. Then when they finally did get ahead, reverted back into their shell. To be fair, there were an awful lot of nerves around and expectations were mega high. At least they didn’t lose and I think it’s likely we’ll see them much improved here. In many ways, there’s actually less pressure now and they are also facing a nation who shouldn't be as defensive. Gabon have plenty of talent in their squad and with Aubameyang upfront, they could score at any given moment.
Burkina Faso preview
The Stallions produced a lively display against Cameroon, ultimately deserving a 1-1 draw and they did well to equalise. I think it’s fair to say for about an hour they lived life on the edge though and might have easily gone 2 or 3 nil down had Cameroon taken their chances. It was worrying how open they were at the back at times, but at least going forwards we know the likes of Pitroipa, the Traore brothers and Bance are threatening players with high skill levels. For once, Burkina actually look in better physical shape too and ended their previous match looking fresher than Cameroon. No new injuries have been reported that I know of, which is a rarity, and they should be sharper after a run out in the opening match.
Conclusion & betting analysis
I think Gabon will want to prove a point here. They were too timid and scared in the opening game but should come out of their shell here and be on the front foot more. It’s time they utilised their strengths and got some key attacking players into the game more. I feel this will be an open contest containing chances and goals. Burkina Faso have a lot of fast players who are dangerous on the counter attack and we saw against Cameroon they won't fear having a good go. I’m not sure who will win, my gut feeling tells me that Gabon will just about get the job done thanks to a predicted improvement. I’m not interested in betting on the match market but over 1.75 goals catches my eye. This line seems too low in my opinion. I think there will be at least two goals scored, maybe more. Both can attack and the pitch here in Libreville is much better than in recent days in Group C & D. There’s a strong chance of at least a half win but I’m quite confident the over is fully covered.
Prediction: Gabon 2-1 Burkina Faso
Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 1.75 goals @ 1.75 (minimum odds acceptable 1.65)