Africa Cup of Nations – Gabon v Cameroon Preview (22/1/17)

Gabon preview

The host nation are in danger of being knocked out before the quarter finals. This would be the first time since 1994 that this occurred to a tournament host. So Gabon will be desperate to avoid that distinction but need to really improve upon recent displays. So far, the Panthers have been well below par, only drawing against minnows Guinea Bissau and then labouring to a 1-1 draw with Burkina Faso. Gabon just haven’t ‘looked right’ although haven't been helped by the injuries to Mario Lemina and Johann Obiang. Their key midfielder is ruled out for the rest of the tournament whilst the left back won’t be fit to face Cameroon. Gabon could do without these problems. More and more Pierre Emerick Aubameyang is becoming an isolated star in the team. He’s scored in both games so far, but hardly had many opportunities and service to him has been poor, save for the excellent crosses from Denis Bouanga who is their one other shining light offensively.

Cameroon preview

The Indomitable lions know that a draw would be enough to see them progress. However, a defeat would almost certainly see them get knocked out of the tournament. Cameroon don’t seem like the sort of side who would be able to play for a draw anyway, their natural offensive nature would likely shine through most of the time. Hugo Broos’ men have looked quite good to me in this tournament. For an hour they outplayed Burkina Faso in a match they arguably should have won. They did well to come from behind to beat Guinea Bissau in their most recent affair and offensively I feel this team could have scored even more goals. Key striker Vincent Aboubakar came back into the side for that encounter and having him alongside Benjamin Moukandjo is a powerful duo. Cameroon have to make sure they aren’t too timid here but know they have the weapons to respond, should they need them.

Conclusion & betting analysis

At some stage, you’d have to think something gives in this game. Gabon realistically need to win to progress. There’s an outside chance that a draw would be enough for them, but there's no way they can possibly think that way. Maybe the host nation could keep things tight for an hour but they will have to ‘go for it’ at some point. Cameroon can be content with a draw but the strength of this team is in attack, not at the back. With that in mind, I could see them favouring a positive mentality. It’s obvious Gabon are fragile at the moment so why not try and take advantage? Whenever the first goal is scored, the other team team simply has to react here. I have no idea who is going to win but I’m happy to back over 2 goals. Unless it stays 0-0 for 80 mins or more, than I think at worst this match will contain a couple of goals. If the deadlock is broken early then this should result in a full winner.

Prediction: Gabon 1-2 Cameroon

Recommended bet: Over 2 goals @ 1.95 (minimum odds acceptable 1.75)