Africa Cup of Nations – Senegal v Algeria Preview (23/1/17)

Senegal preview

 The Lions of Teranga have already qualified for the quarter finals and will play against Cameroon. With that match upcoming, it makes sense to rest some players, especially those on bookings. Coach Aliou Cisse has confirmed that he’ll ‘make some changes’ although we don’t know exactly who will start and who won’t. This certainly doesn’t mean Senegal won’t care or anything and indeed I’m sure a number of guys involved will want to catch the eye and impress. They won’t lack for motivation anyway. However, some key stars are unlikely to be available, so for those who like the idea of backing Senegal at a big price then it’s something which has to be considered.

 Algeria preview

 The Desert foxes have been extremely poor in this tournament so far. A draw against Zimbabwe was followed by defeat against North African rivals Tunisia. The defence has been especially poor, conceding a number of chances and regularly getting blown open. Algeria's chances of making it to the quarter finals are extremely thin. They have to win and also hope Zimbabwe prevail. Even then, goal difference and potentially drawing of lots would be a the deciding factor. It’s a big ask to have to rely on Zimbabwe but you never know and all Algeria can do is win. Coach Georges Leekens is on his last legs and will probably get sacked after this tournament. He’s a lame duck manager and quite how much the players will care about him is highly questionable anymore.

Conclusion & betting analysis

 Because we don’t know the exact Senegal XI, it makes this game quite difficult to bet on. Algeria are the favourites because everyone expects them to beat a ‘weakened’ side. However, if at halftime it’s obvious Algeria have no chance of qualifying then it could lead to a demoralised performance. I wouldn't want to personally trust them anyway. The bet I like is over 2 goals. This should be an open game of football, most games containing these teams are. Algeria have to go for it and there's no reason why Senegal would operate defensively. I think over 2 around the 1.70 is worth a go. At worst this should end a push and I’m anticipating a wide open first half especially, containing quite a few chances.

 Prediction: Senegal 1-3 Algeria

Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2 goals @ 1.70 (minimum odds acceptable 1.60)