France Ligue 1 – Bastia v Nice Preview (20/1/17)

Bastia preview

  • The Corsicans fell to a narrow 0-1 defeat away against Nancy last weekend. They’ve had a tough run of fixtures recently and things don’t get any easier against Nice.
  • The home side are only outside of the relegation zone by virtue of goal difference and it looks set to be a long season avoiding the drop. Bastia are usually tough to beat at home though and won’t give in easily.
  • Squad condition is poor with many absences in all areas of the field. The most notable losses are midfielder Lassana Coulibaly and striker Enzo Crivelli. This will be far from their strongest lineup though and the squad doesn’t have much depth.
  • New midfielder Prince Oniangue could make his debut. He is a player I’ve always rated in Ligue 1 and often pops up with a goal from midfield.

Nice preview

  • Back to back 0-0 draws, the most recent at home to bottom club Metz has set Nice back somewhat. Monaco have moved ahead of them on goal difference at the top of the table.
  • Lack of goals has been a recent problem, but the return of key man Mario Balotelli gives them a massive boost. The sheer presence of him upfront could be the difference maker in a game like this.
  • Quite what sort of service he’ll get is questionable though. The duo of Jean Michel Seri & Younes Belhanda ar both ruled out and they usually supply most of Nice’s goals.
  • The visitors also have at least half a dozen other players ruled out injured. The most recent casualties are to the defensive duo of Ricardo Pereira & Paul Baysse, both of whom would have likely started here.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • This is a crunch derby game between two teams who hate each other. This match has a history of violence both on and off the field, and as a result Nice fans are banned from attending the game.
  • I’m expecting a lot of commitment from both teams and there could be a few cards in the game. In all probability there a high chance of someone getting sent off which makes the game more variable.
  • This fixture has never ended 0-0 but there will never be a better chance of it occurring. Neither side is at full strength going forwards and I expect the encounter to be devoid of chances.
  • Nice looked fairly toothless against Metz last week. The return of Balotelli will help them but he can't do all the work on his own. Nice are -0.25 favourites, but I don't fancy them much. If I had to take a side then it’d be Bastia +0.25.
  • The goal line is set at 2.25 and seems a little high. I would back the under here but this isn’t really my sort of bet, so I’ll leave the game alone.

Prediction: 0-0

Recommended bet: None

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