France Ligue 1 – Nice v Metz Preview (15/1/16)

Nice preview

  • Top of the table during the winter break with a two point cushion. Nice have only lost one game all season and have picked up 8 out of 10 victories here at the Allianz Riviera.
  • Les Aiglons do have some squad issues ahead of the game though. Key striker Mario Balotelli is suspended, and playmaker Younes Belhanda is injured.
  • Nice also have a trio of midfielders missing for various different reasons. The absence of Jean Michel Seri to the African Nations Cup is the biggest blow.
  • At full strength in defence with a number of players back from injury who missed out just before the winter break.

Metz preview

  • A two point deduction from the league sees them bottom of the table heading into this match. Metz have only won 1 of their last 10 games and lost the majority of those fixtures.
  • Played on Wednesday night in the Coupe de la Ligue away against PSG, putting up a respectable performance, only losing 2-0. However, that fixture followed by a trip to Nice could put strain on them physically.
  • Metz are missing a lot of players either to international duty, or injury. Significantly in midfield, Mandjeck, Doukoure & Jouffre all miss out. Key striker Mevlut Erding isn’t included in the squad, whilst playmaker Yann Jouffre still isn’t fit enough either.
  • Metz don’t have a bad overall road record this season, but have now lost 5 of their last 6 on the road failing to score in all but one of those contests.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Nice are weakened in midfield and attack for this game, but should still be too strong. Metz are missing their own guys from these areas, so in that department things even themselves out.
  • I think this will be a lower scoring game than many expect. I really struggle to see how Metz will score a goal from open play and their only chance of hitting the back of the net is probably from set pieces.
  • Nice themselves could struggle in the final third but still have guys like Alassane Plea & Wylan Cyprien who offer that bit of extra class and could be game changers.
  • Part of me would like to back Nice on a -1 or -1.25 asian handicap but I’m scared they won’t fully cover. Logically, this could be a game in which they struggle to score. I think 1-0 or 2-0 is the most likely outcome.
  • Under 2.75 seems a high goal line for this game and was another temptation. But Metz are the sort of side who could collapse and concede late goals.
  • I’ll leave this game alone but I was close to pulling the trigger on a couple of bets for sure.

Prediction: 2-0

Recommended bet: None