France Ligue 2 – Bourg-en-Bresse v Reims Preview (13/1/17)

Bourg-en-Bresse Preview

  • Unbeaten in seven league games and the winter break came at a bad time when they had momentum. A lot of draws have been obtained during this run though and exactly half (10/20) of their games have ended all square this season, more than anyone else in the division.
  • Centre back Bruce Abdoulaye isn’t included in the squad. I’m not exactly sure why but the explanation given was by choice of the coach. He missed most of their games during the unbeaten run though so it shouldn’t impact them too much.
  • Key striker and leading scorer Lakdar Boussaha is ruled out because of injury and this is a major blow. However, the rest of the squad are all available, with the exception of long term injuries. It was a boost for the club that left back Vital N’Simba didn’t get called for by DR Congo for the African Nations Cup.
  • New signing upfront Yanis Merdji could make his debut after recently signing. He was an electrician at the start of the season, but scoring 10 goals in 11 games for a fifth division side has seen Bourg bring him in. They are hoping he ‘lights things up’ for them upfront!

Reims preview

  • Suffered a shock defeat against a fifth division side in the Coupe de France last weekend. This was the second time this season that Reims were embarrassed in a cup match. Ligue 2 is their priority though and they currently sit in second place, on track for promotion.
  • Right back Hamari Traore is unavailable due to African Nations duty, whilst centre back Antoine Conte remains unselected after being arrested last month.
  • The squad could ideally be in better condition but finally the offensive trio of Chavarria, Charbonnier & Kyei are all available at the same time to play along with Diego Rigonato. Reims have rarely had all four available this season so this should help their cause.
  • Have only won one away match so far this campaign, although drawn 6 out of 10 contests so are hard to beat.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Reims won the previous fixture between the two sides 1-0, albeit in fortunate fashion. It could be hard for them to win this match because Bourg are difficult to beat.
  • Under Michel Der Zakarian, Reims are usually quite negative away from home and keep things pretty tight. This match feels like it could be a close, low scoring contest.
  • Bourg-en-Bresse are slight underdogs with the bookies around the 2.10 mark on a DNB handicap. This doesn’t surprise me but I think the odds are wrong here, Bourg should probably be slight favourites themselves.
  • Reims have the better squad and extra quality, but they’ve flattered to deceive too much this season. Their win rate on the road is far too low and who could trust them after losing against a fifth division side last weekend?
  • The goal line is set at 2.25 and I would personally favour the under. Neither side will want to start 2017 with a loss. The pitch can be dodgy here and the forecast is for a cold night with some wind.
  • A low scoring draw is the most likely outcome and I’m happy to avoid betting on the match. This isn’t a fixture I want to get involved in.

Prediction: 0-0

Recommended bet: None

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