France Ligue 2 – Lens v Nines Preview (21/1/17)

Lens preview

  • Last gasp win away against Tours last week (3-2) puts them second in the table and Lens are in a great run of form, only losing 1 of their last 9 games.
  • Finally, they are converting draws into victories and their goalscoring abilities seem to have increased. They look like netting more than once per game which is really going to help them out.
  • Left wing back Karim Hafez is on international duty with Egypt. Nobody else of significance is ruled out though and the squad is in a pretty settled, stable condition at the moment.
  • New fullback signing Daniel Opare, on loan from Augsburg is included in the squad and could make his debut today.

Nimes preview

  • Despite several absences, Nimes started 2017 in solid fashion by drawing 0-0 against Le Havre at home. It was a match they probably should've won but Les Crocos didn’t take their chances.
  • This will be a concern again with key striker Rachid Alioui on international duty and winger Christian Kouakou injured. Both of these guys have combined for plenty of goals and assists this season.
  • Important defensive midfielder Larry Azouni and goalkeeper Gauthier Gallon are also ruled out due to African Nations duty and injury respectively.
  • Nimes have the third best away record in the ligue but have lost 2 of their last 3 on the road at disappointing locations Orleans & Auxerre.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • This is a good time to be facing Nimes and it’s up to Lens to take advantage. I said the same about Le Havre last week and Nimes produced a surprisingly good display, but Lens are a much better team at the moment.
  • Nimes are a naturally attack minded side and I think they’ll come here with positive intentions. However, without key men like Alioui and Kouakou I can’t be confident they will have a clinical touch. It’s possible Les Crocos draw a blank again.
  • Lens did have a knack of drawing too many games but seem to have ironed that out of their system recently. The hosts are however a poor price around the 1.60 mark.
  • The goal line is also too high, with over 2.5 and odds-on price. Normally, I would quite like the overs in a fixture like this one but Nimes’ potential issues upfront puts me off.
  • Lens really should be winning the game, the question is by how many goals. Their handicap is either a -1 or a skinny -0.75 line. I don’t think there is any value here to get involved. The hosts should win but I can’t be backing them at this price.

Prediction: 2-0

Recommended bet: None