France Ligue 2 – Nimes v Le Havre Preview (13/1/17)

Nimes preview

  • Ended 2016 fairly inconsistently, losing three but also winning two of their last five games. Their home record has been surprisingly poor this year, winning just once in nine attempts.
  • Les Crocos are affected badly by the unavailability of some key players. Striker Rachid Alioui is the joint top scorer in Ligue 2 (11 goals, 5 assists) but is on African Nations Cup duty with Morocco. One of their best midfielders, Larry Azouni also misses out because of international duty.
  • Their second leading top scorer Christian Kouakou is injured and will miss at least one more month because of a foot problem. Third highest scorer Renaud Ripart returns from injury but his condition might not be 100%.
  • Starting right back Gael Angoula is still ruled out too, but keeper Gauthier Gallon does make a return which is a boost.

Le Havre preview

  • HAC ended 2016 in eighth place and have been one of the big underachievers so far this season. The squad is loaded with talent but they simply haven't produced. A poor run of just 1 win in 7 games means coach Oswald Tanchot is under pressure heading into the new year.
  • Key defender and captain Steven Fortes is suspended. But he might have played his last game for the club anyway. A few teams have been linked to him recently, along with rising star left back Ferland Mendy. These transfer stories might have unsettled the squad a bit.
  • Everyone else is available for selection, but that was the case before the winter break and they simply didn’t make the most of their good health. A number of players have been out of form this season and can’t be relied upon.
  • Le Havre actually have one of the better away records this season and will probably come here with positive intentions. It’s a good time to face Nimes and the coach has loaded up his squad with plenty of attackers.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • This is definitely a good chance for Le Havre to get back on track. Nimes have been poor at home this season and are going to be weakened by some significant absentees.
  • The hosts have scored 27 goals this season, 17 of which came via Alioui or Kouakou who both miss out here. Their threat levels going forward is going to be significantly reduced.
  • It’s been no surprise to see Le Havre’s odds shorten as the week progressed. The bookies have this game a pure pick em’ now with both teams around the 1.95 mark on a DNB line.
  • I certainly favour Le Havre more in this contest, but there’s no way I could trust them. Something hasn't been right at the club all season and coach Oswald Tanchot is definitely under some pressure. He might even be a lame duck coach if the players don’t like him.
  • I’m going to leave the game alone. If I trusted Le Havre more then maybe I’d back them, but I can’t be sure. I think they can squeeze out a tight victory though and because of Nimes missing key attackers, there’s a good chance HAC could keep a clean sheet.

Prediction: 0-1

Recommended bet: None