France Ligue 2 – Red Star v Reims Preview (30/1/17)

Red Star preview

  • The Parisian outfit completed a shock victory away at Brest last Monday night (1-0). They were excellent for at least an hour of that contest and fully deserved to lead. Red Star had to dig deep late on but managed to hold out for the win.
  • It was the first success for new joint manager combination Pires - Robin. I am never personally a fan of this sort of arrangement but for now there should be improved morale around the club.
  • Striker Anatole Ngamukol is suspended and this is a blow because he’s a key focal point of their attack. He’s not prolific but offers a strong presence upfront. I don’t expect many other changes to the XI though.
  • We still don’t know the real style of Red Star under their new management duo. So it’s best to be cautious for a while. They were surprisingly positive against Brest last week which marked a change from the previous regime when they were pretty negative.

Reims preview

  • The Champagne side have started 2017 with just one point and have yet to score a goal. This rather sums up their major problem this season, just 23 goals scored in 21 games is a fairly poor return for a team with genuine promotion aspirations.
  • For once, Reims don’t have a bad injury situation. A few players are still ruled out but most of their important starters are fit and ready.
  • Their away record is poor, with just 1 win in 11 games. It’s true they’ve faced some good sides on their travels and drawn six of those contests, but recent poor results at Orleans and Bourg-en-Bresse show their fragility on the road.
  • Reims do at least possess the best defensive record in Ligue 2. There was a period before Christmas when they looked more vulnerable at the back, but the return of big centre half Julien Jeanvier has made them look much more solid again.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Despite only having won a single away match this season, Reims are -0.25 favourites tonight. They have the better squad on paper but considering their road struggles, I consider them unbackable in this contest.
  • Red Star don’t really possess a strong home field advantage. Atmosphere at this stadium isn’t very intimidating and they are probably better suited to playing on the road themselves.
  • The victory picked up at Brest last Monday can’t be underestimated. It’s sure to give them some much needed confidence and eases the pressure on everyone. If they can beat Brest then there’s no reason why they can’t beat Reims.
  • If I had to choose a side, then It’d be Red Star +0.25. But I can’t trust them fully and sooner or later Reims will surely win again away from home, their squad is too talented for this poor run to continue.
  • However, tonight I think a low scoring draw or home win is likely. I’m going to avoid betting on the game though due a lot of uncertainty.

Prediction: 1-0

Recommended bet: None