- Ended 2016 unbeaten in five games, although four of those contests ended draws. VA have been hard to beat all year but once again too many all square games have cost them.
- Home record is average with a mixture of results. Many times they've played well and looked good, but mistakes have cost them victories or even turned draws into defeats.
- Left wing back Saliou Ciss is ruled out on international duty. Everyone else of significance is available and Valenciennes have a healthy squad.
- Ciss is an important and dynamic player for the club. He’s scored four goals and supplied four assists so far this season and been one of the top performers in the team.
- Les Lionceaux are also unbeaten in five games, the difference being they’ve won four of them. The winter break came at a bad time for Albert Cartier’s men because they were in great form.
- Sochaux started 2017 with a creditable cup performance against Monaco, drawing against them 1-1 and then getting knocked out on penalties. For a long time it looked like they might win 1-0 and their defensive efforts have to be commended.
- A key absence for them at the back is big man Adolphe Teikeu who is on international duty. Defensive midfielder Jeandro Fuchs is injured. Both are regular starters and will be missed.
- Sochaux have the sixth best away record in the league and have only conceded seven goals on the road this season which is pretty impressive.
Conclusion & betting analysis
- This should be a close match between two good teams who are rarely beaten. Valenciennes have had a long rest since their last match, so it’ll be interesting to see how they look. The midweek cup fixture might have done Sochaux some good, potentially heading into the game with an edge.
- Valenciennes are slight favourites with the bookies around the 1.90 mark on a DNB line. In all truth, they are finding it difficult to separate the two teams and I feel exactly the same.
- A draw is the most likely result, either 1-1 or 0-0. I think VA are more of an over team but Sochaux rarely concede many goals on the road, making themselves extremely difficult to break down.
- If I had to side with anyone, it’d be Sochaux because I rate them as the better outfit. This is a close one though and nothing really takes my fancy.
- The goal line is set between 1.75 and 2 which looks about right too. I think there’s a decent chance of exactly 2 goals being scored.
Recommended bet: None