Monthly Archives: February 2017

France Ligue 2 – Reims v Brest Preview (27/2/17)

Match preview

  • This is a battle between the two teams who I personally have at the top of my Ligue 2 power rankings. If Reims win then, they’ll move back up to second place in table.
  • Neither team has been perfect this season, perhaps only playing their best football on a handful of occasions. But both sides have to be respected for having the knack of obtaining results they need.
  • Reims have only conceded six goals at home all season and have an 8-2-2 record at Le Stade Delaune. It is worth mentioning that recent form has been poor though, drawing two and losing one here.
  • Brest might just be one of the most fraudulent ‘clear’ leaders of all time. They have lucked out in many games this year, in typical Jean Marc Furlan style who has a knack of doing well managing teams in Ligue 2. Their defence also doesn’t concede many goals, especially on the road.
  • Just for once, Reims are effectively at full strength here with no major absences. Brest continue to miss key striker Neal Maupay and defensive midfielder Alexandre Coeff.  Maupay is a big loss because he’s still the sixth highest scorer in the division, despite missing five games this season.
  • My feeling is that Reims will find a way to win this game. They are due a good performance and I don't think Brest are quite as good as their clear lead at the top of the division suggests. An out of form Clermont managed to draw 1-1 against them recently and Auxerre claimed a 3-1 success not too long ago either.
  • Reims do have this huge problem finishing chances though and I’m sure Brest keeper Joan Hartock will come up big a number of times. He is a very underrated goalkeeper and often unheralded.
  • I think these odds are right where they should be and I see no edge in any market. This will likely be a close game throughout, but maybe come the later stages of the second half some Reims pressure might finally pay off and they net a winning goal.

Prediction: 1-0

Recommended bet: None

 

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

France Ligue 1 – Marseille v PSG Preview (26/2/17)

Match preview

  • ‘Le Classique’ of France between two old and fierce rivals. This is the biggest match on the French calendar. PSG have won 10 of the last 11 head to head meetings, but OM did stop the rot by drawing 0-0 in Paris back in October.
  • Marseille have won their last three consecutive home games, but also lost their last three straight on the road, leading to an inconsistent 2017 so far.
  • Expectations are high after a strong January transfer window, and new signings like Payet and Sanson are just starting to find their feet and make an impact.
  • PSG are still riding on the crest of their 4-0 win against Barcelona but came back down to earth last weekend, only drawing 0-0 at home to Toulouse. All too often we have seen some strong defensive sides frustrate Unai Emery’s men this season.
  • It’s going to be interesting how OM coach Rudy Garcia approaches the game. In October he lined up with five men at the back, simply parking a double decker bus. It’s hard to imagine him going to the same extremes again, but I still expect the hosts to be relatively cautious.
  • I’m honestly doubting myself here as to whether my estimations are correct! I have this line as a +0.25/-0.25, but instead PSG are a -0.75 away favourite. By my reckoning, this match is a full two lines out!
  • I really don’t think that Marseille should be such a big underdog here, but maybe I’m wrong, who knows. As a comparison, Monaco were a DNB at the Velodrome just six weeks ago, so how can PSG be three lines shorter? They are slightly better than Monaco, but not by that much these days.
  • The only real question now is ‘how big are my bollocks’? Taking OM +1 is in my opinion a big value bet. Ok, it’s fraught with danger because I’m taking on a top class team, but I feel I have to pull the trigger here.
  • PSG have won on all of their last four trips to the Velodrome but it’s worth noting that only one of those (in the cup), was by more than a one goal margin.
  • This OM team right now is better than all of those versions, and without Zlatan (who was such a killer of OM), maybe PSG aren’t quite as strong. The visitors could win this match by one goal and I’d still get all of my money back on a +1 handicap.

Prediction: 1-1

Recommended bet 1 unit: Marseille +1 (asian) @ 1.79 (minimum odds acceptable 1.60)

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

France Ligue 1 – Lyon v Metz Preview (26/2/17)

Match preview

  • Lyon have been scoring for fun recently. They’ve scored at least four goals against Nancy, AZ (twice) and Dijon recently, so their confidence in the final third is clear to see.
  • OL are still making dumb mistakes at the back though and nearly blew it last week against Dijon. They needed late goals to ultimately prevail, but once again defensive frailties nearly cost them.
  • It’s difficult to see how Metz threaten them much today though, especially with a number of key creative players out. The whole squad isn't in great condition with a bunch of injuries everywhere.
  • The asian handicap line on Lyon is generally around the -2 mark. I think they'll cover this handicap but it’s just too big for me to get involved.
  • As a comparison, Monaco were -1.5 at home to Metz just two weeks ago. What has changed in that small space of time for Lyon  to now be two lines shorter?
  • Ok, Metz got battered 5-0 that day but Lyon aren’t as good as Monaco. For me, there just isn’t any value on the hosts today and I would be pig sick if I backed them -2 and the bet lost.
  • I personally think the goal line is way too high for this match too, in between the 3.25 and 3.5 mark. For this over bet to win there’s a good chance you’d need Lyon to score four goals themselves, because Metz could easily draw a blank.
  • If I had to take anything then I’d be Lyon -1.75 or Lyon to score over 2.5 goals. I do think they’ll claim a comfortable victory but I’m going to stick with the rulebook here and refrain from betting. This is a situation where I will disciplined and play the long game waiting for better value opportunities.

Prediction: 3-0

Recommended bet: None

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

France Ligue 1 – St Etienne v Caen Preview (26/2/17)

Match preview

  • After a good run of results, Sainte have now lost 2 of their last 3 games. They remain strong at home though, only suffering one defeat at Le Stade Geoffroy Guichard all season.
  • Caen picked up a priceless 1-0 home win against Nancy on Tuesday night. For the most part they played well, although got nervous towards the end. Obtaining such a vital victory should give them a major confidence boost.
  • Caen have the second worst away record in Ligue 1 but it’s worth noting their last three road displays haven't been that bad. It might be they've turned the corner a little bit.
  • It feels like this Sainte squad might be drained of energy. They’ve played a lot of matches recently and fitness and fatigue is an issue for them here. The squad is decimated with injuries and even a number of guys who are in the squad might be carrying niggles we don’t know anything about.
  • My initial estimations had St Etienne as a bit of value but after factoring in team news and the hectic recent schedule, I have to conclude the odds are about where they should be.
  • I’ve got a feeling the hosts might just sneak an ugly 1-0 win or something, with maybe Caen blowing opportunities. But this certainly isn't a banker home win though, so I’m happy to leave it alone. I also think this will be an under 2.5 match and generally quite a tight affair.

Prediction: 1-0

Recommended bet: None

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

France Ligue 1 – Nancy v Toulouse Preview (25/2/17)

Match preview

  • Nancy are bang out of form having lost 5 of their last 6 games. They've also failed to score in all of those aforementioned defeats and are desperately struggling in the final third.
  • Toulouse meanwhile, have dramatically improved their form going unbeaten in four games. They obtained a superb 0-0 at PSG last week, fully deserving to hold the champions with an excellent defensive and tactical display.
  • I think the odds for this match are generally quite fair. I do fancy Toulouse to win, but there’s no real great value on the visitors and I am trying to avoid betting on away sides in France who have this sort of handicap and price.
  • This is unlikely to be much of a classic, but the extra quality that Toulouse have upfront with the likes of Andy Delort & Corentin Jean will probably be the difference in the game.
  • However, playing on an artificial surface is never easy and Toulouse have only picked up one road win all season. This does look like a decent chance to capture their second away success, but I’m happy to leave this match alone.

Prediction: 0-2

Recommended bet: None

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

France Ligue 1 – Rennes v Lorient Preview (25/2/17)

Match preview

  • Here we have a Brittany derby between two out of form teams. Rennes have failed to win any of their last ten games and are desperately struggling of late. Goalscoring has been the big issue for the hosts and they just don’t look very threatening going forwards.
  • Lorient are bottom of the table and have only won 1 of their last 6 games. FCL have faced five of the current top ten teams in the last couple of months though and have endured a difficult run of fixtures.
  • Matches between these two teams can often be feisty, containing a number of red cards down the years. I expect plenty of commitment again but with confidence not particularly high, this might not be a classic.
  • I think Rennes are a little bit overpriced. They are after all the better side in terms of quality and are at home tonight. But I simply don’t trust them right now and consider them unbackable.
  • Historically, this fixture often contains goals. But Rennes are struggling to find the net at the moment and Lorient tend to miss a lot of chances. In my pre match estimations, I actually think there is some value in the under markets.
  • This might be an interesting match to watch but with a lot of uncertainties then I think it’s best avoided from a betting point of view.

Prediction: 1-1

Recommended bet: None

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

France Ligue 1 – Lille v Bordeaux Preview (25/2/17)

Match preview

  • Lille obtained a massive win last week, 1-0 away against Caen. It was new manager Franck Passi’s first in charge and should help steady the ship at LOSC.
  • Lille don’t have a great home record this season, already losing a whopping six times in front of their own fans. They lack goals at times but are at full strength in attack heading into this match which is a welcome boost.
  • Bordeaux are a very strange side who can blow hot and cold. It has to be said they've only lost 1 of their last 8 matches (to PSG). Their last two road matches have both resulted in wins at Nancy & Caen and last weekend they were impressive when beating Guingamp 3-0.
  • Les Girondins also have a fairly good away record, the fourth best in the league only losing three times on their travels.
  • Despite the stats perhaps favouring a Bordeaux win, I actually fancy Lille to sneak the three points tonight. Their squad is is healthy condition for once and should be uplifted by victory last week. Lille still have plenty of quality players and I still trust their defence quite a lot.
  • The question is how effective they’ll be going forwards. Another question is what sort of Bordeaux will turn up because they can be inconsistent in terms of performance. They’ve had two good results in a row which leads me to think they’ll produce a lower class display tonight.
  • It’s not often I back Lille because they are overrated by the bookies, but in this instance I think they are underrated. Taking Les Dogues DNB @ 1.75 is a bet that appeals to me. This match could easily end up as a draw, but I wouldn’t lose anything if that occurred.

Prediction: 1-0

Recommended bet: Lille DNB @ 1.75 (minimum odds acceptable 1.64)

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

France Ligue 1 – Angers v Bastia Preview (25/2/17)

Match preview

  • Angers have found a bit of form recently, winning 3 of their last 5 games. The most recent have been back to back victories facing Lille and Nancy respectively, which were vital.
  • The squad has been injury ravaged all season and was badly affected by African Nations call ups in January. Once again, they are set to miss a bunch of players across the field. One point worth making is that only Vincent Manceau (DL) and Pierrick Capelle (AM) will miss out compared to last week’s starting XI.
  • Bastia picked up a morale boosting 1-1 draw against Monaco last week, performing very well for 70 mins before hanging on for dear life! They are still in massive trouble though, second bottom and have only registered five wins all season.
  • Key goalkeeper Jean Louis Leca is ruled out and this is massive news. He is worth at least a dozen points to them during the season and has been one of the best keeper’s in Ligue 1 this year
  • Considering the number of defensive absences Angers have, combined with Leca’s injury then  have to think this match will contain more goals than many expect. I’m happy to back over 2 @ 1.95. 
  • I think Angers will win the game, but their price around the 1.85 mark seems spot on and accurately fair. Bastia can be an awkward side sometimes so I’m not going to get involved here. Both teams should hopefully fancy their chances leading to an over 2.5 match being produced.

Prediction: 2-1

Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2 goals @ 1.95 (minimum odds acceptable 1.83)

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

France Ligue 1 – Guingamp v Monaco Preview (25/2/17)

Match preview

  • It’s going to be interesting to see how Monaco have recovered from their pulsating Champions League match against Man City on Tuesday night. Monaco have generally combined league and European duties well this season, but that was an extremely energy sapping match.
  • There’s talk of some rotation here, especially as they have a cup match against OM upcoming in midweek. Key players such as Sidibe, Bakayoko, or even Falcao could be rested to the bench.
  • It’s likely that left and right back options will be second string for Monaco here. This might not necessarily make them much weaker defensively, but Sidibe and Mendy offer so much going forwards that they would lack the threat and creativity outside from runners.
  • Guingamp are an awkward team who have a knack of getting good results against big teams at home. Lyon, Marseille, PSG have all LOST at Le Stade Roudourou this season and it’s not the sort of location anyone enjoys visiting.
  • I think Monaco are a line too short here and I believe they should be closer to the even money mark. I’m not going to risk backing Guingamp but I think all the value is on the hosts.
  • This should in theory be an over 2.5 match but could the same thing happen to Monaco that occurred at Bastia last week (1-1)? The visitors might not be as sharp and could be potentially flat, and this would be problematic facing a Guingamp team who can be difficult to penetrate when in the right mood.
  • I think Monaco will just about find a way to obtain three points, they are a very good side after all. But for those who presume this is an away win and over 2.5 goals banker, then don’t be so sure.

Prediction: 1-2

Recommended bet: None

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

France Ligue 2 – Lens v Valenciennes Preview (25/2/17)

Match preview

  • Lens blew a good chance on Monday night when they lost against Orleans (1-2), but they were facing a surprisingly in-form side and that result maybe shouldn't be considered as bad as initially thought.
  • Friday night was good for Lens without them even taking to the field. All of their rivals in the promotion race failed to win so this is a good chance for them to get back on track.
  • This match is a northern derby affair and usually quite a hot fixture. A big crowd is to be expected at Le Stade Felix Bollaert and the atmosphere should be great. Both teams will be giving 200% effort in this one.
  • Lens are definitely the better team, both in terms of overall quality and current form. Valenciennes played one good half last week against Amiens,  but for the majority of 2017 they've been terrible, especially lacking offensively.
  • Key man upfront Nuno Da Costa remains injured and now Teddy Butin & Sigamary Diarra join him on the sidelines. It’s difficult to see where the threat is going to come from for the visitors.
  • I think there’s a good chance that Lens will only need one goal to win this game. They aren’t the most prolific scorers in the league but I think they’ll manage to find a way to collect three points.
  • I think Lens should be closer to a -1 asian favourite here so I’m happy to take odds of 2.05 on a -0.75 line. Alternatively, you could just take them straight up around 1.75. But because I don’t think they’ll concede a goal then the bigger line is worth chancing in case of a 2-0 or 3-0 success.
  • I’m surprised the goal line is so high here. This is a derby game so things can often become tight anyway, but Valenciennes have only scored three goals in their last six games, a couple of which came when they just attacked like crazy in Ajaccio when 3-0 down. I’m surprised over 2.25 is odds-on.

Prediction: 2-0

Recommended bet 1 unit: Lens -0.75 @ 2.04 (minimum odds acceptable 1.80)

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player