France Ligue 1 – Nantes v Nancy Preview (5/2/17)

Nantes preview

  • A late equaliser denied them victory away against local rivals Rennes last weekend. This was a blow because for the most part Les Canaris dominated the match and probably deserved more than a point.
  • Nantes have generally played well ever since new coach Sergio Conceicao took charge. They’ve won 4 out 6 ligue games under his stewardship and the only defeat was against PSG, so no disgrace.
  • Three regular starters are rated doubtful because of injury. Koffi Djidji (CB), Yacine Bammou (ATT) & Jules Iloki (RW). However, Nantes don’t rely that heavily on these players and there are other options if required.
  • A solid defence continues to be the cornerstone of Conceicao’s success. Nantes have only conceded three goals in six games under him, and PSG netted a couple of those.

Nancy preview

  • The visitors have only lost 3 of their last 10 Ligue 1 matches and have become hard to beat. They probably have the weakest squad in the whole of the division but rarely get blown out of the water and will fight hard for every point.
  • Squad condition is good ahead of this game, with only one confirmed injury. The manager has named a 23 man squad for this fixture and their upcoming midweek affair.
  • Talking of fixtures, Nancy have encountered quite a lot of them recently. This is their fourth match in the space of twelve days due to ligue and cup duties respectively. Plenty of squad rotation has taken place but I have a feeling they aren't the sort of side who will cope well with this sort of thing.
  • Pablo Correa’s men don’t have a bad away record, but have only won 1 out of 10 on the road scoring only four goals in the process. The Lorraine side have drawn five times on their travels though, showing a tough to beat mentality.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Knowing both of these sides, goals aren't to be expected here. This is actually a battle between the two biggest under 2.5 sides in the division. Nantes (16/22) and Nancy (16/21) have both been involved in some really low scoring under 2.5 contests this season.
  • With that in mind, it’s no surprise to see the goal line between 1.75 and 2.0. The bookies are taking no chances.
  • Nancy were flat last weekend at home to Bordeaux and then went and got knocked out of the Coupe de France by third division CA Bastia. Their form suddenly isn't so great heading into the game. With 24 hour less of recovery time, plus long travels then I have to favour Nantes more in terms of match preparation.
  • The hosts have a really strong defence and are facing a weak attack force so the only real danger scoreline appears to be 0-0. That is why I prefer to back Les Canaris on a -0.25 handicap, even though the odds are lowish around the 1.70 mark.
  • I think something like a 1-0 or 2-0 home win is likely. This won’t be a classic and at times it will probably get ugly. But I’m happy enough backing Nantes to grind out a result and their better overall physical strength and stamina could be important as well.

Prediction: 1-0

Recommended bet 1 unit: Nantes -0.25 @ 1.73 (minimum odds acceptable 1.60)