France Ligue 1 – Rennes v Nice Preview (12/2/17)

Rennes preview

  • The Brittany outfit have now gone eight games without a win and have slid towards midtable, exactly in tenth spot ahead of this game. They have drawn 5 of their last 65 games and remain tough to beat, but there’s little to get excited with regarding them recently.
  • Truth be told, it’s been a while since Christian Gourcuff’s men have played well. Most of those aforementioned draws have been painful affairs in which they’ve been second best. They deserve some credit for coming from behind in some of those contests but Rennes are really unconvincing at the moment.
  • Key defender Mexer and playmaker Yoann Gourcuff are both injured and ruled out here. Left back Lodovic Ball is suspended. All three would start if fit so will be missed.
  • Coach Christian Gourcuff has always been a pretty strong home manager so it’s no surprise to see Rennes have a 7-3-2 record here at Roazhon Park. The two losses have both come in recent weeks though which is concerning.

Nice preview

  • Victories for PSG and Monaco mean that the pressure is back on Nice to pick up all three points here. If they are to retain any title aspirations then a maximum point haul is a must.
  • Nice have only lost twice all season and have returned somewhat to form recently. Victories against Guingamp and St Etienne sandwiched the 3-0 loss to Monaco. But in many respects it’s not actually that disgraceful losing to the current league leaders who are on fire at the moment.
  • The visitors possess one of the best defences in Ligue 1, although centre back Malang Sarr is ruled out today with injury. Fellow defender Ricardo remains on the treatment table as well, whilst key striker Mario Balotelli is suffering with illness and won’t feature.
  • Balotelli hasn't been in great form recently so might not be missed as much as some think but he does give them a big physical and skillful presence upfront and sometimes forces the opposition to double team him.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Nice are the better team and should really be winning a match like this. Rennes just seem out of form and if the visitors really do still have title aspirations then they must take the game to their opponents.
  • A lot of Nice games tend to be lower scoring, especially away from home. I don’t expect this will be a classic because Rennes haven't been threatening the scorers too much recently either. In total, 8 of their last 9 games have ended under 2.5.
  • The goal line is set at 2.0 around the mark of 1.95 and this is understandable. This feels like an underish affair with maybe one goal enough for either side to win.
  • The bookies have Rennes priced up as slight DNB favourites. I feel this is wrong and Nice deserve favouritism. However, the risk of a draw is pretty high so I don’t want to get involved here backing the visitors.
  • In a tight game like this where one key decision or mistake could be so crucial, I think the best option is to refrain from betting.

Prediction: 0-1

Recommended bet: None

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