France Ligue 2 – Brest v Sochaux Preview (4/2/17)

Brest preview

  • A last gasp victory away to Valenciennes last week has put Jean Marc Furlan’s men in a strong position. Friday night’s results were very favourable and victory today would move them six points clear at the top.
  • Brest have had a number of opportunities to really pull away from the chasing pack, but have failed to do it. Will they finally be able to assert themselves?
  • Key striker Neal Maupay who is probably the best technical attacker in the whole league is ruled out injured. Centre back Luciani Castan is still suspended but they seem to have performed alright without him, keeping 2 out of 3 clean sheets.
  • New signings Quentin Bernard (LB) & Johan Gastien (CM) will likely continue their starting roles, possibly leaving veteran playmaker Bruno Grougi stuck on the bench.
  • Brest are strangely vulnerable a home, losing a whopping 4 out of 11 contests in front of their own fans. This is an usually high amount for a team who are currently top of the table.

Sochaux preview

  • Les Lionceaux have started 2017 badly. They’ve failed to win and lost 2 of their 3 league games played since the winter break. Things have been wrong in all areas of the pitch.
  • A key loss for them at the back is Adolphe Teikeu. The Cameroonian has been putting in some superb performances in the African Nations cup. He’s obviously a key man for Sochaux and it’s no surprise they've failed to keep a clean sheet in his absence.
  • Albert Cartier’s men have few other excuses though and their only other absence is playmaker Florian Berenguer (inj).
  • Sochaux have a middling away record (4-3-4) and have lost 3 of their last 5 games on the road. Their usual tactic is to sit back, and I would expect the same strategy in a game like this.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Brest are the better team but have a strange home record which can be exploited. Anyone who watched Red Star dominate them here a couple of weeks ago will realise their potential flaws.
  • Without the classy Neal Maupay upfront, goalscoring might be difficult for them. They tend to waste too many chances in front of their own fans anyway, so it could be a challenge against a Sochaux team who can defend well when in the mood.
  • The visitors are missing key man Teikeu at the back which is a big fact to consider. They aren’t in the best of form either, really struggling to create much away at Orleans last Friday night (0-1).
  • Both teams have become under sides. Brest used to be involved in more higher scoring encounters but most opponents really tighten up and drop deep facing them now. I expect Sochaux to approach the game negatively and this could be a tight contest.
  • I’ve got a feeling Brest might just take the game something like 1-0. But the odds look set quite fair on a -0.25 handicap around the 1.95 mark. You could argue the hosts are a little bit of value, but I don't feel confident enough to back them.
  • The goal line is set between 1.75 and 2, which is no surprise. This is a battle between two of the better defences in Ligue 2 and goals aren’t expected to flow much.

Prediction: 1-0

Recommended bet: None