- The Champagne side are unbeaten in four games, but with three of those ending draws then their progress has been stalled somewhat. Reims have actually been pushed down to fourth place, although a win here would see them move second.
- With the exception of a goalkeeping crisis, the squad is in fairly good condition. Physical midfielder Jaba Kankava is suspended after he picked up a second yellow card for time wasting last weekend.
- The aforementioned goalkeeping problem is an issue though. Both Johann Carrasso & Eduard Mendy are ruled out which means either Nicolas Lemaitre or Jean Louchet, both youngsters who have never started at senior level will take the gloves.
- The positive news is that key defender Julian Jeanvier returns from injury and the hosts are at full strength in attack.
- Michel der Zakarian’s men have a superb 8-2-1 home record but any points dropped have been in recent weeks, which is of slight concern.
- Les Lionceaux couldn’t have asked for a worse start to the new year. They've only picked up one point and lost 4 out of 5 games.
- Something clearly just isn't right, but I’m not sure what exactly. Key defender Adolphe Teikeu has been on African Nations Cup duty but for the most part their squad has been in good condition. Teikeu again misses out today but everyone else of significance is available.
- Sochaux have lost their last three on the road but still possess the sixth best away record in Ligue 2. They are the sort of team who are in theory well set up for road play with some strong defenders and decent counter attack potential.
Conclusion & betting analysis
- This is a battle between two of the better sides in the division, although right now only Reims are nearing their true potential. Sochaux seem bang out of form but the talent is there on paper for them to rebound at some point.
- Both teams have looked sloppy facing some of the poorer sides in Ligue 2 recently so it’ll be interesting to see how they respond in a big match like this one. Reims have failed to beat both Tours and Valenciennes here in 2017 which is fairly worrying.
- The hosts can be backed on a -0.25 handicap around the 1.80 mark which looks about fair. It’s not often they are a backable price due to reputation, but in this instance you could make a case for taking Der Zakarian’s men.
- I have a feeling this fixture might suit Sochaux though. They can just sit back and defend deep. The major weakness of Reims is scoring goals and creating enough chances. This will likely be a close tight match which nobody wants to lose .
- Goalscoring should be at a premium and a goal line between 1.75 and 2.0 totally represents that possibility. I could certainly see a potential 0-0, although the way things have been going for Sochaux they will maybe lose this 1-0 or something.
- Friday was a poor day for me in this Ligue so I will save myself until next week. Confidence is low and I don’t want to get involved.
Recommended bet: None