France Ligue 2 – Strasbourg v GFC Ajaccio Preview (3/2/17)

Strasbourg preview

  • Les Racing have only played two ligue matches in 2017 so far. Both have ended up thrillers, 3-4 against Amiens and 2-2 against Nimes. This will be their first home fixture since the winter break.
  • Squad condition is very good with only midfielder Ihsan Sacko ruled out injured. Fellow man in the middle Vincent Nogueira is left out of the squad, seemingly for tactical reasons which is a surprise. He might be rested though after a midweek cup game.
  • Key striker Khalid Boutaib returns after his African Nations Cup stint. Having him back in the side is a major boost even though they’ve managed to score goals in his absence.
  • Strasbourg have a strong 6-2-2 home record and are still well and truly in the promotion race. If they won their game in hand they would actually be in third place.

GFC Ajaccio preview

  • The Corsican outfit have started 2017 in unbeaten fashion, picking up seven points from their opening three fixtures.
  • They even managed to obtain a rare away win last time out at Le Havre (2-1). However, I wouldn't say GFC have looked especially convincing. They’ve also faced some poor or out of form teams.
  • The visitors have a few absences to deal with tonight. In defence, Francois Clerc is injured and lynchpin in the middle of the park Amos Youga is suspended.
  • Remi Mulumba has only just returned from African Nation duty. Pacy attacker John Tshibumbu, who is a very useful substitute, is injured.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Strasbourg played in the Coupe de France midweek, beating a lower league side 1-0 away from home. So GFCA should in theory be more fresh, but this appears to be the only advantage they have here.
  • Strasbourg are definitely the better side and are a genuine promotion contender. They are excellent at home and usually very well supported by a passionate crowd.
  • GFCA have never convinced me away from home. They have won four times on their travels this season, but look in detail who they’ve actually beaten - Laval, Auxerre, Tours & woefully out of form Le Havre.
  • Put them against good quality opposition and they usually fail away from home. This is why I have no problem going against them tonight.
  • Strasbourg can be backed @ 1.85 on a -0.25 handicap and this is big enough for me. I think they have a good chance of winning this game and fancy them quite strongly.
  • It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if this was an over 2.5 game as well. The goal line is generally priced on a 2.0 line. However, GFCA can become goal shy away from home and struggle to create chances, so I’ll swerve this market.

Prediction: 2-0

Recommended bet 1 unit: Strasbourg -0.25 @ 1.85 (minimum odds acceptable 1.70)