Monthly Archives: February 2017

France Ligue 2 – Tours v Troyes Preview (24/2/17)

Match preview

  • Tours are now seven points from safety after losing in midweek to Strasbourg (2-4). They are still winless in 2017 and the current situation looks rather dire.
  • Fabien Mercadal was finally sacked after last Friday’s loss at Bourg-en-Bresse. Taking over is the U17 manager and Tours did look improved midweek, but still made the same old mistakes.
  • Troyes have only lost 1 of their last 5 games but haven’t been as convincing recently. They’ve hung on for a couple of lucky 0-0 draws and apart from the one really good half they played vs Strasbourg, results and performances since the start of 2017 haven't been particularly impressive.
  • Tours should be more fatigued after their Tuesday match but that evens itself out with Troyes missing a few players, especially in defence.
  • I really like the idea of backing over 2 goals here but I’ve simply been stung too many times by Troyes this season. Somehow, they find ways to make games go under, with some great saves, last ditch tackling or poor finishing.
  • I see something like a 2-2 draw here. Tours will probably feel they should've won but as usual will likely find a way to chock up the game.
  • As I just mentioned, the overs look like the best bet but I'm frankly sick to death of losing on Troyes’ overs this year, so I’ll leave them alone.

Prediction: 2-2

Recommended bet: None

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

France Ligue 2 – Amiens v Orleans Preview (24/2/17)

Match preview

  • Amiens are still living the dream and are situated in third position. For a team expected to finish rock bottom, to be where they are now is a remarkable achievement.
  • However, the odd crack is maybe starting to appear. Valenciennes totally outplayed them in the first half last week and they were lucky to only go in 1-0 down. Fans are actually starting to get excited about their promotion chances are are calling this a ‘must win’ fixture.
  • Orleans have found some form under new coach Didier Olle Nicolle, winning 4 of their last 5 games out of nowhere. They played well against Lens on Monday night, deserving their 2-1 win.
  • I’m still not convinced though. Nicolle has lost 2 of his 3 away games in charge, and the one they won at Auxerre was extremely fortunate. Orleans have the worst away record in the league (1-2-9).
  • These two teams know each other well having obtained promotion together. I think this’ll be a close game and the absence of Thomas Monconduit in the middle of the park could be felt for Amiens.
  • The asian lines for the match seem about right. I have a feeling a tight 1-0 either way or a 0-0 could occur. The goal line seems surprisingly high and there appears to be some value on the unders for those who like backing that market.

Prediction: 0-0

Recommended bet: None



Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

France Ligue 2 – Laval v Bourg-en-Bresse Preview (24/2/17)

Match preview

  • Laval have only lost 1 of their last 9 games but drawn a whopping seven of those contests! They have let slip a number of leads which has cost them. In general, Les Tangos are playing fairly well though.
  • Marco Simone’s style is mostly defensive, but they aren’t as negative as the general perception is of them. Laval miss too many chances and even some penalty opportunities have been squandered of late.
  • Bourg had a great ten match unbeaten win around the turn of the year, but have only won 1 of their last 4 games since, and ridden their luck along the way. They aren’t a bad side but I just feel like their window is starting to pass a bit and they might be in for a struggling phase soon.
  • This has the makings of a close contest which is capable of going either way. Laval have been threatening a victory or two for a while now and I think tonight could be the night.
  • I see no real value on them though and their knack of picking up too many draws makes them an unappealing betting prospect. This -0.25 line seems about where it should be and I’d be quite reluctant to get involved.
  • The goal line is low, probably too low for what it should be. There will be more chances in this game than what most people expect, the question is how many will be taken?
  • Overall, it seems like a good match to avoid but my feeling is Laval will sneak over the line in this one to claim a much needed win.

Prediction: 1-0

Recommended bet: None



Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

France Ligue 2 – Le Havre v Auxerre Preview (24/2/17)

Match preview

  • Le Havre have just 1 win in 12 games and have really slipped off the pace in recent months. That one victory was in their previous home match though and recent performances have been improved.
  • The Le Havre squad still possesses plenty of quality, although will be weakened by the loss of key winger Zinedine Ferhat to injury tonight. He’s been playing quite well of late.
  • Auxerre have been in great form, winning 4 of their last 5 games and it could easily have been all five were it not for some bad luck. They are clearly one of the big form teams right now.
  • Some smart January signings, not least striker Mohamed Yattara has helped propel them up the table. Keeping three recent clean sheets and conceding few goals during this winning period can’t be underestimated either.
  • Due to Le Havre’s recent performance improvement, I’m not willing to stake a full unit on Auxerre +0.5 or +0.25. However, I will have half a unit on the DNB option @ 3.24.
  • I think there’s a good chance Auxerre could take all three points tonight in what is likely to be a tight, unremarkable match. Taking them on this DNB line or even straight up on the nose close to the 5.0 mark could actually represent the best value and be a safer option due to a reduced stake.

Prediction: 0-1

Recommended bet 0.5 unit: Auxerre DNB @ 3.24 (minimum odds acceptable 3.00)

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

France Ligue 2 – Ajaccio v Sochaux Preview (24/2/17)

Match preview

  • Ajaccio have the fourth best home record in the division (8-2-3) and are always formidable opposition on their Corsican island base. They have won their last three consecutive games here.
  • Sochaux have only won 1 of their last 7 games but ended a poor losing run thanks to a couple of solid results recently. Their poor start to 2017 has left them behind in the race for promotion though.
  • Les Lionceaux do have a decent away record and I would consider them a better road unit due to their defensive strength. Already, they’ve managed to win five times on their travels this season.
  • It’s worth noting that Ajaccio have failed to beat Sochaux in any of the last nine H2H meetings. Sochaux have won the last three encounters, all to nil which suggests this fixture might be a favourable matchup for them.
  • But the visitors haven't looked great for a while so I think Ajaccio will win the match. However, I’m not going to get involved betting anything here. Sochaux do have good raw power in their squad and should be doing better than they are right now.
  • The goal line looks low and there’s a suggestion some value could be had backing over 1.75 or 2.0. However, Sochaux tend to be involved in lower scoring games and this has the feel of a potential tight match, so I’m happy to leave this market alone too.

Prediction: 1-0

Recommended bet: None

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

France Ligue 2 – Strasbourg v Clermont Preview (24/2/17)

Match preview

  • Strasbourg beat Tours 4-2 midweek in what was a pulsating clash. As a result, they’ve now moved up to second in the table and playing as well as anyone in the league right now.
  • RCS have a great home record (9-2-2) and have won their last six consecutive games at La Meinau. This place is a fortress and they are always strongly supported by their loyal and passionate fans.
  • Clermont aren’t in a great phase right now, winless in six games. They tend to be a streaky team who go on good and bad runs and I just feel that they are really struggling at the moment.
  • If Strasbourg hadn’t played in midweek then I'd have fancied them really strongly tonight. I still think they’ll win, but there could be an element of fatigue to worry about. However, winning breeds winning and they are so confident right now that hopefully their great form negates this potential problem.
  • Strasbourg matches have been great for goals recently and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see this match end over 2.5. But the price is a bit skinny and Clermont are struggling in front of goal at the moment.
  • I’m going to take Strasbourg on a safer -0.25 handicap. If they produce a below par performance due to fatigue then a draw can’t be ruled out. I still think I'm getting a full line value here though. The hosts should be a much shorter odds-on shot to win than what they currently are.
  • For those who prefer to back Strasbourg straight up on a -0.5 handicap, then anything 1.75 or bigger would be an acceptable price.

Prediction: 2-1

Recommended bet 1 unit: Strasbourg -0.25 @ 1.65 (minimum odds acceptable 1.60)

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

France Ligue 2 – Niort v Red Star Preview (24/2/17)

Match preview

  • Niort are actually in the middle of a great home run in which they are unbeaten in ten games here at Le Stade Rene Gaillard. They’ve become pretty formidable in front of their own fans again.
  • It would be understandable if some of the Niort players had the upcoming Coupe de France match against PSG in mind. They face them on Wednesday night so there could definitely be an element of ‘looking ahead’ here.
  • Red Star meanwhile, continue to hover just above the relegation zone but have performed much better since their new management duo took over at the start of January.
  • The visitors are unbeaten in four games and all of their last six fixtures have ended with under 2.5 goals. However, it must be said a lot of their games have been more open than the scorelines might suggest.
  • I think Niort are maybe a slight bit of value, but with their minds potentially clouded by PSG it would could be too risky backing them.
  • Niort games here are usually good for overs and according to my estimations there is value in this market too. But again, it’s just too risky especially as Red Star are in the knack of producing lower scoring matches.

Prediction: 1-1

Recommended bet: None

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

France Ligue 2 – Nimes v GFC Ajaccio Preview (24/2/17)

Match preview

  • Nimes are unbeaten in eight games and are actually playing some very good football. They have been missing a number of key players during this run but still manage to churn out good performances and results.
  • Their home record isn't as strong this season (only 2-8-3 here) but Les Crocos remain hard to beat and some recent displays at this stadium have been much improved.
  • I have said for a while that GFCA are a poor away side whenever they face someone half decent. The likes of Strasbourg and Amiens both comfortably beat them recently on the road and I'd be surprised if they got close to Nimes today.
  • GFCA are too limited going forwards and don’t score enough goals for my liking. I don’t see them getting many opportunities here because Nimes will probably dominate proceedings.
  • I personally think the hosts should be an odds on shot! Incredibly, they are a full 2.08 on a -0.25 handicap which is a really big price. My estimations are one and a half lines, out but in this instance I think the bookies have got it badly wrong.
  • Since August, if you take away their wins at Tours and Le Havre (who were both in shockingly bad form at the time), GFCA have lost seven and drawn two away games, only scoring twice in the process.
  • I’m very happy to pull the trigger on this -0.25 handicap. I think this is a great value bet and unless Nimes get reduced to nine men again, or miss a bunch of chances then a home win is definitely on the cards.

Prediction: 2-0

Recommended bet 1 unit: Nimes -0.25 @ 2.08 (minimum odds acceptable 1.75)

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

France Ligue 1 – Nice v Montpellier Preview (24/2/17)

Match preview

  • Nice posses the second best home record in the league and have fantastic 10-3-0 statistics. They’ve only conceded eight goals in front of their own fans.
  • Last week’s shock results for PSG & Monaco have somewhat gotten them back in the title race. Nice aren’t pretty, but keep grinding out results. A mammoth 10 of their 16 wins have been by exactly one goal.
  • The hosts will be lacking firepower though. They’ve lost pacey hitman Alassane Plea for the rest of the season due to injury, and fellow frontman Mario Balotelli is suspended tonight.
  • Montpellier are suddenly back in some form and have won 3 of their last 4 games, pushing Monaco hard in the fixture they lost. It seems they are capable of sucking any team into a shootout, even Nancy couldn't resist an open game a couple of weeks ago.
  • Maybe the same will happen again here, but Nice can really defend if required. We saw last week how they bunkered in well to hold on 1-0 at Lorient. They will be hard to penetrate if leading with 20 mins left.
  • I have a feeling this could be an open game of football on the eye, but maybe not necessarily contain buckets of goals. Nice have a knack of winning close games so I think they’ll just about prevail.
  • There is definite value on the hosts who are underestimated. Everyone is talking about how they can't score without their two key strikers. But the main strength they have is in defence and Montpellier will surely gift them a chance or two.
  • I’m not going to bet on the game though because Montpellier are playing quite well. I’d be interested in the overs but Nice can become really solid if required. Overall, I’m just not comfortable staking anything pre match.

Prediction: 2-1

Recommended bet: None

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

France Ligue 1 – Nantes v Dijon Preview (24/2/17)

Match preview

  • Nantes have only lost twice since new coach Sergio Conceicao took over at the helm. As a result, they now have a three point cushion above the relegation zone and also have a game in hand.
  • Dijon are hovering just above the drop zone having lost 3 of their last 4 games, although fixtures against the power of PSG and Lyon haven’t helped their cause.
  • Nantes have the worst home record in the league (3-4-6) but definitely improved under their new coach. Just eight goals scored here is pretty poor though and three of those came against OM last time out!
  • Nantes are a solid defensive team and will be hard to break down here. I’m not sure Dijon have what it takes to create many clear cut chances.
  • My feeling is that Nantes will win a tight game either 1-0 or 2-0. They aren’t a great price though and in my book Dijon are actually slight value.
  • What is surprising is how high the goal line is (2.25 @ 1.90). Nantes are definitely an under team in terms of style, results and statistics. Dijon are more offensively natured but I think their attacks will mostly be thwarted tonight.
  • I’m happy to leave this one alone. I don’t feel strongly enough about Nantes to actually back them and the odds aren’t particularly appealing.

Prediction: 1-0

Recommended bet: None

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player