Monthly Archives: July 2021

France Ligue 2 – Sochaux v Le Havre Preview (31/7/21)

Match Preview

Sochaux

  • Excellent victory 3-1 away to Dijon on Monday night 
  • Exact same matchday squad is retained for this match
  • Steve Ambri & Yann Kitala remain the only injuries
  • 6-7-6 home record last season was a weakness and only 15th best

Le Havre

  • Started the season with a 0-0 draw at home to Guingamp
  • #1 keeper Mathieu Gorgelin remains injured
  • Defender Woyo Coulibaly is the only new casualty 
  • 7-6-6 away record last season was the 4th best in the league

Conclusion & Betting analysis

Sochaux played really well on Monday night and looked an excellent well drilled unit vs Dijon. Yes, they did face a disjointed side at an opportunistic time but you still have to go out there and perform. The big question this season is whether Sochaux can improve their home form. If they can, then there is no doubt that this is a team which can go a step further and challenge for the playoffs. They look a very good balanced side in all areas of the field with some good technical and physical qualities.

Le Havre are always a difficult side to work out. They played well on the road last season and can never be underestimated away from home, but it is rare I would ever trust them with many picks. They had the better of the 0-0 draw vs Guingamp last week but it was generally a tight contest with relatively few chances. Sochaux won both league meetings last season and the only meeting during the 2019/20 campaign as well. This fixture ended 4-0 last season and was one of the few times Sochaux were really convincing at home. The carrot has been dangled too much here and Sochaux -0.25 Asian handicap is too big to ignore around the 2.02 mark. I think they are the better side and probably at worst would draw this match. I think we are only getting this line and price because of their poor home form last season and HACs’ good away record. Maybe things have changed this year and Sochaux moved up to the next level.

Prediction: 2-0

Recommended bet: Sochaux -0.25 Asian Handicap @ 2.02

France Ligue 2 – Rodez v Pau Preview (31/7/21)

Match Preview

Rodez

  • Disappointing start to the season losing 0-4 away to Caen
  • Difficult match against a good team and a bad first half cost them dearly
  • Squad near enough at full strength for this match
  • CB Pierre Bardy is rated doubtful due to injury though
  • 6-9-4 home record last season was good enough for 10th best

Pau

  • 93rd minute winner at home to Nancy last week (2-1) got them off to a good start
  • Squad close to full strength with very few injuries
  • 2-6-11 away record last season was the 2nd worst in the league

Conclusion & Betting analysis

Interesting match here between two teams in the south west of France. I think Pau could be a pleasant surprise this season but they need to dramatically sort out their terrible away form which constantly plagued them last year. Just 2 wins on the road simply wasn’t good enough and this can be a tricky place to visit. The Rodez fans can get right on top of you and I suspect it's the type of location that nobody looks forward to travelling. Rodez were outplayed by Caen last week but it was just one of those games where Caen took every early chance and the game was gone. The bookmakers can't split either side with Rodez a slight favourite on a DNB handicap. I can’t predict this game and my best guess is a 1-1 draw. The three meetings last season ended 1-1, 0-0 and 1-0 and this might be a similarly close type of match. I don’t think either side will particularly want to lose this encounter so it feels quite drawish.

Prediction: 1-1

Recommended bet: None

France Ligue 2 – Paris FC v Dunkerque Preview (31/7/21)

Match Preview

Paris FC

  • Superb 4-0 win away to Grenoble last week in a match they dominated
  • Defensive nightmare with 6 players ruled out at the back
  • Very young looking back four will start in this match
  • Midfield and attacking areas close to full strength

Dunkerque

  • Disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Quevilly-Rouen in week one 
  • It was a low key and low quality match which contained few chances
  • Centre back Alioune Ba & midfielder Nicolas Bruneel ruled out injured
  • Lost 12 out of 19 away matches last season

Conclusion & Betting analysis

The big issue Paris FC have here is in defence. They are missing 6 defenders, although it must be said that 4 of them didn’t play last week either. New right back Maxime Bernauer is the most significant casualty and the new problem position which needs to be filled. Paris FC already knew they’d be relying on the young centre back pairing of Samir Chergui & Ousmane Camara who actually played really well last week. Paris FC looked brilliant going forwards vs Grenoble but probably won’t be given as much space in this game. Nevertheless, the form of Gaetan Laura in particular looked frightening.

Dunkerque did not play well against Quevilly-Rouen and never really looked like winning the game against a poor team. This will be a far tougher test and although they might relish being the underdog and just defend, I think they are going to have to play a hell of a lot better to get a result. I certainly fancy Paris FC to win the game but at a price of around 1.55 I’ll let them win without getting invested in any sort of pick. Both fixtures ended 1-0 to Paris FC last season and Dunkerque can be an annoying type of side who just waste time and defend with their five men at the back. I do wonder if the inexperienced Paris FC backline might get caught out by a set piece or by one of the big physical Dunkerque strikers as well. I see something like 2-0 or 3-0 but I can’t really justify betting Paris FC on a -1 handicap or on the nose at such short odds this early in the season.

Prediction: 2-0

Recommended bet: None

France Ligue 2 – Niort v Caen Preview (31/7/21)

Match Preview

Niort

  • 0-0 draw away to Valenciennes was a decent result in week one
  • #1 keeper Mathieu Michel still out for several months with an ACL injury
  • Defensive trio Passi, Paro & Bena all still injured but no fresh concerns
  • 6-6-7 home record was the 4th worst in the league last season

Caen

  • Superb 4-0 win at home to Rodez last week to open the season
  • Striker Alexandre Mendy scored a hat trick in that match
  • Pacey attacker Caleb Zady is a new injury and will miss 2-3 weeks
  • New left back Ali Abdi still not ready due to lack of fitness

Conclusion & Betting analysis

Caen looked very impressive last week in Stephane Moulin’s first match in charge. They beat off Rodez 4-0 and the damage was pretty much done by the half hour mark when Alexandre Mendy went wild with a hat trick. I think we might get a few more answers from Caen here because this was a fixture they lost 0-3 last season. Niort can be an awkward opponents with their physical approach and direct game which can catch sides out on the break. I was honestly tempted by taking Caen on a DNB handicap here but I have been caught out by matches like this before. Niort are no mugs and can be really awkward opponents, especially here at home in front of their own fans. The logical outcome is for Caen to win, but I don’t know why for some reason I have a bad feeling about this game. Niort could easily throw a spanner into the works and I would rather see Caen back up their performance from week one rather than any sort of guesswork.

Prediction: 1-2

Recommended bet: None

France Ligue 2 – Nancy v Toulouse Preview (31/7/21)

Match Preview

Nancy

  • Lost in the 93rd minute away to Pau last week (1-2)
  • Played the entire 2nd half with 10 men after DC/DM  Giovanni Haag got sent off
  • Haag is suspended here and defensive trio Basila, El Kaoutari & Ciss are all injured
  • New target man signing upfront Andrew Jung is included in the squad

Toulouse

  • Disappointing 2-2 draw at home to Ajaccio last week facing 10 men for half the game
  • Young playmaker Amine Adli suspended for 2 matches
  • CB Bafo Diakate injured for a month
  • #2 GK Isak Pettersson hip injury will keep him out for several weeks

Conclusion & Betting analysis

Toulouse have a huge target on their back as the big favourite to win the league this season. I feel like every team will raise their game against them and that is exactly what happened last week when Ajaccio fought tooth and nail for a 2-2 draw. Toulouse are 2.15 favourites to win this game which is fairly understandable. They are the better team and have that bit of extra quality which could make the difference. However, this is only new coach Philippe Montanier’s 2nd game in charge and the players are likely still adapting to the 3-4-3 system.

Nancy also have a new manager in Daniel Stendel who has got them playing a gegenpressing style. Nancy are light of players in defence though, especially the centre back area and won’t be helped by the suspension of youngster Giovanni Haag. They do have new striker Andrew Jung in the squad though who was signed by sister club Oostende for nearly £1m and then loaned out. Jung was a monster in the National division for Quevilly-Rouen last season and can create mismatches with his physique. This match is a clear candidate for over 2.5 goals in my opinion. Both teams have enough firepower but there are some question marks defensively. The two meetings ended 1-3 and 4-1 last season. I think Toulouse will win by something of a similar score again but over 2.5 is my preferred pick. 

Prediction: 1-3

Recommended bet: Over 2.5 goals @2.04

France Ligue 2 – Guingamp v Valenciennes Preview (31/7/21)

Match Preview

Guingamp

  • Draw 0-0 vs Le Havre on the road last week
  • No new injuries or suspensions to report
  • Striker Frantzy Pierrot not available due to his international duty
  • Want-away left back Pedro Rebocho included in the squad and could start

Valenciennes

  • 0-0 draw to kick off the season at home to Niort last week
  • New signing in midfield Sambou Yatabare included in the squad
  • Young star CB Ismael Doukoure on Olympic duty
  • CB Eric Vandenabeele still injured

Conclusion & Betting analysis

Guingamp are odds-on favourites to win around the 1.95 mark. But they are often overrated based on sheer reputation and I’m not sure I fancy them to win today anyway. Both teams looked quite solid last week and drew 0-0. Maybe this could be another stalemate and I don’t see it being a particularly open game of football. But it is very early on in the season so anything is possible. The goal line is at 2.25 and if I was to bet on anything for this game it would be under. This certainly feels very drawish 0-0 or 1-1 and both teams would probably accept a point each. Guingamp don’t have the lofty sort of expectations they once had so the pressure isn’t on them to win all the time, which might be a good thing. It is the home side who have the better team on paper but I am very happy to leave this match alone and see how both teams perform.

Prediction: 0-0

Recommended bet: None

France Ligue 2 – Ajaccio v Amiens Preview (31/7/21)

Match Preview

Ajaccio

  • Excellent draw away to Toulouse last week despite having 10 men for the whole 2nd half
  • New centre back Clement Vidal suspended
  • Cyrille Bayala (RW) & Mathieu Coutadeur (CM) both injured
  • Key defender Ismael Diallo on Olympic duty with Ivory Coast
  • 8-6-5 home record last season was the 8th best in the league

Amiens

  • Defeat to start the season at home to Auxerre last week (1-2)
  • Captain and leader in midfield Arnaud Lusamba is back from suspension
  • New signing at left back Harouna Sy from Dunkerque is set to start
  • DC/DM Emmanuel Lomotey is injured
  • New target man striker Tolu Arokodare is now registered and available

Conclusion & Betting analysis

Ajaccio are a really short price here around the 2.0 mark which surprises me. They aren’t a bad team by any means and are always tough to beat on their own island of Corsica. However, the fact remains Amiens are the better team on paper. Amiens actually played fairly well vs Auxerre last week but had a poor 2nd half which cost them picking up at least a draw. It was nevertheless encouraging for them performance wise against a side who will be up there challenging for at least the playoffs. They will have 3 new players in the XI compared to last week who could make a real difference - especially captain Lusamba and new striker Arokodare.

Ajaccio did well to grind out a 2-2 draw in Toulouse. It was the sort of situation they love being the underdog and putting in a strong defensive shift with 10 men for 45 mins. They are missing a few players here though and squad depth is poor. Both meetings between the teams ended as draws last season and I could see something similar. If anyone is to win then I think Amiens are most likely. It’s going to be a mega hot day on Corsica with temperatures set to rise as high as 34 degrees. Under 2.25 goals could also be a very good bet for this match because I don’t think the players will have that much energy to attack. Amiens +0.5 is going to be my selection though because this price seems way higher than it should be. I fancy them to rebound after last week by taking at least a point. 

Prediction: 0-0

Recommended bet: Amiens +0.5 Asian Handicap @1.93

France Ligue 2 – Nimes v Dijon Preview (31/7/21)

Match Preview

Nimes

  • 1-1 draw away to Bastia in the first round was an acceptable result
  • Squad is fairly thin at the moment but seems quite collective
  • Winger Niclas Eliasson is injured and ruled out today
  • New signing in attack Elias Mar Omarsson is available
  • Midfielder Andres Cubas should start and assist machine Zinedine Ferhat included in the squad

Dijon

  • Very disappointing result and performance on Monday night at home to Sochaux (1-3)
  • Captain Bruno Ecuele Manga is axed following a terrible display
  • Several players ruled out either injured or for other reasons
  • Have signed a whopping 11 new players now but many are not yet ready or available

Conclusion & Betting analysis

To be fair to Nimes they played better than I thought they would last week away to Bastia. That was always going to be a banana skin type of fixture and could have gone badly wrong for them if they weren’t up for the fight. Nimes showed they are here to compete though and the group of players seems quite close right now even if they are some way off achieving their summer transfer targets both in and out of the club. Having Andres Cubas back starting in midfield will be big for them here and maybe even the chance of Zinedine Ferhat off the bench might offer something, even if his mind is set on leaving the club

Dijon looked a total mess on Monday night losing to Sochaux 1-3. Captain Bruno Ecuele Manga was terrible, making loads of mistakes and has been totally dropped from the squad as punishment. DFCO just don’t seem a collective unit right now though and understandably so. There have been an abundance of new arrivals and several players could still be leaving the club too. It was a definite blow losing new striker Mickael Le Bihan for a month due to injury and midfielder Jordan Marie for 6 months due to an ACL. There are far too many question marks surrounding both teams right now. Nimes are priced around 2.0 to win and are probably the most likely to get 3 points. However, I can’t trust them fully. I sense overs but it’s going to be a hot day in Nimes so the energy might be sucked out of the game. Tough one to predict and I’ll go with a 1-1 draw but nothing would surprise me here.

Prediction: 1-1

Recommended bet: None

Norway Eliteserien – Odd v Sandefjord Preview (28/7/21)

Match Preview

Odd

  • Lost 2 of their last 3 games but both were on the road’
  • Unbeaten at home this season with 3 wins and 2 draws
  • Key striker Mushaga Bakenga doubtful with injury again
  • Defensive duo Lekven & Ruud also doubtful
  • Last 7 matches have ended with over 2.5 goals

Sandefjord

  • Finally drew for the first time this season with a 1-1 at home to Haugesund
  • Away record is 3 defeats and 2 wins
  • First 7 fixtures all ended over 2.5, now their last 5 have ended under 2.5!
  • Midfielders Harmeet Singh & Amer Ordagic both doubtful due to injury

Conclusion & Betting analysis

I personally find Sandefjord very difficult to predict and a lot depends which version of them turns up. Odd tend to be more reliable in terms of what type of matches they have. It would help if Mushaga Bakenga is fit but I personally see this as an over 2.5 fixture. Odd have been involved in some wild games recently and tend to play quite open. To be honest, several Sandefjord recent fixtures probably should have ended over 2.5 but the chances just didn’t quite go into the back of the net. Odd have an excellent home record so I think they’ll just edge the game but Sandefjord can be a weird team who surprise sometimes. On paper they have one of the worst teams in the league but I’ve seen them play very well on certain days. I see this as something like a 2-1 or 3-1 Odd win or maybe even a 2-2 draw if Sandefjord take their chances. I think over 2.75 goals is worth backing at a fairly good price.

Prediction: 3-1

Recommended bet: Over 2.75 goals @1.97