Nancy have shown real improvement under the management of Alain Perrin. He has trusted some youth players who are clearly hungrier and had more motivation than some established players, who had been quite frankly crap under the previous regime. Despite all this, I still get a feeling that Nancy are a work in progress and they only beat Red Star, Orleans and obtained a draw with Ajaccio recently. None of those teams are playing well right now and Troyes will be a much tougher test. ESTAC have won 8 of their last 11 games and I think it probably would be a surprise if they got beat tonight. I sense a draw and nothing really appeals from a betting point of view because all lines offered seem extremely fair.
This the sort of match Brest really should be winning. They suffered defeat away at Lens last time out, a result that surprised me but it must be said that in terms of raw power and strength it’s no disgrace. That loss ended a 12 game unbeaten run but they have an ideal chance to get straight back on the horse vs a Beziers outfit who have suddenly looked a little bit out of their depth in recent matches. They got battered by Clermont 2-0 - and it should've been more, and followed that up by losing to Grenoble 3-0. They will be plucky here and show plenty of fight. But the extra class of Brest should see them through with a bit to spare, so taking the home team on a -1 Asian line looks like the best way to go.
Here we have a battle between top and bottom of the table and it could turn into a bit of a mis-match. I think it’s fair to say that Metz haven’t been at their best in recent weeks an you have to go back as far as mid October for the last time they were truly dominate in a match when they beat Niort 3-0. Since then, Les Grenats have had to labour their way and grind out some victories - goalscoring has been reduced in the team. But this is still a quality squad with plenty of depth and they can even rotate tonight if needed. I expect to see a few changes to freshen up the side, which might actually do them some good.
Red Star travel here in really poor form and it’s clear they are the worst side in Ligue 2 at the moment. A change of coach hasn’t really helped matters. They managed to fluke a 1-1 draw at Brest which is their only crumb of comfort in the last few weeks. Red Star have been hammered 0-3 at home to Beziers & Troyes and also lost at Nancy 1-0, but it could've been by a bigger margin. I just don’t see much hope for this team, they look far too disjointed and lack overall quality. Metz should be able to assert their authority on the fixture and I’m surprised a -1.25 Asian line can be backed around the even money mark. I think it should be a shorter price and this is an ideal chance for Les Grenats to get back to claiming a comfortable victory.
This is a meeting between two promoted teams and the H2H fixtures ended 0-0 and 2-0 (to Grenoble) respectively last season. Both sides have equipped themselves really well in Ligue 2, especially Grenoble who find themselves on 28 points and in promotion contention. They picked up a creditable 1-1 draw vs Metz at the weekend and before that held Lens 0-0 away. Grenoble have won 3 of their last 4 road games and will fancy their chances against a Beziers side yet to win in front of their own fans. Of course, things haven’t been helped by the fact that they aren’t playing at their natural home and instead forced to reside at Stade de la Mediterranee (rugby stadium in Beziers). They even had to play one game at a neutral venue in Montpellier so it’s no real surprise to see their home statistics reading 0-3-3.
I fancy Grenoble to win this game but their price isn’t that great. I am not personally convinced they deserve to be -0.25 favourites here and I would say a DNB line is fairer. They also had one day less to prepare for this fixture and might have exerted themselves a lot vs Metz on Saturday. Both sides are missing some players to injury in defensive areas and it’s possible there could be some rotation due to this being a midweek round. I think the value lies with over 2 goals. It’s noticeable that a lot of Grenoble road games have contained a good number of goals, apart from at Lorient and Lens when they were more defensive. This is the sort of fixture they should fancy winning though and I expect a more expansive game. It’s the sort of game in which neither should fear losing and fancy winning, so I think the overs is the best shout.
Since firing Jean Luc Vasseur, Chateauroux have actually done surprisingly well. They’ve picked up 11 points from 6 games, including 3 victories all by a 1-0 margin. Les Berrichonne have also kept 4 clean sheets during this period and have looked very solid under their new coach Nicolas Usai. I have to give him credit because this isn't a very talented squad. I wasn’t sure that a change of coach would solve their problems, but Usai has certainly enjoyed a strong honeymoon - which is perhaps due to come to an end. My big concern with Chateauroux is a lack of firepower. They don't score goals very easily and now that key man upfront Oumare Tounkara is injured again it hardly helps their options upfront.
Le Havre meanwhile, are an inconsistent side that is probably underachieving. They have plenty of quality on paper but that doesn't always materialise into results. I’m just waiting for them to go on a good run that will propel them up the table. Scoring goals is also their major problem - just 18 netted in 16 games is a very poor return for a club with their ambitions. Maybe £2m summer signing Tino Kadewere might finally get more than 10 mins off the bench. They really need to start him sooner rather than later and tonight would be an excellent opportunity. I think Le Havre are fairly good value here. They should be a -0.75 Asian line but we can nearly grab even money on them to win the match. It’s probably a case of them being underrated a bit and Chateauroux suddenly overrated. Under 2.25 is probably a value pick as well but I prefer to back just Le Havre here and not commit too much to the game. I sense something like 1-0 or 2-0 home win and the only ‘danger’ scoreline to this bet is probably 0-0.
Lens had such a great start to the season but now there’s a massive danger of them completely capitulating. Les Sang et Or have failed to win any of their last 5 games, with 3 of those ending in defeats. They seem in a bit of a funk, although can take some comfort from the fact they came from 0-2 down to earn a late draw at Lorient on Friday night. However, it was a match which was very costly to them in terms of injury. Summer signing Aleksandar Radovanovic, who has been one of their best players is ruled out for the season due to a torn ACL. He joins fellow centre back Jean Kevin Duverne who has the exact same injury, although at least he should return in the new year. Right back Fabien Centonze also got injured at Lorient and is ruled out until January.
Brest on the other hand, are absolutely flying. They are unbeaten in 12 games and have won 9 of those fixtures. Right now, they probably look like the best side in Ligue 2 and you wouldn't want to be betting against them. The squad is in peak condition apart from midfielder Jessy Pi who has been on the sidelines for a few weeks now. Brest have an excellent away record this season and have always been good on the road under the management of Jean Marc Furlan. I am really surprised considering their brilliant form, Lens’ poor funk and recent injury problems at the back that Brest are such a big underdog here. I don't usually like backing away teams but it really makes sense taking a +0.25 handicap. A bet that I fancy even more is over 2.25 goals. The visitors are often involved in some frantic matches that become quite open. Lens will be forced to attack here because defence isn't going to get them a result tonight. They should put up a decent fight and hit the back of the net but I fancy Brest to outscore them and win.
There is a clash of styles here as the more cautious Niort take on Valenciennes, who often end up getting involved in some higher scoring contests. Valenciennes can be so wide open sometimes, it's just a question of whether Niort can take advantage of that here. My instinct tells me that this will be an attractive game containing goals, but the bookies have factored this in by offering quite a skinny looking over 2.25 line. The last four Niort games have ended 1-0 0-0 0-1 and 1-0 and they have been no stranger to lower scoring contests under new head coach Patrice Lair - they can defend. The best value is probably on Niort -0.25 close to the 1.85 mark. According to my estimations Les Chamois should be odds-on to win this match really so we are getting a whole full line value. Valenciennes have a terrible 1-1-5 away record and concede a bucket load of goals on a regular basis. The more effective unit in Niort can prevail here.
This is going to be a battle between two teams who can be really hard to beat. I’m not expecting a classic and I’m not expecting a lot of goalmouth action. Paris FC are just a very well disciplined and defensive side - they couldn’t even score against Valenciennes on Friday night and that was facing one of the worst defences in the league. I don't see them doing much better against a Clermont outfit who are much more solid at the back. Clermont are actually a really really good footballing team and play in a lovely technical style. They are a dark horse for promotion if you ask me, although they themselves sometimes have problems scoring goals and aren’t clinical enough - they tend to need a lot of chances to score. Unfortunately they won’t get that many here, so unless there is a moment of magic or a big mistake from someone I see a goalless draw.
This is probably the hardest match of the day to predict in Ligue 2. Both teams have new coaches, and in the case of Sochaux this will be Omar Daf’s first home game in charge. I didn’t really notice too much of an improvement in Sochaux on Friday night apart from perhaps them looking more solid defensively. Even so, Les Lionceaux went down to a 0-1 defeat at Chateauroux. GFCA have shown some improvements under Herve Delle Maggiore but are still clearly a work in progress. Anything could happen here and no result would surprise me. The best value, if any is to be had is probably on over 2 or over 2.25 goals but this is only a gut feeling.
Troyes have won 7 of their last 10 games and you can’t really knock their recent results. Performances have been good and they must surely fancy their chances against an Orleans side who have gone downhill lately. I always suspected that their surprising 6 match winning streak in Sept/Oct was a bit of a freak and they've since followed it up with some very poor results. The latest of those was losing 1-2 at home to Nancy and the sort of performance they had in that game was pretty appalling really. Troyes should have enough here and they are backable around the 1.90 mark, which is nothing brilliant but offers sufficient value to warrant a bet on them. Aside from winning at Red Star and GFCA, this Orleans team hasn’t impressed much away from home and quite frankly Troyes are a much better team. Orleans still miss key man at the back Adrien Mondray and the difference when he is and isn’t in the side is like night and day. Home win for me here.