France Ligue 2 – Auxerre v GFC Ajaccio Preview (5/8/16)


Auxerre preview

Viorel Moldovan has kept faith with the same group of players that drew 0-0 at Red Star on Sunday. AJA were surprisingly good in that game, edging the contest and restricting their opponents to only a couple of meaningful chances. New signing from Marseille, Stephane Sparagna produced an excellent display at the back and the new look defence was shockingly solid despite missing a number of players. The trio of Baba Traore, Mickael Tacalfred & Ruben Aguilar remain out here, with left back their most vulnerable position. Youngster Kenji Van Boto was good against Red Star, but one swallow doesn’t make a summer so let’s see how he does here. Unfortunately, their new striker Yoann Touzghar isn’t yet qualified. They could do with him upfront because apart from Gaetan Courtet, they lack much of a cutting edge. New coach Viorel Moldovan has promised a more attacking style this season, maybe we’ll see that here in his first home match. Auxerre should at least be approaching the contest feeling relatively satisfied with the draw last week.

GFC Ajaccio preview

The Corsicans definitely had the better of their 0-0 draw against Brest last week, but came up against a keeper in great form. The bad news is they now face possibly the best custodian in the entire division! Zacharie Boucher demonstrated numerous times last season he’s capable of winning points on his own for Auxerre. GFC need to be more clinical and better at finishing. Already this early in the campaign their main weakness is being highlighted. The likes of John Tshibumbu, Julien Romain, Sekou Cisse & Rafik Boujedra aren’t what you’d call elite class in the final third of the field. You don’t really fancy them to score against Boucher even if decent chances are created. GFC will be without three old but highly important players for this match. In defence, Jeremy Brechet is 37 now but remains a key part of their DNA. Versatile midfielder David Ducourtioux is even older but his influence on the team isn't to be underestimated. Key central midfielder Jerome Lemoigne remains out after missing most of preseason. Coach Jean Luc Vannichi returns to his old club so might have an edge in terms of gameplan and tactics.

Conclusion & Betting analysis

For most of last season and indeed also the campaign in which GFC got promoted, they’ve been routinely underrated by the bookies. Here looks like an example where they are overrated though. The visitors are missing three important players, and for all their huff and puff couldn't find a way past Brest last week. I don't have full faith in the GFC attackers, I think they need very easy chances or a lot of chances in order to convert into goals. The problem is I don't think they’ll get that many opportunities facing an Auxerre side who looked solid last week. The same things I said about GFC pretty much apply to AJA as well though. Gaetan Courtet aside, they lack anyone who can finish chances. I think in a few weeks or months time both sides might prove to be sharper offensively. Each coach is naturally positive IMO. But right now this is a 0-0 contender, and I have a sneaky feeling Auxerre can claim a slender victory. The hosts on a DNB handicap are quite tempting. But I think I need to see a few more rounds of Ligue 2 before I commit to something like this, in what looks set to be a close fixture.

Prediction: 1-0
Recommended bet: None

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