France Ligue 2 – Lens v Tours Preview (5/8/16)


Lens preview

Labouring to a 0-0 draw away against Niort was hardly the best start to the season for Lens. At least they didn't lose and generally controlled the game, but more is expected of them this season. New coach Alain Casanova has come in and insisted on them using his preferred 3-5-2 formation. This is a formation in football which I personally like, albeit it’s rarely seen much. The problem is I don’t think it suits this bunch of players. The key part of this formation is having two good fullbacks or strong wide midfielders. Lens don’t really have that and would be better off in a different formation IMO. It’s clear everyone is still getting used to the system and I’m sure some of them don’t really like it. So Lens will continue to be a work in progress for a while. The other big problem for Les Sang et Or is scoring goals. The two players employed upfront last week weren’t even proper strikers and until new signing Teddy Chevalier is ready they lack much of a bite in this area.

Tours preview

TFC were outplayed last week and were lucky to obtain a 0-0 draw against Ajaccio. This was a poor outcome facing one of the worst away sides in Ligue 2, although maybe Ajaccio deserve a little bit more respect than that. The problem was that Tours seemed flat in all areas of the field and extremely rusty. The offence, which had looked so sharp in its previous friendly offered nothing at all. Maybe it was just a bad day at the office and everyone will have ‘come on’ a bit after playing their first competitive game of the season. New coach Fabien Mercadal has promised a more entertaining style of football this year but not a lot seems to have changed. I’d imagine Tours will approach this game quite cautiously and their first aim will be to keep a clean sheet again. Important midfielder Haris Belkebla is on olympic duty and his presence was badly missed last week. At least their left back issues might be solved with new signing Daouda Konate in the squad tonight. Ibrahim Cisse played their last week but he’s naturally right footed which caused some issues.

Conclusion & betting analysis

I can’t see this match being much of a classic. Both were involved in 0-0 draws last week and the exact same could happen again. I have a feeling it could take Lens a while to fire on all cylinders whilst the players get used to their unusual 3-5-2 formation. Tours meanwhile, looked well undercooked last week but was it an exception? The biggest crowd of the night in Ligue 2 will be here at Le Stade Felix Bollaert but sometimes that can work against Lens. The fans will get frustrated if Tours just sit and park the bus. Lens may well lack for a cutting edge here and scoring goals hasn't been a plus point for them in recent times. Maybe the hosts might be able to sneak a 1-0 win or something, but @ an odds-on price I could think of much better bets today. There is very little value here and overall I just don't think this match will open up much. The decision to swerve the fixture is fairly easy.

Prediction: 0-0
Recommended bet: None

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