France Ligue 2 – Niort v Ajaccio Preview (25/11/16)

Niort preview

  • Denis Renaud’s men are the hottest team in Ligue 2 right now, winning 6 of their last 7 games. This never looked remotely possible a couple of months ago but they have turned around their form in stunning fashion!
  • I was still not personally convinced by Niort until Monday night when they produced a great display to beat Brest 3-2 on the road. I have been impressed with their offensive attitude recently, which is unlike this club ad certainly unusual for their coach who is historically negative.
  • Winning breeds winning and clearly confidence is high in the Niort camp. The same group of players that has been starting games for them recently is retained again and they have no new injuries or suspensions.

Ajaccio preview

  • The Corsican outfit are, as ever, fairly inconsistent and currently hovering around midtable. This team often performs against its expectations. They were a slight underdog at home to Strasbourg last week and relished the opportunity, delivering a solid 2-0 win.
  • Ajaccio have a terrible statistical away record though and rarely win on the road. They are one of just two sides in Ligue 2 who have yet to register a victory on their travels this season.
  • However, this is a side that can play spoiler, just as the 1-1 draw they obtained at Lens a couple of weeks ago proved. Performance wise, Olivier Pantaloni’s side haven't been playing too badly.
  • Key striker Moussa Maazou who has been in excellent form recently is suspended. No1 keeper Riffi Mandanda remains injured but they have no other significant casualties.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Niort are in such great form that they are really hard to ignore at the moment. They have always been pretty strong at home and this should be a fixture they are capable of winning.
  • Missing their in-form striker, it’s difficult to see Ajaccio generating much of a threat. They can be an awkward side at times but their away results are so poor.
  • I’m surprised that Niort are as big a 1.95 on a -0.25 handicap. I really expected them to be around the 1.70 mark on this handicap, if not a little shorter.
  • Considering current form and their opponents, I think this has to be a no brainer bet. Ajaccio rarely win on the road so the likelihood of having a full loser with this pick is very low. It just feels like an excellent value selection.
  • I personally see Niort winning to nil, with 2-0 perhaps being the most probable outcome. It’s probably more of an under sort of game but the goal line seems well set by the bookies. I will just stick with Niort -0.25.

Prediction: 2-0

Recommended bet 1 unit: Niort -0.25 @ 1.95