France Ligue 2 – Reims v Niort Preview (28/11/16)

Reims preview

  • The hosts have suddenly produced two very sub-standard displays against Laval at home (0-2) and Nimes away (0-3) respectively. This has moved them down to sixth spot and out of the promotion places.
  • Defensive and individual errors have cost them a number of goals recently, which is unlike a Michel Der Zakarian side. It’s no coincidence that key centre back Julien Jeanvier has missed both of the recent defeats, and once again he’s ruled out here which is a major blow.
  • Starting keeper Johann Carrasso is also injured for this match. However, he was poor on Friday night and some people might argue that backup custodian Edouard Mendy isn’t much of a downgrade.
  • The biggest problem that Reims have is in attack though, where they can’t get any consistency. It doesn’t help their cause that guys like Chavarria & Charbonnier are still injured. The coach has added two younger players to the squad tonight to try and freshen things up.
  • Reims have won 6 out of 7 home games and have generally been very strong at Le Stade Delaune this season.

Niort preview

  • Les Chamois are in very good form having lost just 1 of their last 10 games. In total, they’ve won 6 of their last 8 games and been one of the hot teams in Ligue 2 recently.
  • However, Friday's 1-1 draw at home to Ajaccio raised question marks. They produced a very poor second half and might easily have lost. It seemed like an accumulation of games might have caught up with them physically.
  • Niort were in action last Monday when they claimed a great 3-2 win at Brest. But this will now be their third game in the space of seven days, which is a big ask on their small squad. The coach is going to have seriously consider rotation, but he lacks options.
  • Key striker Dona Ndoh is injured which is a blow. He only managed to play 20 mins on Friday and they perhaps missed his clinicality upfront. Ndoh has scored 7 goals in 13 appearances this season.
  • Experienced defensive midfielder Laurent Agouazi is another ruled out and his bite in the middle of the park was also missed on Friday. They have no other fresh concerns, although the physical state of certain players has to be questioned after Friday night.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Reims are a short priced 1.85 favourite and these odds are fairly unappealing based on their recent defeats. Something isn’t quite right with them at the moment, although on paper they are certainly the better team and could easily rebound.
  • Niort have been playing well and are on a great run, but I sense their good period could end soon. The accumulation of fixtures isn’t going to help them and I could see Les Chamois struggling tonight in a physical way.
  • Their defence was blown open too many times by Ajaccio on Friday night which is concerning. Reims are lacking confidence in the offensive department at the moment, but they still have quality players like Diego Rigonato who won’t be as wasteful if given opportunities.
  • Over 2.25 goals is the bet I like around the 2.0 mark. Niort have been involved in some higher scoring contests recently, and I could see them make a few mistakes that let in Reims here.
  • Most of Reims’ home games have contained at least a couple of goals and the hosts themselves are far from secure at the moment. Both sides are good from set pieces and I’m expecting a few good chances to be created from them.
  • I’d say Reims’ extra quality should in the end come though and I expect them to find a way to win. However, I’m not willing to risk backing Michel Der Zakarian’s side at such a short price. Niort deserve some respect for their recent good run.

Prediction: 2-1

Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.25 goals @ 2.0