France Ligue 1 – Nice v Dijon Preview (18/12/16)

Nice preview

  • Remarkably still top of the table after drawing 2-2 away against PSG last weekend. Les Aiglons did blow a 2-0 lead in that fixture but should be happy with the outcome.
  • Lucien Favre’s men are unbeaten at the Allianz Riviera this season, winning seven and drawing two games here. This place has been a real fortress and Nice are extremely formidable in front of their own fans.
  • Mario Balotelli should start this game after dealing with recent injuries. With their key striker upfront, the south coast side are far more dangerous. He offers them so much both technically and physically.
  • The hosts do have issues in defence though. The fullback duo Dalbert and Ricardo are both ruled out of this match so Nice could be vulnerable to Dijon wingers.

Dijon preview

  • Les Rouges are a side with plenty of spirit and character but when all's said and done, they’ve only won 1 of their last 10 games. As a result, the visitors are only outside of the relegation by virtue of goal difference.
  • Defeat against Marseille last time out was harsh, they put plenty into the game. Prior to that they came from 1-3 down to draw at Caen, and even managed to hold Monaco. They aren’t to be underestimated and have drawn a lot of games this season.
  • Midfielder Jordan Marie is injured and will miss out here. Marvin Martin & Florent Balmont are also casualties in this area, but both have been absent for quite some time now. Dijon are at full strength everywhere else.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Yet another PSG shock defeat on Saturday should give Nice more hope that they can ‘do a Leicester’ and win the Ligue 1 title. Victory here would put them seven points clear of the Parisiens, although Monaco are their nearest rivals right now.
  • It’s no surprise to see Nice a -1 Asian handicap favourite. They’ve had such a stellar season and are of course the better team. Dijon are a plucky side though and won’t have any fear. They are also capable of taking the attack to their opponents.
  • The goal line is set at 2.75 and this is actually an odds-on shot. I actually think this game will end over, but that sort of line isn’t something I like to back in Ligue 1 very often. What if Dijon came and parked the bus? I don't think they will, but it has happened in some games.
  • Everyone is expecting Nice to win easily and this could add extra pressure to them. I have a feeling Dijon will be much more competitive than many believe. Ultimately, it might be they fall short but if I had to bet anything, then the visitors +1 would probably be my selection.
  • I’m happy to leave the game alone. This is a very intriguing fixture though, well worth watching and could offer some decent in-running opportunities.

Prediction: 2-1

Recommended bet: None