Sunday Ligue 1 – Pre Match Analysis & Picks

Bordeaux – Lille

I’d say Bordeaux have been fairly inconsistent recently but their home record is pretty strong this season. Les Girondins have a 4-2-0 record at Le Parc Lescure and Willy Sagnol has yet to taste defeat in front of his own fans. Their squad has had injury problems this year but for this match only long term casualties are mostly out and they are in much better condition. The same can’t be said about Lille who have a trio of defensive suspensions to worry about today. The likes of Corchia and Beria both miss out and whilst their injury situation isn’t as bad this week, there are still a number of doubts surrounding the fitness of certain players. The main problem Lille have had to encounter this week is the Europa League though. They had to travel to Russia on Thursday and could only draw 1-1 at Krasnodar. Lille have had huge issues following European games this season so I wouldn’t expect them to be at their best today. Lille did at least have last weekend off so physically they shouldn’t be as tired this time, it’s more the mental strain to have to come back home, then go down to Bordeaux within 70 hours! Bordeaux should be able to take advantage but even if that wasn’t a factor then I’d say Les Girondins are the better side anyway. Lille have lost 4 of their last 5 ligue fixtures and are in a bit of a rut, so I really like backing the hosts -0.25.

Prediction: Bordeaux 2-0 Lille
Recommended bet: Bordeaux -0.25 @ 1.98 5/10

Evian – Guingamp

This is actually a battle between the bottom two teams in the table following last night’s results. Evian have at least won 4 of their last 7 games and following a sticky start to the campaign have managed to shown some signs of promise in the last few weeks. They are still one of the poorer sides in Ligue 1 though and their talent level on paper isn’t particularly high. Guingamp meanwhile, have lost a whopping 10/14 matches this year, a number of which have come on the back of them playing in Europe. This simply isn’t a squad that can cope with two matches a week, especially facing high calibre European opposition. I think they’ll be fairly tired today after throwing the kitchen sink at Fiorentina on Thursday night, so could be flat here. It’s worth noting that between them, both teams have had just one draw all season, which is a ridiculous figure for Ligue 1! You could argue both are due an all square game, but I have to favour Evian today. They have a lot of things in their favour and should be really fresh after a 3 week break (their game vs Lille was postponed last round). They aren’t a great side but I think they can take advantage of the usual Guingamp European hangover and collect 3 points.

Prediction: Evian 2-1 Guingamp
Recommended bet: Evian -0.25 @ 1.88 4/10

St Etienne – Lyon

Big derby to round off the weekend and this is a fixture that Lyon always do well in. Their record at Le Stade Geoffroy Guichard is ridiculous and it’s something daft like 20 years since they last lost here! OL always seem to raise their game for this match and Sainte choke in front of their expectant fans. Lyon even have extra factors in their favour tonight which they should be able to take advantage of. They were only facing Qarabag, but St Etienne had to put plenty of effort into their Europa League match on Thursday night and still couldn’t win! Physically they could be slightly affected here, and also mentally drained. OL have had all week to prepare for their arch rivals and I’m sure intelligent coach Hubert Fournier will have prepared a range of good tactics to do battle with tonight. Lyon are actually the better team anyway irrelevant of the extra factors in their favour. It’s been remarkable how well they have played together this season, some of the youngsters have really stepped up to the plate. They could be lethal on the counter attack here and it’s difficult to see them suffering defeat. OL on a +0.25 handicap looks a good bet to me. They should at least draw, but I actually expect them to win.

Prediction: St Etienne 0-1 Lyon
Recommended bet: Lyon +0.25 @ 2.05 4/10

Saturday Ligue 1 Pre Match Analysis & Picks (later games)

Caen – Montpellier

I’ve said for a while that Caen are a better team than their record suggests, hence why I backed them +0.75 against Monaco last week. The problem is they have only won 1 of their last 11 games, which really isn’t very good statistically. Sooner or later this is going to weigh them down mentally and they need to grind out a win or two. They had that chance a couple of weeks at home to Nantes, but despite leading, failed to hold on and eventually lost 1-2. This is a very winnable fixture facing an inconsistent Montpellier outfit, but I’m not so sure I can trust Caen enough to back them. One bet I do like is over 2.25 goals. Caen have a habit of really opening teams up and almost forcing them into a shootout. They play such positive football but can also leave themselves vulnerable at the back. Montpellier are a potentially dangerous side on the break and I could see them scoring at least once today. My gut feeling is that Caen will win but the safer bet does look set to be the overs. This should be an entertaining affair so I’ll stick a few units on the 2.25 line.

Prediction: Caen 2-1 Montpellier
Recommended bet: Over 2.25 goals @ 1.95 4/10

Lens – Metz

A battle between two promoted teams here and I’d say Lens really need a result in it. They lost at Lorient last week 1-0 although were down to 10 men for most of the game. It’s vitally important Le Sang et Or at least draw today, else they could start to become adrift at the bottom of the table. On the positive side, their recent performances have been alright and they are perhaps a little bit better than their results might suggest. Metz also have a really poor away record, losing 5 out of 7 on the road. Of course, it has to be mentioned that Lens of course aren’t playing at their own stadium this season. Instead, they are based at Le Stade de la Licorne in Amiens. I wouldn’t say it hinders them too much though and they are still well supported. This is such an important game for them that I think they can sneak a win.It might also help that they beat Metz twice last season in Ligue 2, so might have a mental edge on them. I’m willing to put a few units on Antoine Kombouare’s men DNB. This is not a massive bet or anything, but I have some belief in Lens tonight.

Prediction: Lens 1-0 Metz
Recommended bet: Lens DNB @ 1.97 4/10

Reims – Bastia

Reims have found some good form recently and are unbeaten in 6 games. They’ve won their last 3 home fixtures so are really starting to fire in front of their own fans. 2 or 3 weeks ago I would really fancy them in a match like this, but things have changed a bit at Bastia and I am less sure about taking on the Corsicans. Their performances have really improved since the sacking of Claude Makelele, beating Montpellier and drawing against Lyon. Both of those games were at home though and traditionally they are poor on the road, this could be the acid test for them tonight. Reims -0.25 does, in many ways look like an appealing bet, but I think it’d be dangerous to go against a potentially resurgent Bastia in this fixture. So overall I’d say it’s a match best swerved and I actually have a feeling this might end a draw.

Prediction: Reims 1-1 Bastia NO BET

Rennes – Monaco

I really have no explanation why Monaco have been doing so well in the CL this season. The south coast club are nothing special IMO, yet they have continually produced solid results in Europe. Mind you, it must be said their win at Leverkusen on Monday night was extremely lucky and they were easily 2nd best in that fixture. Monaco have actually performed well in ligue 1 immediately after their European matches this season, but this might be a struggle tonight. Rennes should be really well prepared for them and have had a full week of rest compared to Le Monegasques. The Brittany outfit have also developed into a really solid team, proving difficult to penetrate. Finally, Philippe Montanier’s men have found a way to grind out results, the first time this has happened during his tenure at the club. They also have a real difference maker in their team, Paul Georges Ntep. He is on fire at the moment and can win matches on his own for them with his brilliance. I don’t think Rennes will lose tonight so I’m more than happy to take them on a DNB handicap.

Prediction: Rennes 1-0 Monaco
Recommended bet: Rennes DNB @ 1.97 4/10

Toulouse – Lorient

TFC have lost 4 of their last 5 games so there’s no way I could back them @ this price. Lorient aren’t a particularly good team and are renowned for being awful away, but they do at least possess a reasonable goal threat and will definitely ‘have a go’ tonight. Toulouse have been missing too many chances this season and have issues converting in the final third. They beat Metz here 3-0 in their previous home fixture but they have proved all too unreliable this year. I actually think they will get the win but I’m not interested in them @ 1.75. This should be a fairly open contest in which both teams attack. Over 2.25 did interest me a little bit, but the price isn’t quite big enough, so overall I’m going to refrain from betting.

Prediction: Toulouse 2-1 Lorient

Saturday Ligue 1 & 2 Pre Match Analysis (early matches)

Angers – Troyes

I quite fancy Angers here, they are a really strong home team. The western outfit possess a great 5-2-0 record in front of their own fans, conceding just one goal here all season! Their overall form is a bit patchy, but only because of problems on the road. They proved a couple of weeks ago that they are a reliable home outfit when they beat Dijon 1-0 deservedly. For me, that is a great form guide and if they play like that today then they’ll have a great chance of picking up 3 points. Troyes are a solid team who have a knack of picking up results, but the general standard of their displays is questionable at times. I feel like they’ve lucked into obtaining a number of points this year, although that could also be the sign of a good team. They miss a number of players for this match which isn’t going to help their cause. Troyes have already lost 3 times away from home this season and I am quite happy to take them on in this fixture. I do however feel that DNB cover is required. Neither team is going to want to lose and an all square affair is a possibility.

Prediction: Angers 2-0 Troyes
Recommended bet: Angers DNB @ 1.76 6/10

PSG – Nice

I’ve got to be honest, PSG don’t really impress me much at the moment. It’s true they are picking up wins and results but I don’t think they are playing anywhere near their full potential. Quite why that is I’m not fully sure, perhaps coach Laurent Blanc has something to do with it, but they simply aren’t firing on all cylinders. Les Parisians are relying on individual moments of brilliance, and fortunately for them they have the type of players who can produce in that sort of way. But they don’t look to be playing together as a team very well and therefore I can’t trust them right now. Nice come here with nothing to lose, although it’s difficult to see them troubling PSG too much. Since they thrashed Guingamp 7-2 they seem to have lacked much of a goal threat, overall it’d be a surprise if they troubled the scorers at Le Parc de Princes. The asian handicap line is PSG -2 here and it’s just a question of whether they can cover or not. I’ve got a feeling they’ll win by exactly a two goal margin and I’m not interested in betting in this fixture.

Prediction: PSG 2-0 Nice NO BET

Friday Ligue 1 & 2 Pre Match Analysis & Picks

Arles – Dijon

A key factor to consider here is that the playing surface is unlikely to be in good condition. Poor weather and a lot of rain has hit the Arles region recently and Le Parc des Sports is renowned for being one of the worst pitches in the winter. So this wont make life easy for the players and goals could be at a premium. Arles looked worryingly poor at Clermont last week, losing 1-3 and should’ve even lost by a bigger margin. If it weren’t for the fact that Dijon are dodgy away then I would definitely back the visitors here. I am going to predict a tight win for Les Rouges, but all things considered this is probably a match best avoided.

Prediction: Arles 0-1 Dijon NO BET

Brest – Creteil

Brest are a real machine at the moment and rarely concede any goals. Their defence is superb and they are usually extremely tough to beat at home. This might be a tougher fixture than most people think though. Creteil aren’t that bad a team and should be full of confidence after beating Nimes 2-0 last week. The sacking of Philippe Hinchberger should work out as a very good thing for them, but even when he was in charge they pushed Nancy hard a couple of weeks ago. If they can go to Nancy and come close to winning then there’s no reason why they can’t at least give Brest a fright tonight. I’m going to predict the Parisian outfit get a point but I’d certainly not risk betting against Brest in front of their own fans!

Prediction: Brest 1-1 Creteil NO BET

Laval – Auxerre

Laval’s long unbeaten run has finally come to an end after they lost at GFCA last week. And it was also a defeat that came at a cost considering they had two players sent off in that game. That means tonight that they have to deal with a couple of suspensions plus a number of injuries that are starting to rack up. In total I’d say about 6 potential starters are ruled out for them, including key striker Christian Bekamenga. When he’s not in their team I always worry how they are going to score goals. I just don’t see Les Tangos scoring from open play and it would need some sort of set piece for them to threaten. Auxerre are a pretty solid side and should be able to pick up at least a draw tonight. I don’t really see why they are such an underdog, and come kick off they will probably be a slight favourite. Overall I’m confident enough to place a decent wager on the visiting outfit in this one.

Prediction: Laval 0-1 Auxerre
Recommended bet: Auxerre +0.25 @ 1.75 5/10

Chateauroux – Niort

I don’t really see why Chateauroux are such a clear underdog here. It’s true they aren’t a great side and arguably they are the worst team in Ligue 2. But I don’t think they are *that* bad and in a fixture like this Les Berrichonne should be fairly competitive. They are facing a Niort outfit who can sometimes struggle to score goals and who aren’t particularly great themselves. At home on their own artificial surface Chateauroux can sometimes be a handful and I’d expect them to at least draw tonight. They should definitely be a favourite so taking them on a +0.25 line makes sense as a definite value bet. It’s tough to stomach when you back a poor side but this is an instance where I’d say the price is too good to refuse. At least Chateauroux have proven their ability to grind out some results this season which gives me reasonable hope.

Prediction: Chateauroux 1-0 Niort
Recommended bet: Chateauroux +0.25 @ 1.85 4/10

Nimes – Le Havre

It was obvious Nimes were affected negatively by all of the match fixing issues last week and I do wonder if this might carry on for a while. It’s a real issue and talking point and it also doesn’t help their cause that their current squad is really poor. On paper this is one of the weakest teams in Ligue 2 which doesn’t bode well for them. I would definitely back Le Havre here if I wasn’t so concerned about their away record. They have struggled on the road this season and it’s also possible that the pitch won’t be in great condition, which won’t suit Havre’s technical style. Nimes have only lost one home match this season so I will give them some slight respect, even if ultimately I think they’ll suffer defeat.

Prediction: Nimes 0-1 Le Havre NO BET

Orleans – Ajaccio

Tough one here. Orleans lost at Dijon last week but put up a fairly decent fight, especially considering they missed some key players. Tonight their squad is in much better condition but it won’t be easy facing an Ajaccio side who have rebounded well recently. Under the guidance of new manager Olivier Pantaloni they are definitely a team that needs to be respected more. I don’t think this will be a particularly exciting match and it’s a 0-0 contender. It doesn’t interest me in the slightest betting on this fixture so I’ll leave well alone.

Prediction: Orleans 0-0 Ajaccio NO BET

Sochaux – Clermont

I quite fancy Sochaux but their current price isn’t really good enough for me to consider betting on them. Les Lionceaux are unbeaten in 10 games but they are always better suited away from home. In front of their own fans they never seem to play as well, although have shown recent improvements. They should really have enough for Clermont tonight, although it’s worth nothing that the visitors probably produced their best performance of the season last week beating Arles 3-1. However, that was facing a far poorer team and this’ll be a much more difficult test. If I could get 1.80 on a -0.25 line I’d probably back Sochaux, but for now it’s a no bet situation for me.

Prediction: Sochaux 2-1 Clermont NO BET

Tours – GFCA

I would say Tours actually have a really good chance of winning tonight. They have a squad at full strength, should be confident after drawing last week and GFCA travel here missing a number of key players. Ending their awful 7 game losing streak must have surely settled some of the Tours nerves and it’s likely they’ll be less pressure on the players tonight. They still desperately need a win though and that’ll be in the back of everyone’s minds. GFCA have become what I expected they’d become in the last few weeks – good at home but poor away. The Corsicans have lost 4 of their last 5 on the road and tonight being without the likes of Fillipi, Andreau, Pujol plus a couple of others isn’t going to help their cause. I think Tours will win, but could any of you guys really stomach betting on a side that’s lost 11 out of 15 matches? Tours are a poisonous team who often find ways to fuck up games, so I personally can’t risk betting on them.

Prediction: Tours 2-1 GFCA NO BET

Marseille – Nantes

I think the way Marseille have played this season makes them deserved favourites tonight but I am respectful enough of Nantes to swerve betting on OM pre match. Nantes are actually unbeaten in 9 games and find themselves situation in 4th position. I’m sure coach Michel Der Zakarian will come here with a great gameplan and their counter attacking weapons could be very dangerous tonight. Nantes also have the best defensive record in Ligue 1 an are quite capable of keeping things tight at the back. I think OM will eventually have enough to win, but it might only be by a one goal margin or something. I’m not interested in backing the Mediterranean giants on a -1 handicap line, but this match has some in-running potential if Nantes can keep it at 0-0 for a while (or even manage to get ahead). My feeling is that it’ll take a while for OM to break them down, but eventually they will find a way to win.

Prediction: Marseille 1-0 Nantes NO BET

Sunday Ligue 1 Pre Match Analysis & Picks

Nantes – St Etienne

I expect this to be a really tight and cagey affair containing few goals. Both teams are really hard to beat and this has all the makings of a tactical battle. Nantes do miss the duo of Gomis and Hansen from their midfield which could be the difference here. In the last year or so they just haven’t been able to win matches like this facing real quality opposition. They have often played well but just fallen short of the result required, mostly because of a lack of goals. That’s the one worry you always have with Le Canaris, where are their goals going to come from? They just don’t have enough decent strikers in their ranks which costs them all too often. My feeling is that Sainte will find a way to get the job done today and maybe sneak a 1-0 or something. But nothing would surprise me and overall it’s a match best well left alone. Nantes have been in good form recently and they deserve some sort of respect.

Prediction: Nantes 0-1 St Etienne NO BET

Montpellier – Toulouse

Midtable battle here but you have to say that Toulouse are the better team. MHSC only look like beating the weaker sides in the division and I’m not convinced they can get the job done today. This is just the sort of game that Toulouse typically enjoy, and away fixture facing a team of reasonable reputation. The counter attacking threat of TFC could be lethal today and Montpellier will probably make a number of errors at the back which could be costly. The hosts are fine if they are playing inferior opposition who they can dominate, but this will be much more of a tough challenge. I think Toulouse will win but I’m not going to stake any money on this match. It has the potential to be a volatile affair and I think it’d be foolish to get involved.

Prediction: Montpellier 0-1 Toulouse NO BET

Marseille – Bordeaux

After a great start to the season there have been a few recent signs that the wheels are starting to fall off for OM. Defeats at OL and PSG, in addition to a cup loss at Rennes have threatened to destabilize their season. It’s not as if they have been playing that bad, but almost trying too hard and just not converting enough chances. The other problem that OM have suddenly encountered are injuries and suspensions. They had a clean bill of health for most of the season so far but now there are issues with player availability., Tonight they miss Morel, Romao, Ayew and Nkoulou, all of whom would definitely start this match. Bordeaux of course have their own issues with team selection, the likes of Cheikh Diabate and Tiago Ilori both miss out here in addition to a few others. I’m not sure about this match. Can Marseille get back on track? Well, maybe, but I’m not interested in backing them at this price. They are way too short considering they miss key individuals and Bordeaux aren’t a bad outfit. I’m predicting a draw but anything is possible and it feels like a good match to swerve.

Prediction: Marseille 1-1 Bordeaux NO BET

Saturday Ligue 1 & 2 Pre Match Analysis & Picks

Le Havre – Sochaux

This is likely to be a very close match between a couple of good teams. Le Havre have shown more consistency this season, especially at home where they possess a 6-4-0 record. This used to be their achilles heel but finally they are starting to produce the goods in front of their own fans. The squad is in pretty good condition with only a sprinkling of injuries to worry about, so there are no excuses in this department. HAC will fancy their chances but Sochaux travel here possessing the best away record in Ligue 2, picking up a whopping 14 points out of a possible 16 on the road. For some reason, they really love playing away, possibly because of their counter attacking abilities and less pressure. Their own stadium is a bit of a morgue so in many ways I can see why they enjoy road matches. Today, they miss the duo of Sunzu (injury) and Mignot (suspension). This might destabilise them defensively, but I still can’t see this game being particularly open. Neither team will want to lose and I think both sides will cancel each other out. This is definitely a 0-0 contender but it could be a tactically intriguing affair. Not a match I want to bet on because at the moment I rate both teams fairly highly and I think it’d be foolish to bet against either.

Prediction: Le Havre 0-0 Sochaux NO BET

Bastia – Lyon

OL travel to Corsica in good form. They’ve won their last 5 ligue games, scored loads of goals and just generally looked really good with their standard of play. In many ways, the international break came at a bad time for them and it’s possible they might lose momentum. It’s also a negative that a number of their players were away on international duty so they’ve had less chance to prepare for this match as a whole squad. On the positive side, midfielder Yoann Gourcuff returns from injury and this is a boost because he’s actually been in good form recently. On the flip side, Nabil Fekir is suspended and this is a blow because he’s been one of their best players this season. Bastia under Claude Makelele were a complete mess, but his sacking seemed to spark them into life. They produced a shocking improvement against Montpellier just before the international break, beating them 2-0. This was easily their best performance of the season and extremely encouraging, especially as nobody expected it. I’m sure they will enjoy being the underdog today and the home fans will really get behind their side, producing a hostile atmosphere. I’m picking Lyon to win what should be an open game, but I’m not going to stick any money on it. This is never an easy place to visit and Bastia should have their tails up. The Lyon price isn’t anything special either so I’m happy to leave this fixture alone.

Prediction: Bastia 1-2 Lyon NO BET

Guingamp – Rennes

Brittany derby here and I can’t see much separating either side come the final whistle. For Rennes, this is shockingly their 3rd consecutive Breton derby, so they are well used to these sort of fixtures. They produced a solid gameplan to draw at Nantes and then beat Lorient, and I expect their main objective today will be to avoid defeat. Guingamp are 3rd bottom of the table and have lost 9/13 matches this season. They aren’t perhaps as bad as that record might suggest though and their biggest problem has been the Europa League, which always saps their energy and focus. But the international break would’ve done them some good and allowed a number of guys to rest. Not too many of their players have left the club for any nations which is a nice boost to have. With fatigue and fixture congestion less of an issue then I expect a much better Guingamp performance tonight. If either team is to win, then it’s more likely to be them, but I think this has a draw written all over it. Nobody is going to want to lose and this should be a really tight affair. Overall, It’s a definite contender for 0-0 and not a match I want to bet on.

Prediction: Guingamp 0-0 Rennes NO BET

Lorient – Lens

This is a massive match between the bottom two teams in the division and I’m sure tensions will be high at Le Stade Moustoir. Lorient have performed much worse than expected this season and it’s a surprise to see them struggling so much. As usual, a number of injuries have hit them hard and it’s also been difficult for them to move on from long time coach Christian Gourcuff. Lorient president Loic Fery has said Sylvain Ripoll’s job is safe, but if they keep losing then I expect him to be sacked sooner rather than later. Les Merlus have lost 8 of their last 9 games and absolutely nobody could trust them at the moment. There have been some positive signs recently such as the unlucky home defeat to PSG and the harsh loss at Rennes last week, ultimately though, they got nothing out of those encounters. Lens have lost 6 of their last 8 games but have competed really well against some big teams of late. This is a more realistic fixture for them to pick up points in, but pressure will be higher. I honestly haven’t got a clue here and all three results are possible. It just depends who turns up best on the night and it’d be foolish to bet on this match before it starts IMO.

Prediction: Lorient 1-1 Lens NO BET

Monaco – Caen

One of the teams involved in the match fixing scandal this week was Caen so it’ll be interesting to see if it affects them in a negative way here. I don’t think it will because all of the pressure is on Monaco today and not them. The visitors are currently outside of the relegation zone but only have 12 points to their name this season. It must be noted though that their fixture list has been fairly brutal so far and they’ve already faced most, if not all of the really good sides. Monaco have injury and suspension issues today. Key left back Layvin Kurzawa is ruled out along with winger Yannick Ferreira Carrasco. The duo of Raggi and Bakayoko are both banned, whilst a lot of the squad was involved internationally last weekend. This is a horrible spot for Monaco because I doubt they’ve have had much chance to prepare fully as a squad this week. They also have a massive match away against Bayer Leverkusen in the upcoming CL and I’m sure they’ll be focusing on that fixture more. Monaco have clearly targeted the CL this season and have really struggled in Ligue matches prior to playing continentally (just 1 win in 4 and that was against Evian).

Caen are a great away team under Patrice Garrande and have only lost twice on the road since February 7th! So far this season they have only suffered a single defeat by more than a one goal margin (0-2 vs PSG) and I’m sure they’ll be competitive tonight. I don’t expect Monaco to be at their best and whilst they might still get away with victory thanks to one individual moment or something, I’d say there’s a great chance Caen can at least draw. I’m actually going to predict that they shock everyone to win here and I’m willing to risk a few units on the +0.75 line. It’s dangerous betting against a team like Monaco who have some quality players but this is just the sort of match that they typically struggle in.

Prediction: Monaco 1-2 Caen
Recommended bet: Caen +0.75 @ 2.02 4/10

Nice – Reims

I don’t expect this match to be much of a classic because both teams are missing key offensive personnel. For Nice, Carlos Eduardo and Eric Bautheac are both ruled out and this devoids them of a lot of creativity. Likewise for Reims, Diego Rigonato and Benjamin Moukandjo will take no part, along with striker Gaetan Charbonnier. I really think this’ll be a dull and drab affair containing little excitement. One goal would probably be enough for either side to win and if anyone got ahead they’d probably just try and protect their advantage. There’s not much else to say here apart from that Nice’s odds look a bit too short. But there’s no way I’d be willing to risk Reims +0.5, they are only a mediocre side. All in all, a good match to avoid unless you like betting under 2.25 lines.

Prediction: Nice 0-0 Reims NO BET

Friday Night Ligue 1 & 2 Pre Match Analysis & Picks

Ajaccio – Angers

It has to be said that Ajaccio have looked much better since sacking Christian Bracconi. In all truth, they haven’t been bad all season, but it’s just under a new coach they should be able to head in a much better direction. With Olivier Pantaloni in charge I expect ACA to really improve, he’ll have the whole dressing room behind him. They have won their last 2 games at home and this is a difficult place for any side to visit if they can regain their toughness and Corsican spirit. They might have a chance tonight too because Angers are vulnerable. Stephane Moulin’s men travel here having lost their last 4 consecutive road matches, they simply aren’t the same outfit outside of their own stadium. They also miss a couple of defenders which could make them vulnerable at the back. Left back Arnold Bouka Moutou is a massive loss, arguably he’s the best at his position in the entire ligue. I would quite like to bet on Ajaccio but I’d need slightly better odds. Despite the aforementioned issues, Angers still have plenty of quality in their ranks and deserve some respect. I’d love a DNB line here about 1.90.

Prediction: Ajaccio 2-1 Angers NO BET

Auxerre – Chateauroux

I would think Auxerre should really get the job done here. Everyone thinks Chateauroux are a complete sack of shit outfit, but they aren’t as bad as that. They are however, a poor side, arguably the worst on paper in the entire division. Les Berrichonne have to be respected for grinding out some results, but I expect Auxerre to be too good for them here. The hosts have generally looked decent of late, minus the 0-3 home loss to Brest which was disappointing. Brest are a quality team though, so in many ways it’s understandable. I don’t think this will be a classic match by any means and I’d be surprised if it’s a pure blowout. But something like 2-0 Auxerre could be on the cards. Unfortunately the odds aren’t very good. Backing strong odds-on shots in this ligue probably isn’t the greatest of ideas. For those who want to be greedy you could maybe wait 10-20 mins for a better IR price and hope Auxerre don’t go ahead. I’m willing to risk 4 units on a -0.75 line. I’m pretty confident Auxerre win this one.

Prediction: Auxerre 2-0 Chateauroux
Recommended bet: Auxerre -0.75 @ 2.05 4/10

Clermont – Arles

I’m not totally sure about this match. Neither team is as bad as their ligue position suggests, but both regular make mistakes to fuck up matches which costs them. Poor coaching is perhaps to blame, I’m not sure. I think it’ll be a more open game than some people might expect, from a defensive point of view both teams can be horrible and times. In terms of a result, god knows, this really could go either way. In terms of odds, Clermont look a bit short to me, but there’s no way I could consider betting on Arles, they have proved to be too unreliable. Long term I think they’ll improve, but I need to see more evidence before I consider staking money on them.

Prediction: Clermont 2-2 Arles NO BET

Creteil – Orleans

It’s been a turbulent week for Creteil. They were embarrassingly dumped out of the Coupe de France last Saturday at home facing much lower ranked opposition. Coupled with some poor recent ligue results, it was enough for coach Philippe Hinchberger to resign. This is a positive for the club because Hinchberger was hindering their potential. Creteil actually have a decent squad and some good attacking players. I fully expect them to move up the ligue table, especially when they bring in a new coach permanently. Free of their ex manager, the players could really shine tonight facing a poor Nimes outfit. The visitors themselves have also had a turbulent week, albeit for completely different reasons. They have been rocked by a match fixing scandal which involves 4 of their matches from last season. There is no way this wont have affected them in some sort of negative way and it’s possible they might not be focused tonight. Overall there are loads of reasons why I fancy Creteil in this match, but fundamentally they are a much better side than Nimes anyway. Taking them on a -0.25 handicap looks like a nice sensible option, but I’m expecting them to win fairly easily.

Prediction: Creteil 3-0 Nimes
Recommended bet: Creteil -0.25 @ 1.80 7/10

Dijon – Orleans

Another team involved in the match fixing scandal this week is Dijon. Their coach was arrested at a dawn raid on Tuesday morning although has now been released. It looks like Dijon were probably clean so it’s a difficult one to assess. The club are saying that it has made the ‘squad stronger and closer’ but who knows, maybe it’s affected them in a negative way. What I do know is that Dijon are a fantastic home team and are pretty much all full strength tonight. Orleans meanwhile, miss a couple of key defenders and also their best player Loic Puyo. I just don’t know how they are going to score or create things without Puyo who leads them on assists and goals so far this season. They won just before the international break but their form has dipped following a hot start. It’s very difficult to see them getting anything tonight, Dijon are such a strong home team. Unless they are distracted by this match fixing scandal then I doubt they’ll have issues. But I actually think it will make them more determined to prevail and increase motivation. Taking them -0.75 looks safe enough in what should be a routine home win.

Prediction: Dijon 3-0 Orleans
Recommended bet: Dijon -0.75 @ 1.90 5/10

GFCA – Laval

The Corsican outfit are so good at home and this is fairly understandable. Their stadium is one of those small and intimidating places that nobody likes to visit. Laval are however unbeaten in 12 matches so perhaps have to be respected. They have picked up a ridiculous number of draws though, so it’s not as if they have been winning many. My big concern with them here is scoring goals. Key striker Christian Bekamenga is ruled out injured along with fellow attacker Maxime Bourgeois. I worry where goals are going to come from which is why I like taking them on. A -0.25 line on the hosts looks like a nice option to me, 0-0 looks to be the only danger result unless Laval somehow sneak a goal from a set piece or something. This place is becoming a real fortress and they have proven they can get the job done in front of their own fans. I think there is a very strong chance Laval’s unbeaten run comes to an end tonight

Prediction: GFCA 1-0 Laval
Recommended bet: GFCA -0.25 @ 2.01 5/10

Niort – Tours

Tours have lost a whopping 11/14 matches this season but are still only 4 points from survival. I honestly don’t think this team is as bad as it’s results might suggest though and they’ve only lost a single game by more than a one goal margin. They are still a poisonous team because they find ways to lose matches they shouldn’t but sooner or later they will get a result. It could even happen tonight because Niort are nothing special. It’s been a while since Le Chamois won a match and they’ve actually lost their last 3 consecutively. It’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility that Tours avoid defeat here, or even win! I’m tempted to take TFC +0.75 but have learned my lesson from a couple of weeks ago. Bad things happen when you bet on bad or poisonous teams, so it’s best to swerve. I would be very careful if you’re thinking of backing Niort though, I am not convinced by them.

Prediction: Niort 1-1 Tours NO BET

Valenciennes – Brest

Since February, Brest have only lost 3 ligue games (out of 30). A couple of those defeats were against Caen and Metz who are both now in Ligue 1, so obviously this is one hell of a fantastic streak. The question when approaching Brest matches these days is whether you back them or not. Betting on their opponent simply isn’t an option, that’s how solid Brest are and hard to beat! I actually expect them to win tonight but I’m not willing to take a DNB line away from home. There is every chance this could end a draw, something like 0-0 or 1-1. If the match is level with 10 or 20 mins left, Brest won’t push the boat out and go gung-ho for victory. This won’t be a very entertaining affair and it’s not a contest I really want to bet on. Brest will probably prevail though, they know how to pick up results in an efficient way.

Prediction: Valenciennes 0-1 Brest NO BET

Metz – PSG

I’m not really convinced that PSG will win tonight. This is definitely a tricky trip to Metz, on a Friday night just after an international break. Most of the PSG squad has been on international duty and they are even resting some players who were involved for their respective nations. I also wonder if PSG might be looking ahead to their CL match against Ajax in midweek. It’s vital that they win their group and can’t afford any slip ups. So they travel here at an unfortunate time, but even in more favourable circumstances this wouldn’t be an easy match. Metz have developed a really strong home field advantage at Le Stade Saint Symphorien, picking up 14 points out of a possible 18 here this season. Unlike PSG, they have a squad at full strength which includes few players who were away on international duty. As long as the occasion doesn’t get to them I’d say Metz have a great chance of drawing, or even winning. PSG will rely on individual brilliance here, which has of course gotten them over the line in many matches before, but I’m willing to take them on tonight by backing Metz +1 for a few units.

Prediction: Metz 1-1 PSG
Recommended bet: Metz +1 (asian) @ 2.07 4/10