Ligue 2 Round 7 – Friday Night Pre Match Analysis

Metz – Nancy

Huge derby game here between a couple of teams who absolutely HATE each other. This is a big Lorraine derby and the outstanding fixture of the night. Both teams head into the match unbeaten this season and are major candidates to be promoted. Metz are masters at getting results, sometimes without playing too well and Les Grenats have won their last 5 straight. There could be a slight issue regarding new signings because they were quite active towards the end of the transfer window, but no doubt on paper they have one of the strongest squads in the division. Nancy are a settled side but will be disappointed only drawing at home to Niort last week (1-1). Team news slightly favours the visitors, but not by too much. I have no idea how Nancy can be favourites with the bookies here. These odds are a joke and Nancy are vastly overrated. The impact of a full capacity home crowd could be huge in this game and Metz should be priced about 1.90 on a -0.25 handicap. Now I’m not saying Nancy can be ruled out here, they are a decent team. But Metz @ 2.05 on a DNB line is immense value. I am happy to take this all day long and the sort of bet which deserves to win due to bookmaker line error.

Prediction: 1-0
Recommended bet: Metz DNB @ 2.05

Dijon – Le Havre

What a great game this should hopefully be. Of all the teams in this division, it’s these two who probably try and play the most positive out of anymore, certainly out of the quality sides anyway. Dijon are a superb home outfit and have won all three of their matches at Le Stade Gaston Gerard this season. All have been comfortable successes too, although tonight will be a much tougher affair. Le Havre have issues when breaking down defensive sides at home but they love being underdogs on the road. They showed at Lens a a few weeks ago how lethal they can be on the break. Crucially tonight they welcome back new striker Mathieu Duhamel who was injured last week. He is far too good for Ligue 2 level and in partnership with Ghislain Gimbert, HAC have to be respected. I am not sure who will win this game but there should be goals. Both like to attack and have quality attackers who can find the net. The over 2.25 goal line looks a nice juicy price and I’m more than happy to take a piece of this.

Prediction: 2-2
Recommended bet: Over 2.25 goals @ 2.03

Ajaccio – Laval

ACA remain winless although have only lost once at home so far this season. The biggest issue they have is goalscoring, and Olivier Pantaloni’s men have only netted a pathetic two times. this simply isn’t good enough and they are weakened by the loss of Nicolas Fauvergue who moved to Paris FC at the end of the transfer window. They signed Russian Andrey Panyukov as a replacement but I know nothing about him and he could be a potential bust. Ajaccio have played good football between both boxes but individual mistakes at the back and lack of a finishing touch are costing them dearly. Laval come here unbeaten away and they typically love being underdogs away from home in matches like these. Les Tangos are always hard to break down and have that knack of scoring goals on the counter attack. This match looks very drawish to me, maybe even 0-0 due to the lack of firepower on both teams

Prediction: 0-0
Recommended bet: None

Auxerre – Clermont

AJA are under real pressure. They’ve only won a single match so far this season, and even that was a close 1-0 against lowly Nimes. Their fans aren’t happy and coach Jean Luc Vannuchi is under some pressure, especially following their awful 4-0 loss at Evian last week. To make matters worse, key midfielder Ibrahima Seck is suspended and they will definitely miss his big physical presence. Auxerre also have a major problem at right back where first choice Ruben Aguilar is injured. Their only backup for this position, Henri Ndong is inexplicably left out of the squad, so they could have huge problems in this position. Clermont meanwhile, have gotten off to a solid start and should enjoy this sort of game. The way AJA are going and with the likely hostile crowd towards its own players, I could definitely see the visitors winning this one.

Prediction: 0-1
Recommended bet: None

Bourg en Bresse – Brest

I have to take my hat off to Bourg. They lost their opening 2 matches of the season but have hit back brilliantly to record 10 points from their last 4 fixtures. BP have also scored in every single match this season which is quite impressive. They are a fearless outfit and despite lacking obvious quality on paper, they have great fight, spirit and are clearly well coached. I actually think they have a very good chance tonight but it will depend on how much respect Brest give them. Sooner or later, teams are going to have to take BP seriously and if Brest adopt their usual defensive tactics away from home, it could be difficult. I haven’t been particularly impressed with the Breton outfit this year but they will always be a ‘result’ team under Alex Dupont and you have to give them credit for that. Got a gut feeling BP will win, but I’m not totally sure here.

Prediction: 2-1
Recommended bet: None

Niort – Nimes

Two winless sides meet at Le Stade Rene Gaillard and this should be a tense match. August was a rough month for Niort both on and off the field, but they put in a much improved performance away at Niort last week, deserving their 1-1 draw. A repeat of that sort of display would serve them well tonight, but maybe in that game they simply enjoyed being such a big underdog. Nimes travel here on minus 5 points and they have only managed to make slight inroads to their deficit this season. I don’t actually think Nimes are as bad as their results suggest though. They have been competitive in every single match and only lost by one than a one goal margin on a single occasion. Interestingly, they welcome back winger Ousmane Cissokho from a long injury lay off tonight. He’s been out for months and months so is unlikely to be at his best and will probably only warm the bench. But his return should be a morale boost to the squad. I could see the visitors getting a point here and both sides still looking for their first wins.

Prediction: 1-1
Recommended bet: None


Lens – Tours

There’s no doubt that Lens and Antoine Kombouare are under pressure. The relegated outfit have yet to win a match this season and head into this fixture on the back of 3 straight losses. A couple of those were awful in which they played badly, but I noticed a marked improvement on Monday night when they somehow failed to collect at least a point at Brest. They were the better team all night yet fucked things up to go home empty handed. But if they continue to play like that, then their first win of the campaign won’t be far away. Les Sang et Or biggest problem tonight is actually their own fans. If things don’t start well and especially if Tours took an early lead, then the atmosphere will be awful and hostile towards the Lens players. A number of them have admitted there is ‘more pressure’ playing at home, even though they have massive support and close to 25k crowds each week. But if they can somehow get the fans back onside, then this is a winnable match. Tours haven’t impressed me much this season. Away from home they have only one plan – defend and get numbers behind the ball. TFC are actually unbeaten away but all of their results have been fake and deserved to lose all three road fixtures. I think Lens will get the 3 points tonight, but with such pressure on their shoulders I’m not willing to stomach any hard cash.

Prediction: 2-0
Recommended bet: None

Red Star – Sochaux

RS finally won a match last week in surprising fashion. They went to Le Havre and outplayed them on their own patch, something which absolutely shocked me. I have to admit that RS have generally played decent football this season though, but had a habit of fucking things up, especially by conceding late goals. Maybe now with a win under their belts things might change? Sochaux meanwhile, are in a right mess. At least they’ve sacked the awful Olivier Echouafni, something they should’ve done weeks ago. I expect a vast improvement from them soon, because on paper they have one of the best squads in the whole division. Eric Hely takes temporary charge so it will be interesting to see if he and Omar Daf get the job permanently. The new coaching change might make Sochaux dangerous tonight and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them win. Red Star don’t have much of a home advantage continually playing in Beauvais 70 miles away and I expect a much more committed and motivated display from the visitors.

Prediction: 1-2
Recommended bet: None

Creteil – Valenciennes

The circus surrounding Thierry Froger looks to have settled down. Despite being physically attacked a month ago and threatening to quit his job, he has decided to remain at the club and will be in the dugout tonight. Somehow, they managed to beat Sochaux 3-0 away from home last week but that was a completely false result. Les Beliers simply scored on the counter attack with all of their opportunities and were largely outplayed all night. That match rather sums up their season and there’s no doubting they’ve picked up more points than they’ve deserved. You have to give credit to Creteil’s clinical finishing I guess. Tonight could be a tricky fixture facing a VA side who I think prefer playing away from home. Their best performances have all been on the road his year. A few weeks ago they smashed Red Star 5-1 and with Opa Nguette now fit, the visitors have to be respected on the counter attack. This is a tricky fixture to call and I considered backing over 2.25 in it, but the odds aren’t quite big enough.

Prediction: 2-2
Recommended bet: None

Rennes – Lille

Interesting game here between a couple of sides who’ve had contrasting fortunes. Rennes are on fire and have won their last 4 consecutive games. It seems Philippe Montanier has got them playing some nice football and there is some confidence back in the team following a mediocre couple of years. Key man PG Ntep is back from injury and he showed last week what a stud he is at this level. Lille meanwhile, have major goalscoring problems. Les Dogues have netted just once in 5 games, although at least have managed to keep 4 clean sheets. Tonight they miss key man in the middle, Florent Balmont who is injured for a month. He is a vital shield to the back four and LOSC might get a little more exposed tonight. I could actually see Rennes winning this fixture because it might only take one goal to obtain all 3 points. But sooner or later Lille must score more goals, surely? The game smells of a draw to me, although I wouldn’t want to put anyone off backing Rennes.

Prediction: 1-1
Recommended bet: None

Treble for interest – Lens & Metz to win + Dijon – HAC over 2.5 goals. Pays 15/1


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