Nancy – Auxerre
Nancy are unbeaten this season but have drawn 4 of their 7 games. This has obviously hindered them slightly but performances have been impressive and I’d expect them to kick on tonight. I was very lucky to get a push betting Metz DNB on Friday night. Nancy completely outplayed them but thankfully their finishing in front of goal was poor. This should be a good chance for them to get back on track facing an Auxerre side who have struggled away from home this season. AJA have lost 2/3 on the road scoring just one goal in the process. They have claimed a couple of recent wins against Nimes and Clermont, but neither victory was convincing. The visitors also miss a number of players to injury and suspension, an issue which is especially a major problem in defence. Nancy do miss one of their best CBs Clement Lenglet to suspension tonight but it shouldn’t be an issue because on recent form they are playing much better than AJA. Their price isn’t great but I’m expecting a pretty comfortable win for the Lorraine outfit here.
Prediction: Nancy 2-0 Auxerre
Recommended bet: Nancy -0.75 @ 1.96
Tours – Creteil
TFC have generally been a difficult side to analyse under Marco Simeone. Everyone knows his mindset is mostly defensive and perhaps understandably they’ve looked more comfortable away from home on the counter attack. Overall, Tours have only suffered one defeat all season and with only one injury tonight (defender Miguel) then they look to have a good chance vs Creteil. The visitors travel here with no fit central midfielders. It’s a very weak area for them anyway and all too often they are overpowered. But with Loriot, Lafon and Dias all ruled out, I fear for them here. Tours play in a 4-3-1-2 formation and are extremely strong in the middle of the park. This is a terrible matchup for Creteil, and it’s not as if they are a very good side anyway. Most of their positive results have been ‘flukey’ and of course they have been distracted by off the field issues too. Taking Tours -0.25 looks like a decent bet. Unless Creteil get very lucky again then I think they’ll desperately struggle tonight.
Recommended bet: Tours -0.25 @ 1.89
Brest – Niort
The hosts are defending a 100% record at Le Stade Francis le Ble but I think it’s fair to say they haven’t been convincing this season. Their away form has been awful and even in those victories at home I think luck has been on their side. Tonight they still miss key defender Simon Falette and winger SJ Monrose. Another wide player added to the casualty list is Bryan Pele so Le Bretons could struggle to create in that part of the field. August was a terrible month for Niort and they struggled both on and off the field with a number of issues. But since the international break things seem more settled for Le Chamois and they’ve picked up a 1-1 draw at Nancy and a 1-0 win at home to Nimes. If they play like they did at Nancy then there’s every chance they could avoid defeat tonight. I don’t expect it’ll be easy for Brest to break them down, and the visitors might even be dangerous on the counter attack. Coupled with Brest’s recent lack of convincing performances, I favour X2 here.
Recommended bet: None
Clermont – Ajaccio
Corrine Diacre’s Clermont are still hindered by the loss of key defender Cedric Avinel to injury. They are also still missing Jacques Salze from the backline. As result, the defence is a bit out of balance although they do have reasonable depth here. The hosts are at full strength in all other areas of the field. Ajaccio have a defensive absence of their own – Joris Sainati who is currently suspended indefinitely by the ligue until his hearing this week. ACA also have winger Riad Nouri banned for this contest. The visitors have only scored a measly two goals all season, none of which have yet come away from home. The Corsicans have already been involved in three 0-0 draws this year and it’s obvious their major problem is in the goalscoring department. They have the ability to keep it tight and this won’t be a classic, but Clermont will probably have enough to win over the 90 mins. Unlike their opponents, they do have one good striker, Famara Diedhiou who has actually been in good form this season. But Clermont themselves are extremely unbackable due to their unreliability. Diacre doesn’t have a great record as a favourite and they sometimes find ways to shoot themselves in the foot, so I’m happy to leave this one alone.
Recommended bet: None
Evian – Red Star
Les Roses continue to have defensive absentees with Jonathan Mensah suspended and Abdallah injured. Thus far though, they haven’t coped too badly, keeping 3 clean sheets in their last 4 games. Evian were quite impressive in their last home game, thrashing Auxerre 4-0, although I have to say Auxerre look very poor at the moment. This could be a tricky match facing a resurgent Red Star outfit. Things all looked bleak after they were thrashed 5-1 at home to Valenciennes, but they’ve since hit back with an impressive 2-0 at Le Havre and a solid 0-0 draw vs Sochaux. I actually think they enjoy being away from home and this sort of fixture could suit them. Evian do look a very tempting price – you could even back them DNB @ 1.70. This is ridiculous considering they were a ligue 1 side not so long ago, facing a promoted outfit from the National division. But I still find them very difficult to analyse, plus they played on Saturday so Red Star have had an extra day of rest. That might not seem like anything much, but at this level of football it could be massive.
Recommended bet: None
Laval – Bourg en Bresse
Laval finally drew again last week, albeit in difficult circumstances away at Ajaccio. They played with 10 men for over an hour after DM Adrien Monfray was sent off. In the end, the 0-0 they obtained was fairly comfortable but they should be thankful they were facing such a poor offensive side who struggle to create or finish chances. Monfray will be suspended for this match tonight and it will be interesting to see if they are physically affected by playing with 10 men for so long only a few days ago. Bourg Peronnas meanwhile, are flying. The newly promoted side are loving life in Ligue 2 and are playing fearless football, despite their lack of quality on paper. They have few selection problems and should head into this match very confident. Laval are a poor home side and perform better away. Les Tangos have actually lost 2 of their 3 matches at Le Stade Francis le Basser this season. They will try and slow the pace of the game down and drag BP into a tactical affair. I see this being a draw, but probably a scoring one. BP are a positive side, I could see them taking the lead before Laval are forced to respond. And Laval are good at coming from behind under the coaching of Denis Zanko as long as they have enough time left in the game.
Recommended bet: None
Le Havre – Metz
The hosts head into this match having lost 4 of their last 5 fixtures. The squad is in good condition at least, with only right back Issam Chebake suspended. He isn’t even a guaranteed starter anyway, now that they have Gregoire Puel. I’m not sure what is going wrong with HAC. They started the season with two good wins but have since faded. The one ray of shining light was a 4-0 win away at Lens in which they were brilliant. Perhaps now with star strikers Ghislain Gimbert and Mathieu Duhamel in their ranks, things might improve. Their last two home games have been extremely worrying though. They lost 0-1 and 0-2 facing Clermont & Red Star respectively and neither of those are that great. Metz come here unbeaten and top of the table. But they were really poor on Friday night against Nancy, lucky to draw at home 0-0. This team is going to lose soon, I can feel it. A number of new signings still haven’t settled into the side and a lot of their results have been ‘lucky’. Sooner or later, Les Messins will come a cropper and it could be tonight. But their defence has to be respected and also their ability to grind out results. If Le Havre were in better form and had more confidence I’d back them. I still predict a home win, but there are too many doubts with HAC, especially at their current price.
Recommended bet: None
Nimes – Paris FC
Les Crocos are still winless and remain firmly at the bottom of the table on minus 5 points. This isn’t the start they wanted to the new season but yet again they were competitive on Friday night, only losing 1-0 at Niort. This was despite playing with 10 men for about an hour so they put up a creditable performance. Nimes have failed to score a goal in 6 of their 7 matches but are still unbeaten at home. Le Stade de Costieres will always be a stronghold because the fans are quite passionate and really get behind the players. They caused problems to both Nancy and Evian here this season and have to be respected at this stadium. Paris FC travel here unbeaten but they’ve drawn a whopping 6 out of 7 games. They miss important midfielder Thomas Gamiette for this match. I think it’s time Nimes won and it could be tonight. They will be highly motivated to finally deliver 3 points and performances haven’t been as bad as their recent results, so IMO it wouldn’t be a huge shock if they got a victory. Paris FC played on Saturday so have had less rest, and now have to make a fairly long away trip. You can’t back Nimes with any confidence but their price looks big here and I wouldn’t want to put anyone off them.
Recommended net: None
Sochaux – Dijon
Without doubt, Sochaux have been the big disappointment this season. On paper, they arguably have the best squad in the whole ligue but a number of below par performances have seen them winless. Of course, perhaps the main factor in their demise was coach Olivier Echouafni. They’ve done the right thing by sacking him and for now Eric Hely and Omar Dar are jointly in charge. They produced a solid 0-0 draw away at Red Star on Friday night and clearly the new coaching duo focused on defence, cutting out individual errors. I would expect tonight a draw is seen as a good result for Les Lionceaux. Dijon travel here in great form and even their renowned dodgy away performances seem to have improved. Sochaux are desperately lacking confidence, and whilst I expect an improvement soon, it might take another couple of weeks before they are firing again. Even if Sochaux were playing well then this would be difficult fixture for them. The home fans have been very impatient this season and could really get on their backs, so I favour Dijon to win.
Recommended bet: None