Sunday Ligue 1 7 Eredivisie Pre Match Analysis & Picks

Saturday was poor for me. Le Havre over 2 was only a push, despite an early goal. Lorient won, but somehow only a couple of goals were scored which resulted in a half loss for the over 2.25. The Nantes game over was a full loser, again numerous chances were wasted. Couple that with two deserved and disappointing Dutch losers and it was a day to forget. Let’s hope Sunday can deliver better results.

Caen – Nice

The hosts come into this match on the back of their first win in seven games which will come as a relief. The come from behind victory at Montpellier should do their confidence the world of good ahead of what will be a tricky match. Nice are a very dangerous team, especially away from home where they usually have more threat on the counterattack at pace. Hateem Ben Arfa has refound his form and the Nice mojo appears to be back. They are unbeaten in their last 5 matches, winning their last 2 consecutively. Claude Puel’s men have only lost 2 away games all season so obviously have to be respected in this fixture.

In terms of match result I would definitely favour Nice if I had to. But my preferred bet is to back the over 2.25 line. Nice are usually a very pro-active team looking to find ways of scoring, and Caen are similar. Just one of their last 6 matches has contained less than one goal, and that was a freak against Montpellier which somehow only ended 1-0. All of Caen’s last 8 matches have contained at least a couple of goals, so backing the 2.256 line should be safe to at least avoid a half loss. I think both teams will score and there’s a good chance of overs landing. It helps that Caen miss two of their most important players to injury and suspension – Imorou & Da Silva, plus holding midfield Deleplace is out. Away win and the overs for me, but it’s the 2.25 bet which I’m taking.

Prediction: 1-3
Recommended bet: Over 2.25 goals @ 1.84

Bordeaux – Rennes

I have mentioned in recent previews that Bordeaux had started 2016 really well and they impressed me in a number of ligue and cup matches. It was clear that coach Willy Sagnol had been working hard on defensive positioning and cutting out mistakes during the winter break. This paid off and they kept a number of clean sheets, extending their overall Ligue run to six unbeaten. But anyone who watched last weekend can’t help but feel they were lucky. Nantes dominated the match and raced into a 2-0 lead, which should’ve been 3 or 4. Somehow, Bordeaux came back to draw 2-2 with late goals, but they won’t manage that every week. The overall performance was disappointing, as was their midweek cup thrashing at Lille (1-5). Bordeaux were a club in crisis before the winter break, with Sagnol just about keeping his job. But I could see them moving into a new crisis soon.

Les Girondins have 11 (eleven) players injured for this contest and have recently sold key individuals such as Wahbi Khazri and Henri Saivet. They are down to the bare bones and I think it’d take one hell of a display today for them to win. Rennes have a new manager Rolland Courbis and they looked much better last week beating GFC 1-0. The visitors have had a full 9 days to prepare for this fixture and they have a number of factors on their side. Injuries have also plagued Rennes this season, but today (for once) the squad is in excellent condition. The Breton outfit have only lost 1 away match all season so to get a +0.25 handicap on them @ 1.80 looks a really good price to me. I have been stung in the past by injury ravaged sides who somehow manage to play really well. But even if Bordeaux were at full strength I’d probably still favour Rennes. I am always nervous backing away sides in France but this is a situation where I can’t refuse.

Prediction: 0-2
Recommended bet: Rennes +0.25 @ 1.80

St Etienne – PSG

There was a time when St Etienne used to be PSG’s Bete Noire. Around the 2012/13 season Les Verts managed an unbeaten run of 5 straight games facing the capital club, but the roles have now been reversed. It’s fair to say that PSG now own them, winning the last 7 consecutive contests by a combined scoreline of 18-2. My own personal theory is that the PSG players were angered by Sainte’s good run against them and haven’t forgotten. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and company always ‘raise’ their game facing Christophe Galtier’s men now, which isn’t good news for the hosts ahead of this fixture.

The good news for Sainte is that PSG are missing key defensive players. Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Van de Viel and Kurzawa are all injured, but how much will this affect them? It might not be such a big blow because PSG will monopolise ball possession and Sainte will be restricted to chances on the break. I am not sure if Sainte can take advantage of PSG’s defensive absences because Les Verts are so negative! Anyone who has watched them recently will know how reluctant Christophe Galtier is to push the boat out and he will effectively park the bus here. I am sure PSG will find a way to win eventually, but sometimes they just ‘get the job done’ and win by one goal. The asian handicap line of -1 isn’t particularly appealing, neither is the 2.5 goal line because you might need PSG to score all three. I’m going to leave this game alone but I would imagine in the end PSG take all 3 points.

Prediction: 0-1

Cambuur – Heerenveen

Fierce derby here, but I strongly give the edge to Heerenveen. They were awful losing at Zwolle just after the winter break but then excellently came back to beat Willem II. Following that, the northerners were superb on Thursday night at Feyenoord, claiming a 2-1 scalp which arguably should’ve been even more comfortable. Cambuur meanwhile were absolutely dire at AZ losing 3-1. But they could’ve been 5 or 6 down at HT, that’s how badly they defended. All season long the backliner has been a complete and utter shambles, conceding a whopping 50 goals! Their one positive was striker Ogbeche, but he’s now been sold to Willem II. Things just seem so deflated right now at Cambuur, and they are playing worse than anyone in the division IMO. Heerenveen matches also contain goals, so I like the over 3 line. I’m also going to back the visitors. Even though this is a derby match, they just seem in much better form and mindset right now.

Prediction: 1-3
Recommended bets: Over 3 goals @ 2.03 & Heerenveen DNB @ 1.80

Twente – Utrecht

Wednesday’s game at NEC was just the second time in 11 fixtures in which a Twente match contained less than 3 goals. This is very unusual because they are such a gung ho team, shocking at the back but dangerous going forward. Anyone with Hakim Ziyech in their side is going to be a threat in the final third. Utrecht were shockingly beaten by Roda 1-0 away. They were unusually flat in that fixture, although credit must be given to Roda, they were quite solid. This is a much different affair though and the superb Utrecht striking trio of Haller, Barazite and Ayoub should be able to pierce the Twente backline on numerous occasions. I think we are set for a highly entertaining. end to end type fixture. Ziyech will likely be sold tomorrow but hopefully he has one last quality match for Twente and grabs a goal or two. Over 3 on the goal line is always worth a go in Twente matches. As both teams fired blanks in midweek, expect a big rebound from each on this occasion.

Prediction: 2-2
Recommended bet: Over 3 goals @ 1.99

Feyenoord – Den Haag

The hosts are unbackable right now in all forms. They’ve lost their last 4 consecutive matches which is insane for a club of Feyenoord’s standing. Gio Van Bronckhorst is under huge pressure and this is almost a must win encounter. But it won’t be easy facing the very physical and committed Den Haag. The visitors however, were very poor at De Graafschap in midweek, going down 1-3. If Feyenoord’s quality shines through then we could see a similar outcome. Overall I see a low scoring contest and either a tight Feyenoord win or a draw.

Prediction: 1-1

Saturday Ligue 1 & 2 + Eredivisie Pre Match Analysis & Picks

Yesterday was a nightmare for me! My whole area was without power for most of the day so I could literally do nothing. I haven’t been able to produce any podcasts this weekend due to laryngitis like symptoms either. So for any of you wondering where I’ve been, that is the answer. For today, I have produced previews for the early Saturday games, I’ll be back with more later.

Le Havre – Lens

I have to say Le Havre were pretty awful on Monday night. They offered very little for a long time during their defeat to Clermont and I expect a reaction here. Bob Bradley is known for his attacking, positive minded teams and he said he was extremely disappointed with their performance. For this match they have new midfield signing Thomas Ayasse in their squad and he could add to their toughness in that area of the field. Because they were so poor in the final third of the field on Monday, I think we’ll see HAC really come out of the traps and be aggressive. They have good players like Duhamel, Bonnet and Gimbert all of whom are capable of scoring goals, but haven’t fully clicked under Bradley yet.

Lens come here unbeaten in 1v games but this is an extremely dangerous match for them. Lens have looked a bit flat in their last two games, arguably lucky to avoid defeat in them. A similar sort of performance here against a motivated opponent probably won’t cut it. My main area of concern with them is upfront where they definitely lack a quality striker. Simon Banza is doing the job right now but he’s just a raw talent and unreliable. Lens do have some good midfielders and wingers who are all capable of chipping in with a few goals though. This should be an open game. I’ve said before Lens are a reactionary team who play to the opponent and if HAC open up a bit Lens will fight fire with fire. I’m going with over 2 goals. This is a sensible line because Lens have so many games that end with exactly two goals, so the risk of a push is probably quite high.

Prediction: 2-1
Recommended bet: Over 2 goals @ 1.80

Angers- Monaco

ASM have Vagner Love in their squad for the first time today and they will need him to break down a resolute Angers defence. The hosts have finally been conceding a few goals recently so I’d expect the coach has gone back to basics, just working on the organisation and tactical side of their game. All season long, most of Angers’ matches have been tight and cagey. Last week they were battered by PSG 5-1 but that was facing the champions elect, so can be ignored. Truth be told, Monaco are an extremely difficult side to predict. Their team changes a lot each week, and they always seem to have loads of injuries. Their games can either be open or tight, it really just depends on the day. I wouldn’t necessarily be backing the visitors here because it can be hard to break down Angers. I’m going to predict a draw, although not 0-0 because Angers games have been a bit more free scoring of late.

Prediction: 1-1

Bastia – Lyon

It surprised a few people, but Ghislain Printant was sacked by Bastia this week. Some might see it a harsh decision but truth be told their performances had been poor for a while. Taking over is assistant Francois Ciccolini, who is an unknown. I have no idea how Bastia will respond to him, although at home they can never be underestimated. The Corsicans have been a negative team this year, often involved in low scoring matches but perhaps their tactics will change under the new boss. There’s no way I could back Lyon @ odds-on here and they are far too unreliable in any match these days. I admit they are the more likely winner simply because Bastia have been so poor, but it’s a tough place to go and maybe the home players will be extra keen to impress their new manager.

Prediction: 1-1

GFCA – Montpellier

Here’s another case where a new manager takes charge of his first match. Frederic Hantz is the new Montpellier boss following their shambolic attempt having ‘joint’ managers which yielded no points. I am willing to write off MHSC for that terrible period and things should hopefully now change under Hantz. We mustn’t forget that the south coast club were actually playing some decent football under Rolland Courbis just before Christmas, so the talent and ability is there. GFC had been going great guns but their 11 match unbeaten record came to an end last week when they lost 0-1 at Rennes. How this will affect them I’m not sure. I am strongly tempted by the over 2 goals line @1.89. The pitch here in GFC isn’t the greatest, but for some reason a number of goals are often scored on it. But with some unpredictable factors such as a new manager, and the end of an unbeaten run, then I’d say the safe option is to avoid betting. But this is well worth watching, and if things start off open and there looks like being goals, then taking the over IR.

Prediction: 1-2

Lorient – Reims

Reims managed to secure a late draw against Sainte last week but they’ve still only won game since the end of September. That’s a pretty appalling record and coach Olivier Guegan continues to live life on the hot seat. This should be an open game of football because both sides generally like to attack. Lorient often come out at home all guns blazing, and they are helped by the fact that striker Majeed Waris is back from injury. Key man Benjamin Moukandjo should be close to full fitness again soon and be able to contribute well. Lorient are usually an over team and very few of Reims’ matches ended with less than two goals in them. Therefore, the 2.25 goal line should be considered as a fairly safe bet. But in this instance, I’m also going to have a nibble of the hosts -0.25. Reims are in such poor form I just don’t give them much of a chance of victory.

Prediction: 3-1
Recommended bets: Over 2.25 goals @ 1.93 & Lorient -0.25 @ 1.79

Toulouse – Guingamp

I just feel that TFC have been playing too many tough matches recently and could struggle tonight. They’ve faced PSG 3 times already this month, in addition to OM & Monaco. They haven’t played too badly during this period, but for sure it’s probably taken a lot out of their tank. The evidence of that was clear to see last week when they got thumped by Monaco. Of course, the sad fact for them here is that this ligue match is by far their most important game of all of them. Facing a clear relegation rival then it’s essential they don’t at least lose. Guingamp have a great record against TFC in recent times. I’ve looked at all the H2Hs this century and they’ve yet to lose a single game in the ligue facing Toulouse! The visitors have also had a full week of rest and are likely to be buoyed by a late winner last week against Bastia. Toulouse games are usually good for overs but they might lack energy so it’s wise to avoid betting before this match starts. I think Guingamp have a good chance of winning.

Prediction: 1-2

Troyes – Nantes

ESTAC won for the first time as they sensationally came back from 1-0 down against Lille with 13 mins left (3-1). Jimmy Cabot scored all three goals but he has now signed for Lorient. Cabot will be loaned back to Troyes for the rest of the season but right now he isn’t in the match squad. He should be missed because the promising attacker has been one of the few rays of shining light for ESTAC this season. At least the team should take some confidence from their win. Avoiding relegation is almost impossible now but I’m sure the team will try and show some pride from now until May. Troyes should also approach most matches quite positives, they have little reason to be defensive. Nantes travel here having drawn 7 of their last 8 games but I have noticed a distinct change of approach since the winter break. Les Canaris have been much more attack orientated, scoring at least two goals in three consecutive matches for the first time in over 2 years. All of Troyes’ matches have also gone over since the winter break, so you’d think there be a strong likelihood of goals again. Over 2.25 looks a great line for this match at juicy odds.

Prediction: 1-3
Recommended bet: Over 2.25 goals @ 1.93

Vitesse – Excelsior

We are still waiting for Vitesse to kick off properly since they lost influential manager Peter Bosz. So far they’ve been involved in three low scoring matches since the winter break, but as per usual they’ve missed a hatful of chances. It won’t be long before they return to a high scoring goal fest, and it may well happen tonight. Excelsior have been really poor since the winter break, losing all 3 games and looking really shit in the process. This team seems to lack confidence in all areas of the field right now and in total they are winless in 8 games, losing their last 5 consecutively. The over line is between 3.0 and 3.25 here, which in all fairness Vitesse are quite capable of covering themselves. But the better seems to be the hosts -1.25. They will have a lot of possession and from what I’ve seen of Excelsior recently, I’m not sure they will trouble the scorers. Something like 2-0 or 3-0 is quite possible, and if VItesse are actually clinical with chances they could get a few more than that.

Prediction: 3-0
Recommended bet: Vitesse -1.25 @ 1.78

PSV – De Graafschap

On the face of things, this should end up as an easy PSV win. But DG aren’t anywhere near as bad as they were in the first third of the season. You have to go back as far as 7th November for the last time they lost a match by more than one goal. They even put up an excellent display at Ajax just before the winter break, only losing 1-2. DG have also started with 2 out of 3 wins since the winter break and have probably been playing better than they ever have done this season. Now, PSV could totally turn it on here and give them a good thumping, but I’m not sure I want to be backing the hosts on a -2.5 handicap. They have sometimes played down to their opponents this year and conceded sloppy goals. With a gun to my head I think the hosts will just about cover the cap, but I’m not sure so will give this match a swerve. The goal line is also a massive 4.0 so it doesn’t interest me.

Prediction: 4-1

Zwolle – Groningen

One of the least impressive sides since the winter break has to be Groningen. They’ve looked really poor and the last couple of draws obtained have been incredibly lucky. The team seems to lack confidence and belief, especially in the final third of the field. Zwolle looked very good in their opening home fixture of 2016 and weren’t that bad against Utrecht or Vitesse. The price on the hosts isn’t great and I have to admit ideally I’d love to be on a -0.25 handicap here. But because the price is so shit I’m forced with backing the straight win. So this isn’t the greatest value bet but I’m confident Zwolle will get the job done. Groningen need to really improve else I can see them sinking today. Away from home they are never known for being much of a good side anyway even when in good form.

Prediction: 2-0
Recommended bet: Zwolle -0.5 @ 1.90

NEC – AZ Alkmaar

What an annoying fixture to have! I really rate both teams at the moment, especially AZ who seem to have come out of the winter break in fine form. But NEC are an extremely tough nut to crack at some and have a knack of keeping things tight, leading to clean sheets. The Nijmegan side have the joint 2nd best defensive record in the ligue and this is no fluke. So AZ will have to work very hard to break them down, and also be extremely careful at the back because NEC can seriously attack with pace. With an 8-2-1 home record it’d be unwise to bet on AZ either. This is so frustrating, because right now I really want to back AZ and overs in most of their games. Reluctantly, I am forced to leave this one alone because it’s not a good match up in terms of goals or form. I actually think AZ will get the win. They’ve looked so hot in recent games but how can you bet against NEC’s superb statistics?

Prediction: 1-2

Monday Night Ligue 2 – Pre Match Analysis & Picks

Ajaccio – Brest

There’s no doubt that Ajaccio have made great strides in the last few weeks. They’ve only suffered 1 defeat in their last 8 ligue games and even won for the first time away last time out, beating Evian 2-1. Following that, they pushed Ligue 1 side St Etienne to extra time at Le Stade Geoffroy Guichard in the CDF. In terms of raw talent level, Ajaccio don’t possess that much ability. But they have a good coach and a spirited attitude which should ultimately enable them to avoid relegation. Here at home they always have to be respected on the island of Corsica, it’s a difficult place to come. Although their goalscoring has improved during their recent good run, lack of firepower and quality strikers is still a major concern. Ajaccio have the second worst goalscoring record out of anyone in the ligue.

Brest have been a real flop this season. Currently sitting 12th, they were expected to challenge for promotion but things just haven’t worked out for them. It’s difficult to know exactly what’s gone wrong, but lack of a rock solid defence is perhaps to blame. Last season they relied upon a lot of clean sheets, whilst nicking the odd goal to win games. Lack of quality in the final third has been a worry for quite a while too. Alexandre Alphonse can be a handful when fully fit and in form, but that’s a rarity now. Brest have only scored 7 away goals in 11 matches. I haven’t been impressed by Brest in their to matches since the winter break. Nimes comfortably beat them, whilst the 1-1 with Nancy was fortunate. I predict Ajaccio to win a close tight match. Neither side is known for goals. Chances might be created but there’s no guarantee anyone will finish them. Ajaccio -0.25 is too short though, especially considering they played ET just 4 nights ago. So I’ll give this match a swerve.

Prediction: 1-0

Clermont – Le Havre

The hosts shipped in six goals last week during their heavy defeat to Nimes. But to be honest I’m not sure they should be judged too harshly on that result, Nimes have been in superb form since the winter break, even beating Nancy 4-3 on Friday night. Besides, Clermont have never been great on the road. Here in front of their home fans they have the second best home record in the ligue. Since Corinne Diacre took over at the start of last season the Auvergne outfit have generally been extremely strong at Le Stade Gabriel Montpied. The hosts are of course spearheaded by striker Famara Diedhiou who’s scored a whopping 19 goals this season. He has been simply superb and Clermont have desperately been trying to keep the Sochaux loanee at the club during this transfer window.

Le Havre have done alright under Bob Bradley, without really catching serious fire. A twelve point return from seven games is reasonably good but he will want more. It’s been noticeable that HAC have been more attack minded under Bradley. This isn’t really a surprise because the American is a renowned positive coach who likes to ‘go for it’. He has plenty of weapons to work with here too – Duhamel, Gimbert and Bonnet. Neither of those has been in mega hot form either, so perhaps more is to come from this Le Havre side. To me, this match screams out overs. Clermont have gone over 2.5 in 10 of their last 14 fixtures, and only one of those contained less than two goals in it. Apart from a freak 0-0 draw vs Brest in which they created chance after chance, just one of HAC’s games under Bradley have contained less than two goals too. Therefore, I’m surprised the 2.25 goal line is available here. This should really be a 2.5 line @ about 1.90. My only slight concern is if Clermont have been working on defence following their thrashing last week. But their main strength is going forwards and Corinne Diacre isn’t what you’d call a defensive coach, so overs looks like the right call to me here.

Prediction: 2-2
Recommended bet: Over 2.25 goals @ 1.93

Sunday Ligue 1 & Eredivisie Pre Match Analysis & Picks

Saturday turned into a decent day. It started off in extremely frustrating fashion though. The Lens – Dijon match somehow ended 1-1 despite staying that way for 65 mins. There were so many chances at either ends I was starting to get very negative vibes about the weekend. But I managed to convert a few IR bets and then my later overs in Nice and Heerenveen delivered. So I was very encouraged by the later results and also my general analysis of the day. Feeling much more confident again, so let’s hope for a good Sunday. Once again, I have produced a daily podcast with my associate. Click play below or download to give it a listen!

 

Download this episode (right click and save)

Monaco – Toulouse

It’s worth noting that Monaco have only lost one ligue match since 20th September, and they’ve only suffered defeat three times all season. They are obviously very hard to beat and despite not being at their best this season, have to be praised for an ability to grind out results. Monaco are what I call a ‘reactionary’ team. They play to their opponent, therefore it’s important to consider how Toulouse will approach the game. If they come here looking to be defensive and compact, then Monaco will match them with a patient gameplan, eventually looking to break them down in the second half. If this occurs then we could see something like a 1-0 or even a 0-0.

But if TFC come here in their more familiar attacking style, then Monaco will happily go toe to toe with them in an offensive encounter too. I ‘kinda’ fancy the over 2.25 in this match but there are enough doubts as to how TFC play. Last week (unusually) they operated defensive vs PSG and it was the same in midweek against the champions in the cup. Both sides had draining encounters midweek too, so how much energy will be left in the tank? It should be fairly obvious in the first 20 mins how this match is going to end up in terms of goals, so I would say it has in running bet potential. But pre game the more sensible option is to swerve.

Prediction: 1-1

Reims – St Etienne

Sainte have come under fire recently for their style of play. At the end of the day they wont care; Les Verts beat arch rivals Lyon 1-0 last week, albeit it must be said they were fortunate. OL controlled the majority of the game and were in not for Stephane Ruffier then it might’ve been a different story. Something isn’t quite right with St Etienne though in terms of goalscoring. They lack confidence in the final third and some of Galtier’s tactics are a bit negative too. On Thursday night then needed extra time to see of Ligue 2 side Ajaccio in the CDF. That’s [pretty poor when you’re at home against one of the worst away sides in L2. St Etienne’s recent away form has been awful, they’ve lost 6 consecutive on the road!

Perhaps that run might end here because Reims are a poor outfit. You could argue they are playing as badly as anyone in the entire division right now. But I saw some signs of life last week during their 2-2 draw with GFC. Coach, Olivier Guegan has been under pressure for weeks, but they continue to stick with him. Reims matches are usually good for overs. Their last 10 matches have all contained at least 2 goals, and with the goal line here being as low as 2.0 in some places, there’s temptation. But Sainte can be so negative that I worry if they will score. Reims rarely win but I have a gut feeling they will here. It’s been a weird weekend. Troyes won! Guingamp won! Who knows, maybe Reims can be the latest side to end a long winless streak. If I was betting, I’d take Reims DNB but I simply don’t have the confidence to trust them. So I’ll refrain from taking anything here but my instinctive prediction is a home win.

Prediction: 1-0

Lyon – Marseille

So, the big game of the day here in the Olympico meeting. Matches between these two sides are usually pretty spicy in one way or another. Who could forget the earlier meeting this season when the match was halted on several occasions because of the crowd? Who could forget the insane 5-5 draw between them both back in 2009? Weird things tend to happen in this fixture and I sense it could be an entertaining affair tonight. Lyon have actually lost 6 of their last 8 games but have looked better in 2016 under the management of Bruno Genesio. They shouldn’t have lost to Sainte last week, only poor finishing and good goalkeeping stopped them scoring. Key players like Grenier and Lacazette are in better health and gradually playing better.

Marseille meanwhile, much prefer playing on the road these days away from their expectant fans. There’s a certain freedom for OM on the road and this should be the sort of fixture they enjoy. Lyon will be attacking which means OM can potentially catch them on the break. There’s enough offensive firepower in both teams to cover an over 2.25 line. It’s true both goalkeepers are two of the best in the division and will make some crucial saves. But at very worst there should be a couple of goals. The 2.25 line offers some security. But the manner and style both generally play should yield a good match, leading to enough strikes hitting the back of the net.

Prediction: 2-2
Recommended bet: Over 2.25 goals @ 1.78

AZ Alkmaar – Feyenoord

I have always found AZ matches to be extremely difficult to predict and rarely bet on their affairs. Finally today, I have a bit more confidence to actually bet on the over 2.75, but in terms of match result, it could end absolutely anything. AZ are so incredibly inconsistent and will win one week, draw the next and then lose the week after. It’s the same with their defence and attack, it can be strong or woeful. I fancy they are taking on Feyenoord at the right time here. The Rotterdammers have seriously lost momentum recently and a winless streak of 3 matches (inc 2 defeats) has effectively ruled them out of the title race. But they will always be a positive team and should create a number of chances today, leading to an open game. To me, the 2.75 goal line looks a bit too low. AZ do have goalscoring potential if things click and recent meetings between the two sides have usually yielded goals. I think it’s a good match up to generate an entertaining affair.

Prediction: 3-2
Recommended bet: Over 2.75 goals @ 1.88

PSV – Twente

You’d think that Twente will be really buoyed by their excellent 4-0 win against Heracles last week. This is an extremely tough place for them to come though and I fear for their defence if PSV are in the mood. But will they be? PSV have often raised their game in the really big matches this season but dropped silly points facing sides in the bottom half of the table. Even if they win today, there’s no guarantee they’ll fully cover a -2 handicap. Twente still have one class player in their ranks – Hakim Ziyech. He will definitely get chances in this game, either from open play or all the set pieces which he takes. There’s a chance if he has a superb game that they could run PSV a little close. @ 3/1 he’s worth a nibble to score anytime and the 14/1 on offer that he scores first is worth considering too. Ziyech has scored in his last four consecutive matches and 11/18 Eredivisie matches this season. That’s a great record and I’ll chance my arm with him here. This should be an open game full of goals, but the 3.75 goal line is too steep to consider, so I’ll leave the main markets alone.

Prediction: 4-2
Recommended bet: Hakim Ziyech to score anytime @ 4.20 (888sport)

Utrecht – Zwolle

No doubt in my mind that Utrecht were extremely impressive last week. They totally dispatched Groningen 4-1 away from home and might’ve even scored more. Sebastien Haller is their main man upfront and he’s been attracting interest from EPL clubs such as Norwich. He has really taken to the Eredivisie since moving from French football and teams genuinely fear him right now. I’m not sure I’d be taking Utrecht @ odds-on here though. Yes, they are in good form but Zwolle are an underrated side capable of performing against anyone. They looked in good slick touch offensively last week when they hammered Heerenveen 5-2 and should be confident. I’m not fully sure which way this match will end, but I certainly sense goals. Both teams are firing in the final third and will be operating in a positive fashion here. Over 3.0 goals looks like a good pick. At worst there should be 3 goals exactly, but if things really kick off here it could turn into one of those ridiculously high scoring Eredivisie matches.

Prediction: 3-3
Recommended bet: Over 3 goals @ 2.04

Den Haag – Cambuur

I think this could be the lowest scoring match of the day in the Eredivisie. Den Haag tend to play a very physical style game which is probably more effective against the better teams in which they are underdogs. ADO struggle much more when they are favourites and also only have one home win this season, which ironically was against Feyenoord. But that sums them up perfectly and there’s no way you could back them on a -0.75 handicap here. It took Cambuur quite a long time to win a game this season but they looked a bit better before Christmas and they weren’t too bad losing to Vitesse last week. They are capable of getting something here, but it’s not a match I feel confident about and anything is possible.

Prediction: 1-1

Saturday – Ligue 1&2 + Eredivisie Analysis & Picks

Friday night was extremely frustrating. All two main picks lost and it was just one of those nights where the goals never went in. Paris FC- Sochaux was really annoying. There were enough chances, especially in the first half where PFC striker Nicolas Fauvergue missed two amazing opportunities. If there had been a goal before the hour mark things would have taken off, but instead it became a tighter and nervous affair. There was a severe lack of confidence from each side.

The Rennes match was equally frustrating. I’d say GFC keeper Maury was MOM and he made several key saves to keep it 0-0. Sadly the one goal of the game came very late. It was another example of a match just needing one goal to ignite but it never happened. Both over bets looked extremely safe and decent value and I’d take them again. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Onto today and I’m sticking with some over bets, hopefully the goals flow this time. I have previewed all of the early games and hope to add the later ones around lunchtime. Meanwhile, I’ve once again produced a podcast with my associate which analyses all the matches in the leagues I cover. To listen just click play below or download.

EDIT – All evening previews now added. Unfortunately Lens – Dojon was somehow a half loser despite it being 1-1 after half an hour. There were so many chances it was incredible how it ended this way. Starting to feel the betting gods aren’t with me this weekend. Actually not confident in any pick now, so follow me at your peril this weekend, bad things are happening to me.

 

Download this episode (right click and save)

 

Lens – Dijon

This is a real heavyweight clash between two of the biggest clubs in Ligue 2. Lens are of course a huge power in terms of fansbase, history and prestige. But footballing matters on the pitch in recent years have been far from great. They struggled to adapt this season following a tough relegation, but a recent run of 11 unbeaten games has propelled them into 6th spot. Lens are a team who have good all round quality at the back and in midfield. Upfront, they lack quality strikers but the rest of the team can at least contribute. Playmaker Pablo Chavarria is ruled out, so they’ll hope that up and coming youngster Simon Banza can start to improve matters in the final third. At home, Lens have only lost one match all season but a collection of draws have stagnated their progress a bit.

Dijon have to be classed as the most exciting team in Ligue 2. They are always operating with a positive mindset, trying to outscore their opponents both home and away. They also head into this match in the middle of a decent seven match unbeaten run, so should be confident. Their victory last week facing Bourg-en-Bresse was important, because it’s been around this time of year they’ve struggled historically. Their one weakness can be against teams hard to break down and who sit back, but they should enjoy this encounter because Lens fans will demand their side take the initiative. Matches between these two sides are usually quite exciting and it should be a good contest to watch. Les Sang et Or will have to be extremely careful not to leave themselves exposed, because Dijon could be deadly on the break.

The visitors are missing a few players in defence for this match which is a slight concern. They might get exposed more often but either way I fancy goals at both ends. Over 2.25 looks to be a generous line when Dijon are involved so I’ll happily take a nibble of this.

Prediction: 2-2
Recommended bet: Over 2.25 goals @ 1.95

Niort – Evian

Both teams played in the midweek CDF and lost. For Niort, a shock 1-0 loss at Sarre Union is bound to sting. The were facing a 4th division CFA side and will rightly be embarrassed. Evian meanwhile, put up a spirited performance against Monaco but eventually lost 3-1 AET. I just worry how much their are going to have left in the tank for this fixture less than 65 later. They have to come from that, travelling a fair distance to Niort, it has all the hallmarks of them being flat. I would expect a reaction from Niort following their shock defeat and they are deserving favourites here. The one big concern regarding Niort is their amount of draws though. Astonishingly, they’ve drawn 12/21 so far this season and seem to lack the killer instinct in some games. They also often have to be ‘awoken’ in games to start playing well.

It’s not often Niort score first and are better when behind in matches. In fact, they’ve only taken the lead on four occasions all season, and also only won four total matches. Recent signs have been positive though. In all of their last 3 ligue matches they’ve been drawing with 15 mins left and actually ‘gone for it’ looking to win. It seems scoring goals has been easier for them of late, perhaps with a different attitude. Evian have lost 8 of their last 10 games and could fade in the second half with tired legs. The chances of Niort losing here are pretty low IMO, therefore I wouldn’t want to put off anyone backing them -0.25 pregame (@1.67 ish). But as aforementioned, they’ve only taken the lead 4 times all season, and even in those 4 respective matches, they weren’t winning at the 70 minute mark. I think there’s good IR potential on Niort if they continue to start slow. It’s worth noting they’ve only lost 3/21 second halves all season, so usually end strong. Waiting until the break to back them might not be a bad idea here.

Prediction: 1-0

Red Star – Laval

This looks set to be the least appealing of the Ligue 2 matches today.Neither side plays football in a fashion I like and it’s likely to be cagey, tight contest. Laval have been getting involved in some higher scoring matches of late, but most of those have been at home. I suspect they’ll revert back to their natural game here, and that’s to defend. Away from home they like to slow the pace down a bit and if they took the lead, then expect a lot of time wasting. Red Star have the 3rd worst home record in the ligue and part of the reason for that is because they have to play in Beauvais, over 60 miles away from their Paris base. Most of their matches here have a flat feel and rarely get exciting. I would predict 0-0 but we’ve already had a couple of stalemates this round, so instead I’ll opt for 1-1. This feels like a draw and it’ll only open up once a goal is scored.

Prediction: 1-1

PSG – Angers

The handicap here is PSG -2 or -1.75. For them to fully cover this line then Angers would have to lose by 3+ goals, something which hasn’t happened to them yet this season. Now of course, they could easily take a tonking in this affair, but PSG haven’t fired yet in 2016. Yes, it’s true they’ve won every game, but all of them by only one goal, except Bastia 2-0, but even in that fixture they didn’t fully cover the handicap. PSG aren’t fully clicking in the final third of the field at the moment and although that’s sure to change, I’m not convinced it happens today. Angers are an extremely good tactical team and have the ability to keep things tight at the back. They’ve already managed to draw against PSG this season, and few teams can say that this year. Even if PSG go 1-0 up then Angers won’t change their tactics so there’s no guarantee that the -2 handicap is fully covered. I think in the end the hosts will prevail and maybe might sneak a second goal on the break later on, but all in all there’s enough reason to swerve them.

Prediction: 2-0

Guingamp – Bastia

Bastia aren’t a side I rate, especially away from home. They have been relying on their tight 1-0 and 2-0 wins on Corsica this season but generally their performances have been pretty shit. If I had any sort of confidence in Guingamp I’d back them here, but their overall form is so poor. In the league they haven’t won since the 21st November and the pain of last week’s blown 2-0 lead against Nantes might be in their minds a bit. If Guingamp can’t win tonight then I will start to fear for them a little bit. It really is an excellent opportunity because Bastia are so bad away, still winless this season. I am predicting Guingamp to get the business done, but who could back them @ odds-on? Maybe watch this game and see how they start, which could lead to an IR bet, but the value simply isn’t there pre game.

Prediction: 1-0

Lille – Troyes

Will Troyes ever win a game? Well, they won’t get a better chance than last week. They were 2-0 up after 20 mins against Rennes but fucked it up, eventually losing 2-4. It’s obvious they are already doomed and already at this stage of the season you have to question the mentality of the players. What’s left to fight for anymore? In some games the lack of pressure could lead them surprising a few teams but on other occasions they’ll probably collapse. Backing Lille -1.25 is never a good idea but realistically it’s a handicap they should be covering tonight. I also liked the over 2.5 but the odds are a bit too short. I think this is another game best watched maybe leading to a potential IR bet.

Prediction: 3-1

Montpellier – Caen

Neither side are in good form. Montpellier have struggled since they lost manager Rolland Courbis and haven’t scored a single goal since his departure. Yet again in midweek they failed to trouble the scorers in the CDF facing OM (0-2). I’m just not sure that this joint manager thing is going to work with them. Who makes the final decisions? Is there enough authority that the players respect? Caen have struggled a bit as well recently and they have a similar problem – scoring goals. It seems to me that both outfits have lost their mojo a bit really and neither can be backed with any confidence. It’s a shame because each squad has some decent attacking talent and if they were in full flow we could see a nice attacking game of football with over betting potential. But as things stand, 0-0 is the probable favourite outcome or a tight 1-0 for someone.

Prediction: 0-0

Nantes – Bordeaux

Both teams have impressed me in different ways in 2016. Nantes seem to have a ‘new’ approach and are much more positive and attack minded since the winter break. They are still in transfiguration though and their first half at Guingamp demonstrated this. Nantes left themselves unusually open at the back and as such went 2-0 down. but they now possess a greater offensive strength and are capable of scoring goals. Bordeaux meanwhile, have won every game since the winter break and actually looked much more solid. It’s clear they’ve been working on their defensive positioning and cutting out silly errors. It’s a shame these two play each other today, it’s a poor match up in terms of betting. Something like a 1-1 draw is perhaps likely.

Prediction: 1-1

Nice – Lorient

This is a matchup which should lead to goals. Neither side likes to sit back and be defensive, their natural way is to attack. One big positive for Lorient is the return of key striker Benjamin Moukandjo. Even if he only starts on the bench it’ll be a boost for them. Lorient do tend to create plenty of chances, but struggle for conversion without him. Nice had a good win from behind against Angers last week and Ben Arfa scoring a couple of goals should increase his confidence. Everything seems to point towards goals so over 2.25 seems a safe sensible line to take. Only poor finishing or really good goalkeeping will likely prevent this from going over. Really should be a fast paced fairly end to end game.

Prediction: 3-1
Recommended bet: Over 2.25 goals @ 1.82

Eredivisie

I don’t see much betting potential in 3 of the 4 Eredivisie games today. Heracles were so poor last week and De Graafschap showed a marked improvement. It was early November the last time they lost by more than one goal, so anyone backing Heracles -1 needs to maybe think again. Ajax will probably find a way to beat Vitesse, but they seem to ‘only do just enough’ at the moment and win ugly. So the -1 handicap there doesn’t interest me. Excelsior – Roda is a battle between two crap teams and I’m not expecting much of a classic there. But Heerenveen – Willem II interests me from an over point of view. The hosts have been abject defensively in their last two games and I find it hard to see how they tighten up so quickly. But at the same time Foppe de Haan’s men have plenty of goalscoring ability themselves. Willem are hard to judge and I do worry about their firepower sometimes, but they’ll get enough chances to score today. This should be an end to end game and it looks like at least 3 goals will be scored. Therefore, the over 2.75 line seems a sensible option IMO. I think there’s a good chance this will at least half win and hopefully the bet completely covers.

Predictions:
Heracles 2-1 De Graafschap
Ajax 1-0 Vitesse
Excelsior 1-1 Roda
Heerenveen 2-2 Willem II

Recommended bet: Heerenveen – Willem II over 2.75 goals @ 1.98

 

Friday – Ligue 1 & 2 Pre Match Analysis & Picks

Last weekend was a good one for me. I obtained profit on all three days and I have been encouraged by the start of 2016. I feel like I’m analysing matches pretty well. Let’s hope this weekend I can maintain my momentum. For Friday, I’ve done previews for all French games. The Dutch game tonight between Groningen – NEC I think is extremely difficult to call and I’m not betting in that fixture. As always, me and my associate Kevin Harper have produced a podcast previewing all of today’s matches. So for those of you who prefer to listen rather than read, then just click the play button below here!
Download this episode (right click and save)

 

Auxerre – Tours

Tricky game here which looks difficult to call. Auxerre have become one of the most unpredictable sides in the whole ligue. You literally never know what you’re going to get with them. Last week they played a solid first half at Laval, leading 1-0 at HT, but then inexplicably conceded 4 goals in the space of 20 mins! Tours have played well at the start of 2016. They had a good win in Paris, put up a good show in the cup against Ligue 1 side Lorient and were the better team last week during the 0-0 draw vs Red Star. They carry more momentum into the fixture and Auxerre’s lack of goals is a real worry. If I had to side with anyone it’d be Tours, but overall this looks like a good match to swerve.

Prediction: 1-1

Bourg-en-Bresse – Valenciennes

In the midweek CDF, Bourg had a great win away against Ligue 1 side Rennes. That was a magnificent result for them and they should be full of confidence ahead of this fixture. I just wonder how much it might have taken out of them. They go from the high of that win to a rather mundane ligue fixture facing an unglamorous opponent. Valenciennes have a new manager, Faruk Hadzibegic and they won for the first time at home this season on Monday night against Metz. VA usually prefer playing on the road and can’t be written off here. The main strength of Bourg-en-Bresse is scoring goals, but VA have defenders like Abdelhamid and Nestor who can shut teams down. I have a feeling VA will defend deep here trying to frustrate Bourg. They are known for having over 2.5 matches but this might be one of their few lower scoring ones. I don’t fancy the home win and I could see VA sneaking it. But overall it’s another fixture I don’t want to get involved in.

Prediction: 0-1

Metz – Creteil

Both teams are in poor form and have recently appointed new managers. I am not convinced by Metz hiring Philippe Hinschberger. I just don’t rate the guy and see him as an average coach at absolute best. Metz are a fairly ambitious club and I think he’ll struggle here to meet their demands. On Monday night Les Grenat’s performance at Valenciennes was disappointing. That was the first time VA had won at home all season and if they aren’t careful they will allow Creteil to break their own winless streak tonight. The visitors played much better last week against Lens (1-1) and despite conceding a late equaliser must surely take a lot of positives out of the game. New coach Laurent Roussey is a good tactical coach and I expect them to go alright in this game. Home win odds of 1.70 aren’t appealing, and neither is over 2.5 @ odds on. I see this being a fairly tight match between a couple of nervous sides.

Prediction: 0-0

Nancy – Nimes

Nancy were forced to accept a draw last week away against Brest. It was a match they dominated for the most part, but fell behind in the first half and only a penalty rescued them after the break. Nancy are are quality team but their lack of goals recently must be a slight concern to Pablo Correa. That was the fourth straight game in which they scored exactly one goal. Now, this isn’t too bad of course, especially when they won three of those encounters 1-0, but the coach would ideally like to see more shots hit the back of the net. Maybe a few will come here, but the fitness of key winger Anthony Robic is in doubt, plus important midfield lynchpin Diallo Guidileye is ruled out for a month because of injury.

The visitors Nimes are an interesting case. Docked eight points at the start of the season due to a match fixing scandal a couple of years ago, for most of the campaign they’ve seemed doomed and the weight on their shoulders of this deduction has been clear to see. But two straight wins at the start of 2016 has given them real hope. For the first time this season they are off the bottom of the table and safety is potentially within sight. I’ve been really impressed with their performances since the winter break. 1-0 and 6-2 wins against Brest and Clermont respectively have been richly deserved. This is a far more tricky fixture and one which they are expected to lose, but for Nancy I’d say it’s an extremely dangerous encounter. The hosts may show their quality and eventually prevail, but don’t presume this an easy victory for the Lorraine outfit.

In terms of betting, I was very close to backing over 2.5. Instead, I think the match is best left alone before it kicks off. There is a slight doubt if Nimes will approach the game in their usual style. If they do then you will soon see if this game has goals potential. Unless there’s an early strike then an over 2.25 or over 2.0 goal line should be available inside 20 mins. So if you like what you see then strike! I just think pre game the price and line just isn’t ‘quite’ there to justify a bet. But for sure, the fixture has great in-running potential.

Prediction: 2-1

Paris FC – Sochaux

This is a battle between the two lowest scoring teams in the division, but I actually think it’ll be a fairly open affair. If you look at recent matches, dynamics seem to have changed a bit with each outfit. For Paris FC, the introduction of a new manager has at least improved performances. They lost last week at Le Havre, but truth be told if if they took their chances then it might’ve been a different story. Paris FC will give it a good fight in 2016 and have recently signed some new players who could make a difference. They certainly seem more positive under JL Vasseur anyway and won’t be settling for too many draws now. Sochaux meanwhile, seem to be more positive too, recently involved in a lot more high scoring games. They head into this encounter on the back of a good CDF win away against Bastia, but I do wonder if their midweek travelling might be a bad thing for them here. I sense Paris FC are very close to a win again and I’m going to have a small nibble of them here. But my main bet will be over 2.0 goals. This is a good price considering the matches both have been involved in recently and there should be at worst a couple of goals.

Prediction: 2-1
Recommended bets: Over 2 goals @ 1.99 & Paris FC straight win @ 3.75 (small stake)

Rennes – GFC Ajaccio

They might have only lost 4 games all season but Rennes sacked their coach Philippe Montanier this week. Replacing him is Rolland Courbis and although this might be a controversial move, I think it might work out for the better. Rennes weren’t really going anywhere under Montanier and they just felt like a stale confused side. Courbis will be less complicated and I sense he’ll get more out of the players. Rennes suffered a shock loss in the midweek CDF against Bourg-en-Bresse, so I expect they’ll have been given a massive kick up the arse ahead of this game. But it’s a tough one against a very confident GFC. The visitors are unbeaten in 11 games but I have a nagging feeling they get beaten tonight. This should be a fairly entertaining game containing goals. GFC don’t really do clean sheets now and their main strength is hitting sides on the break. The over 2.25 goal line definitely interests me here @ a decent price.

Prediction: 2-1
Recommended bet: Over 2.25 goals @ 1.95

Sunday – Ligue 1 & Eredivisie Pre Match Analysis

Saturday was another profitable day. The overs won in the GFC match, but sadly they only drew so a half loss on the -0.25 handicap. Nantes came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2, equalising in injury time, so I was delighted to pick up a half win in that fixture. I missed out on Bordeaux, I should definitely have backed them in hindsight, the price was certainly juicy enough. But this has been a very solid weekend for me and I’m feeling in a confident mood at the moment. For Sunday, the only bet I have is NEC Nijmegen -0.25 in the Eredivisie. I don’t have time to write any written previews today but for those who are interested in listening to my analysis for all of Sunday’s matches in France & Holland, then take a listen to the latest ASB podcast which I have produced with my associate. Simply just click the play button below or click on the link below that.

 

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/fths8-5bccdc?from=yiiadmin