Hosts led for 46 minutes at home to Nantes at the weekend, but despite creating 18 attempts on goal, could not find a second strike to secure the points, visiting goalkeeper Jerome Alonzo was in terrific form and saved his side on at least four occasions.
There was little there to put me off backing them again and they have lost just once (2-1 at Bordeaux) in nine starts and more importantly, are playing really well. They will miss striker Jean-Claude Darcheville tonight and he has been a keen player since joining in the transfer window, but the revival had already started long before his arrival, which was just four games ago.
This is a vital game for Valenciennes, victory would enable them to climb above St Etienne and out of the drop zone, it would also bring another club (Caen) firmly into the relegation dogfight and with trips to Toulouse and Marseille in the next three outings, this is about as easy as it is going to get, for the time being.
Caen are without a win in eight and have kept just a single clean sheet in 16 starts, conceding two or more goals in their last four road matches. They will also be without a key player in the suspended Remi Gomis and are very dependant on the goals of Steve Savidan, only one other player has managed more than two goals and as a former Valenciennes man, the home side will surely give him special attention and have an idea how to handle his threat.
I have not seen an awful lot of the visitors, but what is clear from their stats, is that they allow the opposition a lot of possession and in a league where players are so comfortable on the ball, that is always going to leave them chasing the game. They were unable to hold on to a two goal lead at fellow strugglers St Etienne recently and that was their opponents only win in 2009 to date.
Le groupe valenciennois: Grondin, Penneteau - Abardonado, Bisevac, Ducourtioux, Mater, Rafael, Tiéné, D. Traoré - Bangoura, Danic, Jeovanio, Lacourt, Saez, Sanchez - Pujol, Sebo
Le groupe caennais: Planté, Thébaux, Barzola, Leca, Boucansaud, Lemaître, Seube, Proment, Raineau, Nivet, Van La Parra, Eluchans, Deroin, Ben Khalfallah, Florentin, El Arabi, Savidan
6 points Valenciennes -1/4 ball 1.87 asian line.
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