FRANCE .... LIGUE 1
NICE- ST ETIENNE
Visitors are in my opinion the best of the clubs fighting for Ligue 1 survival. I believe that they got distracted by their European adventure and without that would be in mid table safety. They remain in the drop zone and face a six pointer with Nancy next week, so can ill afford to lose today. Nice have won just once in 9 starts and have nothing to play for in eighth spot, they are 7 points adrift of 7th and four clear of 9th, they have finished 8th in two of the last three years and that is where they are again set to finish ! They should be ideal opponents for a motivated team, which Saints definitely are, the visitors proved that they can play on the road in their UEFA Cup run and are buoyed by a 2-1 win over highflying and inform Lille last week, X2 for me.
5.5 points St Etienne level ball 2.14 asian line.
ALICANTE- RAYO VALLECANO
I have personally been following Vallecano for several weeks and they have been playing at a very high level.They went into the mini winter break struggling for form, but have since built up a head of steam and are unbeaten in sixteen starts in 2009, including winning four of their last five. Three points today will take them into a promotion spot and they have to be favoured at Alicante who are 11 points adrift of safety and have been dire this season, especially on home soil, where they have won only once and that came back in September, some 13 games ago. Goals have been the big problem, in a league which is becoming increasingly open, they have managed just 14 at home. Rayo have not played in the top flight for six years but with three of their next four on home soil, a win tonight will take them a little nearer to a return and set up a big end of season promotion push.
6.5 points Vallecano -1/4 ball 1.85 asian line.
Both written early this morning.