GRENOBLE - AJACCIO
Grenoble are looking increasingly fragile, they have failed to regroup after relegation last season and rather than coming to terms with life in Ligue 2 they look to be hell bent on fast tracking to National. They have won just three times this season and were "lucky" in all three to one degree or another, no draws , they lost the other nine, just as they have 34 or 68% of their last 50 league starts. Even their defence, previously fairly reliable, is a complete shambles, keeping one recent clean sheet against a poor Metz team and conceding two or more in five of their last six outings, losing each, with such a powder puff offense, averaging exactly half a goal per game, they are always going to lose conceding two. There is a lot of inexperience in the squad and that will not help you in a second relegation battle inside two seasons, they are without Taider and Cianci tonight, who are said to be big losses, when you see that they are aged 18 and 21 (just) respectively, you realise the extent of these problems.
Ajaccio had lost just once in 11 outings before going down to a very strong Montpellier side in midweek, the Corsican side rotated their squad and rested one or two key players for this fixture, where victory would put them very much in the promotion picture. Two teams at very different ends of the confidence scale and as we all know, so much sport is played between the ears. Visitors off level ball.
Ajaccio level ball 2.08
CLERMONT - METZ
I did think that we were about to see a resurgence from Metz a couple of weeks ago, when they had a chance to build on a win over Dijon, but now know that victory said more about their opponent's inept display that day, which we have covered in a couple of recent posts (see here) than an upturn in fortune for Les Grenats. The visitors have simply lost the winning habit, collecting three points just twice in 15 starts, they are carrying the burden of missing out on promotion in each of the last two campaigns and the break up of a successful squad, having lost Cisse and Mendy in the last two transfer windows.
Clermont have only lost to in form Le Mans in six outings, scoring ten goals in the other five and are starting to eye up another big run at the promotion spots, just like they started at around this time last season. They have already put this poor travelling Metz side to the sword here twice in 2010, winning 3-1 in the cup in July and 2-0 at the end of last season, a hat-trick looks on the cards.
Clermont -0.5 2.17.