Friday, October 15, 2010


Ligue 2

As a starting point for today's round of matches it is likely that we will see more goals in general. French football has tried it's best to get away from people's perception of it as a boring low scoring league, I know for a fact that there was a kind of directive from the FA for clubs to try and play a more open style in the televised fixtures a couple of years back and the overall trend since then has been upwards, with the average per game up in each of the last two seasons. Looking a little more deeply there is often a rise in goals immediately before an after an inforced break.

Leading up to Christmas last season, the final round before the winter break saw an average of 3.125 goals per game, with the restart producing 2.6, totals way above the season mean of 2.33. This makes sense to me, much like at the end of the season clubs want to send supporters away with good positive mental memories and expectation, and then to announce the restart with a bang, players will also be keen to get on holiday and maybe a little tired, then rusty upon their return. I will definitely be returning to this line of thought in December.

The International mini break is kind of microcosm of this, we saw 17 of the 20 Ligue 2 teams scoring after the last round of Euro 2012 games, again with a 2.6 average and in the last set of fixtures an incredible 18 of 20 on the scoresheet, producing 3.4 per game, I say incredible because in a league where we have had a late and stuttering start to the campaign, the average for the season is only 2.16.

As I say, this is only a starting point for looking at today's fixtures, but it is a good one and I think it is a fair assumption that we will see more goals and entertainment than normal. Weather forecast is good in most of France, temperatures mild for the time of year, almost no rain, crowds should be up too, looking for a football fix in ideal conditions.

I have four selections today and can post two mini previews on here, should be "active" tomorrow, so please check back then......


At the risk of going to the well once too often ( Le Havre are 100% at home and I think we have sided with them in three) I have to stick with the home team. Le Havre have proved incredibly solid at their Jules-Deschaseaux home, where they have won an amazing 32 of their last 51 Ligue 2 starts, or an eyepopping 63%, that is the best record by far in recent years at this level and makes this a very difficult venue to come to. Hosts get stronger as the game wears on and have salvaged any number of points here as the clock is running down, all in all, not a team to rush to oppose on home soil. Sedan have started the season strongly and currently occupy one of the promotion spots, however, there is always an "however", I have yet to be fully convinced by them on the road, they did manage a facile win at Angers, but that was the start of les scoïstes fall from grace and they only collected one point from their next four starts, not much of a fillip to the formline. Sedan have conceded seven in their other three road starts and with HAC rarely coming up short in the goals department, I think the visitors will be in for a long evening. Rivierez and Francois out for the hosts, but this is more than offset by Fauvergue and Valdivia's absence for Sedan. Home win.

Le Havre -0.25 2.05


Hosts are certainly overdue a win on home soil, but this is starting to become a bit of a mental problem for them and they could not even hold on to a two goal lead over Dijon here last time out, so I am looking at the "over" option. Nine of their last ten home starts have produced two or more goals, during which they have managed just a single cleansheet. Clermont's last 13 starts have all produced at least two goals and all 11 outings this season have averaged 3.91 goals, with six totalling at least four. This is traditionally a high scoring fixture, the two played out a very open pre season friendly in which both scored and something similar is on the cards tonight, especially with Clermont having big defensive problems. Huge attacking potential in the Le Mans squad and they will come good at some stage, but "overs" for me until they get the monkey off their back.

"Over" 2.25 goals 1.99 .

Good Luck.

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