Ligue 2 restarts in France today and don't expect a flood of goals, defences traditionally rule the roost in this low scoring league and that has especially been the case through the opening rounds, with Round 1 games through the last two seasons averaging 1.90 goals and over the last four campaigns, exactly 2.0 per match.
Having said that, I am keen on Stade Laval tonight who host traditionally slow starters Clermont. Some of these teams over train pre season and this leaves them a little "leggy" early season, before they get the benefit and finish strongly, Guingamp back in the second flight after a one year hiatus in National, were very much in this camp and always "tend to fall out of the blocks", even in the third tier they only won one of their opening four starts, scoring just a solitary goal, it will be interesting to see how they perform in the next month or so, but I am getting distracted.
Clermont have won just one in 12 of their opening six matches in the last two seasons and having had a massive shake up in personnel over the summer, it is almost impossible to see them coming out all guns blazing in the opening weeks of this campaign. A huge loss is 20 goal marksman Sloan Privat who has returned to Sochaux, they have also lost their goal keeper, two defenders and three midfielders from the squad that eventually finished seventh last season and two more to injury today. This is also quite a long trip to a venue they have not had any recent success at and they made the five/six hour road trip by bus yesterday afternoon, which is something they will not have done for several months.
Hosts are a very strong home side, 9-9-1 last season, with the sole loss coming in a meaningless last day fixture, they have lost six of their last 56 starts in the last three seasons with four of those coming once the club had achieved their objective for the season, so very impressive. A lack of goals cost them last season, only Boulogne and Troyes of the teams that survived scored fewer, but they have tried very hard to address the problem signing four strikers in the summer and the club are quite pleased the way pre season has gone, despite results not quite backing that up, but at the end of the day, the season starts here. They have won their home opener in each of the last three seasons and I expect them to register a fourth today.Laval -0.25 2.09 asian line..... this was written at 09.38 ... now trading @1.89