Sunday, October 30, 2011
FROM TODAY'S NEWSLETTER.. ....
We have another two "neighbours" playing in Ligue 1 when Lille travel down the A23 to face Valenciennes in what visiting coach Rudi Garcia is describing as the "true" northern derby. He understands the significance of the match to supporters and especially his team, who with main title rivals/ Champions League rivals PSG, Montpellier, Lyon and Marseille already having posted wins this weekend, need three points to stay in touch.
Les Dogues have added a robustness to their game in recent campaigns and are no easy touch on the road any more, they have fallen behind in their last three away starts and gone on to win two, collecting seven points from the trio of games. Those results came against teams who had only previously lost a combined one home start in 14 and that is a very impressive stat. Both teams are carrying knocks and will make late decisions on key players, but Lille have far more options available to them and this looks to be the season when Valenciennes will struggle. They have a small budget, spent virtually nothing in the summer and have done terrifically well to remain in the top flight for five seasons, after coming up from the fourth division in five years, They have never lost an average of over 14 games each season in Ligue 1, with a mean finishing position of 13th and already in the drop zone this time round and looking to have regressed it is going to take a big effort to survive this time. Regardless of that, this is a huge game for Lille if they are to mount a title defence and I take them to win a hard fought battle.
1.5 units Lille -0.25 ball 1.94 asian line.