Next up is the relegation six pointer between Istres and Amiens, where I am keen on the hosts. Istres meet two teams immediately below them in the table before the winter break and if they don't manage to win at least one of them, are very likely to spend Christmas in the drop zone. I think that will come tonight, home coach José Pasqualetti is very focused on this game and in getting those so valuable three points, his team have stopped the defensive rot ( only Monaco have conceded more goals) with a pair of draws in the league, those results were sandwiched inbetween two cups wins, where they managed nine unanswered goals, they may have come against lower league opposition, but were huge confidence boosting fixtures. In the last of those, they notched six and all three strikers contributed, a hat trick for young Nicolas de Preville and three between Nassim Akrour and Sid Ali Yahia-Cherif their hugely experienced Algerian pair. All three are in the squad and will be salivating at the prospect of facing this goal shy Amiens side ( just 12 all season, a third of which came in one game a shock 4-0 defeat of Chateauroux and we have seen nothing like that, before or since !), especially since they are without Paul, Lybohy and Cisse, the first two would be the first names on the team sheet and Cisse is seen as cover for Lybohy and this is going to leave them severely weakened at the back.
This problem is compounded tonight, as there has been a huge amount of rain in the Amiens area and the club have been unable to train or prepare for this match on grass, with all work done on a synthetic surface. All the advantages are with Istres and on what I have seen ( both teams twice in full and highlights of other fixtures), they are the better team anyway and certainly the one with more offensive threat and I take them to win. 1.5 points Istres -0.5 goal 2.14 +asian line.