Friday, May 04, 2012



Auxerre's win last night ( hooray !) took them out of the drop zone for the first time in more than three months, there are now some very nervous clubs at the foot of the table, with the bottom eight now separated by just five points with three rounds to play. Ligue 2 is the main focus of today, but the top flight fixtures in France this weekend, which are to be played over Sunday/ Monday look very interesting and I am sure that we will be able to find a couple of nice priced winners.

One thing I am pretty sure of is that, as I have mentioned twice recently,  Auxerre are the best of the teams battling to avoid the drop and I would be astounded if now that they had done the hard part, that they did not put some ground between themselves and the bottom three over the 16 days of their campaign, although they will be hoping that Montpellier have sealed the title before they arrive at the Abbé-Deschamps stadium on the last day of the season.

The Championship playoff game between Blackpool and Birmingham City should be fun to watch, but is tough to call, I am pretty sure that the visitors are the better team and they have taken four points and scored five goals against the Seasiders in the two league meetings this season, but the hosts and boss Ian Holloway are a law unto themselves and very unpredictable. However, you can normally expect goals wherever they play and especially against the other top teams, eight of their ten starts against the other top five have gone "over", with six producing four of more goals.

The Blues have had a gruelling campaign with over 60 matches, they have played at least six games every month since August and really paid for this with some tired displays in March after losing out in two FA Cup games with Chelsea. However, they regrouped and ended the season on a high, going unbeaten through six April starts, which included a 3-3 draw at West ham, where they led 3-1 late and a 2-0 home win over champions Reading , the Royals had nothing to play for in that game, but it will have done wonders for the confidence of the Blues. City have scored in their last sixteen Championship starts , two or more in nine of those and are unbeaten in six starts against the other top five teams in 2012.

It is very difficult to see Blackpool keeping a cleansheet this evening and this game could get very stretched and that would probably suit both teams, City are the top road goalscorers in the Championship, only Watford in the top half of the table have conceded more than the hosts. They came into the playoffs two seasons ago with a very similar defensive record, they had conceded 58 that season, 59 this campaign, the other ten teams that have made the playoffs since then have averaged less than 49. Pool went up that year, but conceded six in the three post season games , at least two in two of them and the matches averaged five goals per game, if they are to repeat the feat, it is likely to have to be in similar manner. Best value is probably the "over" 2.5 goal option at circa 1.97 and the 2.625 + for the visitors to score twice also appeals.

Now Ligue 2 and I have four games to discuss to one degree or another and five red type selections .....


Boulogne : Gurtner, Bague - Colin, Gace, Touré, Rimane, Oliveira, Bru, Baherlé, Karuru, Damour, Allart, Salibur, Rèset, Chadili, Benkada.

Laval : Balijon, Aubeneau - Signorino, Talmont, Pallois, Rose, Gonçalvès, Levrat, Losilla, Renouard, Le Baron, Gamboa, Lebouc, Do Marcolino, Viale, Gimbert.


Clermont : Farnolle, Moulin - Bockhorni, Esor, Fomen, Landre, Saiss, Alessandrini, Bayod, Ekobo, Moreira, Moullec, Sylla, Armand, Dembélé, Morel, Rivière.

Sedan : Ramé, Perraud - Pogba, Cantini, Traore, Abdallah, Boli, Lemoigne, Le Bihan, Makhedjouf, Court, Eudeline, Sliti, Fauvergue, Diallo, Diaby.


Le  Havre : Placide, Boucher - Nestor, Le Marchand, Rivierez, Genton, Mendy, Nestor, François, Bonnet, Zola, Alla, Mesloub, Fanchone, Rivière, Mendes, Alo'o Efoulou, Mahrez.

Amiens : Bonnefoi, Ruffier - Mainfroi, Mienniel, Lybohy, Cirilli, Enza Yamissi, Paul, Zobiri, Kharbouchi, Djaballah, Puyo, Martin, Saïfi, M’Changama, Mohamed, Poirier.



Le  Mans : Ovono, Khedairia - Bamba, Kassaï, Cuffaut, Doumbia , Gibaud, Buaillon, Kanté, Ekeng Ekeng, Zito, Thomas, Louis, Ouali, Cissé, Maazou, Momi, Sylla, Belfort.

Bastia : Novaes, Baccarelli - Sanaia, Angoula, Mary, Sans, Harek, Choplin, Cioni, Périatambée, Cahuzac, Rothen, Barbato, Diallo, Maoulida, Suarez.

Good Luck.

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