We spoke about the hosts on Matchday 1, when they hosted Clermont ......
Niort are back in Ligue 2 after four years in the wilderness, infact, successive relegations saw then slip into the fourth tier for the 2009-10 season, they got back up to National at the first attempt and returned to their former position at the second attempt. They are a small club, but will be very determined to retain their status and to do that, they are going to have to win a lot of home games, they are traditionally strong here ( 55% win rate over the last 7 seasons, despite that sequence including two relegations), they played of the same teams as Clermont in pre season and had similar results, they will be without keeper Paul Delecroix who is injured along with a whole host of other players including experienced central midfielder Vincent Durand and several defensive players, Djibril Konate is suspended. That is a lot of experience missing in a key area from a club with not many players left who have performed at this level.
They battled for a point in a 1-1 draw that day and took five from their opening three starts, before conceding a late, late controversial winner at Laval last week, their first loss of the season. They played well there and also for periods in their only win so far, at home to Caen, we discussed that match last week (see preview below), but they were fortunate to win in the end, so five points is probably about right so far and I doubt that, if they were being honest, they would be too upset with that tally.
Guingamp, who are traditionally slow starters (winning 2 from 8 last season, 2 from six in 2010 ( when they were champions), 2 from 7 in 2009 and none from eight in 2008 !), will definitely not be happy with their four points, they could/should have collected at least nine and have been playing at a higher level. They have already played the top two , led against leaders Monaco last week and should have scored four at Dijon, they look full of goals and if they can just start to close out matches ( having led in their last three), they have a good opportunity to be contending towards the top of the table. They finished seventh last season and look stronger this time round IMO. They have big competition for starting places, especially in midfield and have no real problems today, only left back Dorian Leveque is missing and he has not played all season.
The hosts are still missing Paul Delecroix and Vincent Durand ( see above), plus striker Jerome Lafourcade, left back Quentin Bernard returns to the squad tonight, but they remain short of options at the back ( Djibril Konate still suspended) and that is going to hurt what is already a very small and at this level, inexperienced squad. The visitors have too much going forward and I make them a solid bet with the draw no bet safegurad. 1.5 units Guingamp level ball 2.11 asian line..... now trading at 1.92
Guingamp : Samassa, Planté - Martins-Perreira, Bellugou, Cerdan, Babiloni, Atik, Diallo, Mathis, Giresse, Mandanne, Fauré, Imbula, Kerbrat, Yatabaré, Charrier.
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