Saturday, November 09, 2013

Yesterday's first newsletter ....

This was yesterday's clubgowi newsletter, sent to subscribers at 10.00 on Friday
morning, Monaco and Evian was 1-1 inside 30 minutes and Evian were available at odds against -0.5 ball, with 30 minutes remaining. Caen were ahead inside 12 minutes and 2-0 up at the half, the Arles match was abandoned and will be replayed this afternoon ( Saturday).

Friday November 8th
The follow up email is scheduled for 16.00 UK time today and covers the weekend J-League matches, same approach as recently there, which means we are looking for "in play" angles and the fixtures are once again scheduled for Sunday, which is a bit of a pain as far as I am concerned, but it does mean that the notes are not particularly time sensitive.

France Ligue 1: Monaco -Evian

I am keen on Evian as a team, because you kind of know what you are going to get, lots of heart and endeavour and high levels of fitness, ending their games on the front foot. They have won their last three starts in all competitions, scoring five goals, all after the break and coming from behind in two of those to snatch maximum points. We discussed them last weekend, ahead of their home match with Toulouse ....

I like goals here, Toulouse still have their negative reputation, but they have been far more adventurous on the road this season and four of their last five away games have gone "over" and they scored four on their last visit here. Etienne Didcot assisted for three of those and I doubt Evian will be too pleased to see that the creative midfielder returns from suspension this evening. Evian are very open in their style of play, especially here at the Stade Joseph Moynat, where they have scored and conceded in each of the last six, with 9 of 13 going "over". They remain without striker Kévin Bérigaud (10-6-0) but have won twice in the last week without him and he has only scored once in the last seven weeks, but obviously a loss nonetheless, they are also without right back Brice Dja Djedjé and keeper Bertrand Laquait (16 goals conceded in the last 9 matches he has missed). I like the "over" as I think both will score, but also favour the away win, given how Didcot toyed with Evian last year and he will be fresh and ready for a repeat and without their keeper ( who also missed that game) and starting right back

Evian won 2-1 and now sit in a "comfortable" 14th place, that might sound dangerously close to the bottom three, but they are actually 7 points above the drop zone and only 3 behind 5th placed Marseille. I feel they can relax a little, play their natural game and enjoy their trip to big spending Monaco and that they match up quite well, more of that later, but I will say that the up to 15.0 for the away win looks very tempting if you can find it. Team news is much the same injury wise, still no Laquait, Dja Djédjé or Bérigaud (see all three above) and central defender Cédric Cambon is suspended, but he would not have been a certain starter in any case, having said that, hard to see the visitors keeping a cleansheet.

However, it is not so difficult to see them ending the match the stronger, the Monaco backline has started to look a little weary, Ricardo Carvalho and Éric Abidal are not in the first flush of youth and Andrea Raggi has only seen out 90 minutes three times and is not the quickest player you will see. 65% of all Monaco's goals have come inside the opening 50 minutes and they are clearly starting matches faster than they are finishing, at home 67% of their goals have come before the break. They appeared to run out of steam at Sochaux and Lille recently and have not kept a cleansheet in six starts and I do not feel they will manage one this evening. Both teams to score at 2.10-2.25 looks very solid and I would make that a 1.5 unit stake, I would also be keen on trying to side with Evian in play entering the final third, especially if the hosts are one or two goals up at that time, it is not really in the Evian nature to give up and it is hard to make a case for this Monaco line up being stronger in terms of fitness, at that stage of the game.

AS Monaco:ROMA Flavio (n°30),ROMERO Sergio (n°16),SUBASIC Danijel (n°1),ABIDAL Eric (n°22),CARVALHO Ricardo (n°6),FABINHO (n°2 – Fabio Henrique Tavares),ISIMAT-MIRIN Nicolas (n°20),KURZAWA Layvin (n°3),RAGGI Andrea (n°24),TISSERAND Marcel (n°34),FERREIRA-CARRASCO Yannick (n°17),

KONDOGBIA Geoffrey (n°27),MOUTINHO Joao (n°8),OBBADI Mounir (n°19),OCAMPOS Lucas (n°11),RODRIGUEZ James (n°10),TOULALAN Jérémy (n°28),FALCAO Radamel (n°9),GERMAIN Valère (n°18),RIVIERE Emmanuel (n°29).

ETG FC : Hansen, Salamone, Ehret, Wass, Sabaly, Fofana, Angoula, Mensah, Mongongu, Tié Bi, Sorlin, Koné, Blanc, Nistor, Bertoglio, Barbosa, Sougou, Benezet, Ruben.

France Ligue 2:

This is going to surprise many of you, but I am not that keen on the Ligue 2 fixtures today, or at least in the odds offered and only want to share some brief notes on two matches ....


We discussed Brest on Monday...."Now they face a Brest team who have lost their last two home games, conceding five goals in the process , have only beaten CA Bastia and Istres ( the bottom two) here this season and who are missing striker Jonathan Ayité (5-2-0), midfielders Geoffrey Dernis (10-1-2) and Benoît Lesoimier (7-1-2), left back Wilfried Moimbé (9-0-0) and centre back Ismaël Traoré (9-0-0... conceded seven goals in the three games he has missed) all to injury. Midfielder Bruno Grougi  (9-2-0) and centre back Simon Falette (10-0-0) are both suspended. They look huge losses and five played in the win at Le Havre last week."

All credit to them, he said through gritted teeth,  for drawing with Troyes, especially as the equaliser came with only ten men on the pitch, but they did play circa 80 minutes a man short, have that much discussed and hard to overcome, Monday-Friday turnaround to deal with and are even more short handed today. Ayité, Dernis, Lesoimier,Moimbé, Traoré and Grougi (see all above), remain sidelined. Johan Martial who played central defence on Monday and striker and top scorer Nicolas Verdier (11-4-0) have now also picked up knocks and Alexandre Alphonse is suspended after his dismissal against Troyes. Alphonse and Vedier led the line there and they look incredibly short of options today. Simon Falette does return which is one plus amongst a sea of minuses. Officially , I will put 1.5 units Arles -0.75 ball 2.16 asian line/Ibramarket, but what I think could be really interesting here is the late "in play" option, Arles are a very strong 6-1( goals scored/conceded) at home in the second half, Brest are 1-4 on the road in the final 15 minutes and will surely be running on empty late tonight short of so many options and having played a gruelling match already this week. Odds for Arles entering the final 20 minutes or so should be very attractive and are worth a look.

Arles-Avignon : Butelle, Yattara - Cantini, Quintin, Fortes, Givet, Abdelhamid, N'Diaye, Cardy, Rodriguez, Ben Saada, Delclos, Plessis, Sangaré, Nabab, Dalé, Savanier, Nabab.

Brest : Thébaux, Hartock - Coulibaly, Mendy, Falette, Makonda, Chardonnet, Lejeune, Pandor, Auras, Perez, Ramaré, Guidileye, Rousseau, Lebacle, Khaled.


I still feel that the hosts are one of the stronger Ligue 2 teams, but they have lost their way recently losing three of their last four starts, all by the same 2-1 scoreline and now they desperately need a win to stay in touch with the top three. To give a little background info, here are my early season notes on them.....

"Caen came up six points short last season, it was a strange campaign ,they were strong enough at home in terms of wins, but lost five and needed to grind out a point at times, on the road, it was the reverse, just four losses, but too many (9) draws ! They did well for us on the odd occasion we backed them in away starts and it was hard to put a handle on what exactly went wrong, defensively only champions Monaco conceded fewer and they scored as many as promoted Guingamp. They lost key midfielder Laurent Agouazi( 21-2-2) for much of mid season and collected 1.81 points when he played, 1.39 without him, they missed the Algerian's experience in midfield and they have addressed this potential problem by signing Jérôme Rothen (28-3-9 for Bastia in Ligue 1, with six of those goals and assists coming on the road), he was hugely influential in Bastia's 201101 promotion campaign and looks very good business. Left winger Mathias Autret has joined on loan from Lorient and right winger Jonathan Kodjia from Reims, all four started in the impressive 3-1 defeat of another promotion contender in Dijon last week. Kodjia had an impressive season at struggling Amiens last season and has hit the ground running with a goal and assist last week and a brace of goals in the 2-0 midweek cup defeat of Metz."

Now they meet a struggling Istres, whom we have spoken about a LOT this season, the full preview from their home loss to Metz is reproduced below. The match is, of course, no less important to the visitors, who have only woeful CA Bastia below them in the table, but I think they are up against it today.

Both teams are missing key players, but I am less interested in those today than the stats, Caen are 6-1 ( goals scored/ conceded) at home in the first half (3-0 in the opening 15 minutes), Istres are 0-4 in the first 15 minutes on the road, so we can reasonably expect Caen to start the stronger and in the five home matches (all comps) they have won this season, they have led in four at the half, twice by 2-0.  They took six points off Istres last season scoring five unanswered goals and I favour them to win, but do not feel the -1 ball handicap odds offer any real value and I prefer them to take the lead sometime during the opening 45 minutes. They are a more attractive -0.5 ball 2.01+ to win the first half on asian lines and I have seen 2.05-2.10 elsewhere and I will put that up for 1.25 units.

Caen : Perquis, Bosmel - Calvé, Pierre, Appiah, Montaroup, Seube, Koita, Fajr, Autret, Duhamel, Mbone, Lemar, Kim, Nangis, Poyet, Kante .

Istres : Balijon, Lejeune - Chafik, Barrillon, Kehiha, Le Goff, Boulaya, Tardieu, Leroy (cap.), Diarra, Allart, Malfleury, Doumbia, Mas, Belmonte, Bosqui.

Good Luck.

Istres-Metz (written 01/11)

Just two wins this season for Istres and they face a tall order to add to that tally today against the league leaders. We have discussed the home team's problems several times .....Istres operate on a shoestring budget and have done wonders to stay in Ligue 2 for four seasons, they started 2012-13 well and were 3rd after 14 matches with 24 points (7-3-4) , just as well, as they only collected another 19 from 24 starts and managed to narrowly escape relegation. Their budget which was already skinny was clipped by about 11% heading into last season and with meagre crowds and limited backing, it is hard to see how things will be much better this time round. They have lost a number of key players including favourite son Nassim Akrour, but he was pushing 40 yo, which is too old to be leading the front line, also gone are midfielder Kévin Bru (31-2-5.... Istres did not win in the seven games he missed last season and failed to score in five), hugely experienced centre back Éric Chelle (25-1-0) and striker Yahia Cherif (32-5-0). On loan winger Ludovic Genest (29-3-2) who had three goals and an assist in those sole four wins in the last 24 games, has also left. As you might expect, new signings have been firmly low key and within those tight budgetary restraints, but they did show a little original thinking with the addition of two 20 year olds from the Fluminense B team.

Against some of the Ligue 2 better funded clubs, Istres are going into battle with a knife against a rifle, they might win the odd skirmish, but it will be very difficult to win the war and for them, finishing 17th would be a huge achievement.

Metz were promoted last season after one season in National and have obviously come back stronger , better as a group and with a playing budget to give them a good chance at this level and one I understand to be three times greater than that of Istres. Metz were in Ligue 1 as recently as 2007-08 and have actually spent five of the last ten seasons in the top flight, so their position at the top of the table should not really be viewed as a shock and only Lens are better supported, with Metz attracting home crowds, some 10,000 above the league average.

They have looked impressive this season and lost just one of their last ten starts, a 3-2 defeat at Lens (basic highlights), where they led and felt very hard done by. They are coming off a 1-0 win over Angers and whilst their opponent were below strength (see above), what I really liked about the victory was that it came on the back of that difficult to overcome Monday-Friday quick turnaround (they had beaten Brest 3-0 on the road just four days earlier). This is a team who have firmly got the winning habit and who are still improving, Diafra Sakho and Yeni N'Gbakoto are both still in their very early 20's, scored 30 goals between them last season and have another nine goals this time round, 18 of the first team squad are aged 23 or younger and this is a group who are only going to get better. I do have one word of caution, in that ten of last season's 20 wins came in the first 16 matches, so they could just be fast starters, but I do not think so and it was more a case of stepping off the gas last season as promotion was virtually assured with two months to play.1.75 units Metz -0.25 ball 2.08-2.11 asian line/Ibramarket.

Istres : Balijon, Lejeune - Bosqui, Barrillon (cap.), Kehiha, Le Goff, Ba, Tardieu, Leroy, Malfleury, Allart, Diarra, Doumbia, Mas, Boulaya, Matheus.

Metz : Carrasso, M’Fa - Bussmann, Inez, Milan, Choplin, Métanire - Kashi, Lejeune, Ngbakoto, Rocchi,  Philipps , Sarr - Nsor, Sakho, Fauvergue.

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