Monday, March 03, 2014

France Ligue 2 betting preview: Racing Club Lens- Tours

Preview of tonight's Ligue 2 game is below, I have removed the final analysis and selection, but
you would not need to be Sherlock Holmes to work it out and regardless of that, I feel the preview has interest and serves as a sample of what the clubgowi newsletter provides on a daily basis.

Lens are currently third in Ligue 2, they could move into second with a win and more importantly, open up a six point cushion over Caen, who are in possession of fourth place, that would have extra value as RCL travel to meet leaders Metz at the weekend. However a point would ensure they stayed in the top 3 regardless of what happens over the next round of games and given the team news for this evening (see below), I think it will be a case of look for the win, but ensure that  they take a point as a minimum.

Tours would move to within three points of the promotion places with a win and three of their next four starts are against the bottom three, so they will fancy their chances of making further inroads over the next month, if they can get a positive result this evening. They host second place Angers next Monday before their schedule eases and would, I suspect snatch your hand off if you offered them a draw in tonight's fixture, but being offered and playing for one are two very different things.

The home side are without right back Loïck Landre (15-0-0), goalkeeper Alphonse Areola (23 goals conceded in 24 starts),top scorer and right winger Pablo Chavarría (24-9-1) and central defender Ahmed Kantari (21-1-0.....1-2-1 in the four games he has missed), they are four important players

The match that Areola sat out this season was the 6-2 defeat at Le Havre, the only other Ligue 2 playing time he missed was the last 20 minutes of the visit from Istres, in which the struggling away side scored a late winner. Replacement Rudy Riou was a little more solid in cup games overall, but did also concede four at home to Creteil in the Coupe de la Ligue. With Areola between the sticks, RCL have conceded a Ligue 2 goal every 93 minutes, without him, one every 16 minutes. Missing two other starting defenders and their top scorer it will be tough for Lens this evening.

Tours arrive in very good shape squad wise, we discussed and opposed them in their last away game, a 1-0 defeat at Istres and those notes are reproduced below in full. They had the Monday-Friday turnaround to deal with there and were short of defensive options, but Diawara and Schweclen (see both below) are back now and they are pretty much close to full strength, missing only left back Samuel Bouhours (22-0-1........won 2/3 without him).

This is where it gets complicated, this all looks pretty good for Tours and if they were ready to play ball, this is easily a match where both teams could take a useful point and move on, but the visitors seem unable to play that way, they have drawn just once on the road and have scored more goals than any other team in Ligue 2 and conceded more than any team apart from Istres and Creteil (heading into this round of games). They are fun to watch, but a little too gung-ho at times and senior offensive player Bryan Bergougnoux made it clear his team were not coming for a point in interview over the weekend, saying their only objective was all three and the win.

Hosts have more experience of these Monday night games, as the biggest club in the division they are often selected and this will be their 10th big televised league game of the season, they have won four of the previous nine and posted only one defeat, but it did come in the reverse fixture, which Tours won 3-1 (having led 2-0 at the break), their only other Monday fixture was the 3-1 home defeat to Nancy which we have discussed much in the last 2-3 weeks.

There is a reasonable chance that Tours can get an early toehold in this game, in general they are a far stronger team than Lens over the opening 45 minutes ( Tours 47 pts, RCL 27) and the visitors have collected more points on the road in the first half, than Lens have at home.That changes in the second period of course, otherwise the league table would make no sense and RCL have won 8 of their 12 second halves on home soil, but those wins were not earned missing four key players. Also, all four of Tours road wins have come when they were leading at the break, The final analysis, round up and selection is saved for clubgowi subscribers.

This is quite an interesting match and should be entertaining, but it is not one I want to get overly involved in from a betting point of view, the selection is both cheap and potentially rewarding, which is how I am happy to approach such games.

Good Luck.

Istres-Tours  (written 14/02)
Those comments regarding the quick turnaround go at least equally for Tours and maybe doubly so, as they will be on the road, facing a limited, but hugely motivated opponent, fighting for survival and better rested.
On Monday I wrote this about Tours ....

Serbian central defender (yes, another one) Bogdan Milosevic is set to make his debut for Tours after his transfer window signing from Napredak. That is timely, as starting centre back Thomas Fontaine (20-0-0) is suspended, they have looked vunerable and conceded four goals ( should have been more) in the two games he has missed this season. Veteran defensive midfielder Pascal Berenguer (16-0-0) misses his 4th start in a row, Nancy conceded eight in the previous three and secondary striker Bryan Bergougnoux (19-1-5) also sits this one out. They are three big losses. A change in the middle at the back, without the experienced protection of Berenguer and Bergougnoux has been influential in games against the stronger Ligue 2 teams, that looks a lot to overcome.
Istres have a tremendous recored in this series, boasting a 5-1-0 record in the last six h2h meetings on home soil. Tours have now conceded 11 goals in four starts, three in each of three and two at home to woeful travelers Chateauroux.
We discussed Istres ahead of their last home game a 3-2 defeat of Creteil.....We have a mountain of notes about Istres in our database, we have done really well on their games this season and I find it impossible to leave them out this evening. Notes from last week's trip to CA Bastia give all the background information regarding their lack of funding, defensive woes, but newly found goal threat. We can update those, the offensive threat is lessened with the loss of Geoffrey Malfleury (see below), but they scored twice last week in his absence and veteran midfielder Jérôme Leroy is in his best goalscoring form for years ( and he has been around for many !) and has three in his last two starts and they added a new striker this week with the signing of Seydou Koné who scored six for Nimes at this level last season.

The very tightly tied purse strings have been opened this week and whilst any signings will always be of the bargain basement variety (rejects, if you prefer), this is a club where you can ressurrect a career and age is never a barrier. The traditional saying is that "if you are good enough you are old enough", the mantra at Istres is more of the "if you can bring something to the party, you are never too old" variety ! Anyway, they have tried to give themselves a chance to survive and to continue to collect points whilst Malfleury is sidelined
Tours get Fontaine and Berenguer back tonight, but Bergougnoux is still sidelined (see all three above), along with right back Fousseni Diawara (21-2-1) and central defender Léo Schwechlen (19-1-0), who are both suspended. The protection Berenguer brings is important, but the backline looks really weak this evening and will need it !
Istres are without suspended centre back Mamadou Doumbia who was sent off at Auxerre last week, just before half time, two things about that, he is not a regular starter anyway (just 5 times this season), but his dismissal offers an excuse for that first loss in four starts.
Hugely experienced central defender Damien Perrinelle, who signed on loan from Clermont during the transfer window, replaced him off the bench last week and seems certain to start in his place.
1.5 units Istres -0.25 ball 2.08 asian line/Ibramarket.

Tours: : Leroy, Maubleu,Bouhours, Cetout, Fontaine, Gradit, Guihoata, Milosevic,  Berenguer, Chavalerin, Khaoui, Ketkeophomphone, Santamaria,  Adnane, Delort, Kouakou.

In play: We preview a lot of Istres games and if we are not taking the "overs", or opposing them, there is always the option to sit out the early stages, as they are incredibly slow starters.... 0-9 (goals scored/conceded) in the opening ten minutes in all games, 0-3 at home.

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