Friday, March 14, 2014

France: Ligue 2 ....

Laval seem to have joined Istres as the team we discuss every week, so lots of recent notes on them, ahead of their recent 2-1 defeat at Brest I wrote ...

Laval's last four starts have only produced a total of two goals, but they know they have to gamble today and that their next three starts ( they also play the other two in the drop zone) are going to be season defining matches. Also, the five previous home matches they have played this season against bottom eight teams have all gone "over" at an average of 4.2 goals per game, they are without central defender Miodrag Stosic (12-0-0) and left sided midfielder Amara Baby (17-4-0) this evening, but nothing too bad and I expect them to play their part in an exciting contest.

Laval arrive beat up and without centre backs Malik Couturier (23-0-1) and Miodrag Stosic, defensive midfielder Hassane Alla (23-2-3), left winger Amara Baby (17-4-0) and right winger Sébastien Renouard (15-2-1). It is defensively they worry me and whilst I think they have a chance of winning today at decent odds (3.60+) ,  it is almost impossible to see them keeping a clean sheet given that they will leave gaps and look vulnerable at the back. We spoke about the increase in goals in Ligue 2 recently and they are still averaging 2.45 per game and I think we will see both teams score tonight.
Last week they got a vital 2-0 win over CA Bastia when I wrote .... tonight they will still be without Couturier and Stosic in the middle of the backline and Baby and Renouard out wide, they will get a little protection for that weakened defence with the return from suspension of Hassane Alla (see stats for all five players above), but that is more than offset by the loss of left back Guillaume Rippert (22-0-1) to suspension.

The three points earned there did not improve their league placing, but  did take them a little closer to safety, they are four points from both survival and five adrift of tonight's oponent and looking at the bigger picture, "just" nine adrift of Arles who are in a lofty tenth place, so still an awful lot to play for. Having said that, not a lot of margin for error for Laval, who have to keep picking up points, especially on home soil.
Couturier and Renouard are still sidelined with injury ( see both above) and defensive midfielder Anthony Gonçalves (25-0-3) is suspended and looks a big loss, with Laval having won just 2 from 11 without him and conceded two or more goals in seven of those. They look short in central defence, but have apparently left Miodrag Stosic out by choice, so must be happy with the situation, but without the protection of Gonçalves, they look vunerable.
On the plus side, the return to action of left winger Amara Baby gives them far more options on that flank, Laval have collected ten points from 15 games (0.67 pts average) in which he has played 30 minutes or less, 16 from the other 12 (1.33 per game).

Auxerre have not won in four and starting today, have three of their next four start on the road, where they have not won in over ten months and scored just five times in 13 away days this season. They did win here last season, incredibly winning a real thriller by the odd goal in nine (!), scoring the same in 90 minutes as they have managed away from home all season. Maybe a trip here will awaken them from their slumber, that or the prospect of heading for National just three seasons after playing Champions League football !

They lost their offensive focus with the transfer of Paul-Georges Ntep and arrive today without suspended right back Eric Marester (21-0-0) and goalkeeper Donovan Léon who started in the last 12 games. With Olivier Sorin already injured, that means Lembet or Baltus in goal, neither of whom have started this season. Key defensive midfielder Jamel Aït Ben Idir (25-1-0) is injured and this looks a very big ask for the visitors, given their lack of firepower up front and defensive issues. Laval tend to start matches quickly ( see stats below) and Auxerre poorly, so a real opportunity for the hosts to get a foothold in what they will surely see as a must win fixture. 1.5 units Laval -0.5 ball 2.16 asian line/Ibramarket.
Laval have collected 41 points in the first half, just 21 after the break.
Auxerre have scored a league low two road goals before the break.

Laval:Maxime Hautbois, Lionel Cappone,  Guillaume Rippert, Kévin Perrot, Gaëtan Belaud, Selim Ben Djemia,  Antony Robic, Martin Mimoun, Jordan Adéoti, Hassane Alla, César Lolohéa, Amara Baby, Gary Coulibaly,Mamadou Diallo, Christian Bekamenga, Julien Toudic.

Auxerre : Lembet, Baltus - Castelletto, Ndong, Coulibaly, Boly, Ramos - Boé-Kane, Segbefia, Monconduit, Ngando - Sammaritano, Sawadogo, Haller, Kitambala, Pléa
Caen- Nimes
Nimes top scorer Samir Benmeziane (23-9-0) is sidelined and that is a big loss, having said that, they are fairly prolific on the road, especially after the break and only three of his goals have come away from home. Caen are Ligue 2's second top goalscorer's and will be looking for maximum points here, with a win likely to take them into the top 3, at least for 24 hours. They have been very strong here late (see below) and I feel that we might see some late drama here.

Caen are 8-1 (goals scored -condeded) in the final 15 minutes.
Nimes have scored a Ligue 2 high 11 road second half goals. They are strong after the break with 19 points (4-7-2) only Lens have a better road second half record.

Caen : Perquis, Bosmel - Calvé, Wague, Pierre, Appiah, Raineau - Seube, Kante, Montaroup, Fajr, Lemar - Nangis, Kodjia, Koita, Duhamel.

Nîmes : Merville, Michel - Boche, Hsissane, Bouby, Cissokho, Cordoval, Fanchone, Gragnic, Koura, Kovacevic, Ogounbiyi, Omrani, Poulain, Robail, Sartre.

Good Luck.

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