Ligue 2: Week 17 – Preview
There is no chance to sit and analyse the results from this weekend as we are straight into the mid-week Ligue 2 fixtures. RC Lens and Nimes kicked things off with a 1-0 home win on Monday. The Crocodiles are still seven points from safety, and the three points takes Lens up to 10th before everyone else plays.
Dijon face a tough test against ever-improving Auxerre. Nancy will be confident of beating low-scoring Sochaux on their travels. And we also have a Parisian derby as Creteil welcome Paris FC to the suburbs.
Red Star v FC Metz: Tuesday 20:00 – @Gibney_A
The charm of playing mid-week football is two-fold. You can either stop a bad run of form, using a quick turnaround to forget mistakes made at the weekend, or you can use it to create a good run of results quickly.
Red Star and Metz will be hoping to do the latter on Tuesday night. Rui Almeida’s Parisian side welcome the Lorraine club to the Stade Pierre Brisson on the back of a five game unbeaten streak in Ligue 2. They lost unexpectedly to St Malo in the Coupe de France, but their last league defeat came against high-flying Nancy in the middle of October.
No one above Red Star in the league has scored fewer goals; in fact you have to go down to FC Tours in 12th position – they have 13 to Red Star’s 14 strikes. Their sixth place position is down to a stubborn defence. Only Nancy and Metz above them have conceded fewer than the Parisians.
Coming off the back of another clean sheet against Chamois Niortais, that means they have only let in four goals in 11 games. That record will be tested on Tuesday, against a Metz side that put five past Bourg-en-Bresse this weekend.
It has to be said, Jose Riga’s team benefitted from some terrible Bourg defending, and could have easily lost two or three goals with the score at 1-0. Two of the goals came from defenders, each Yeni N’Gbakoto and Kevin Lejeune grabbed their fifth of the season and Emmanuel Mayuka pounced on some slack play to grab his second in seven games.
A misfiring attack against a stubborn defence has the recipe for a tight affair in Beauvais, but Metz have shown they have dangerous weapons all over the pitch, whereas Red Star’s heroes from their promotion run have yet to find their feet in Ligue 2.
US Creteil v Paris FC: Tuesday 20:00 – @meatmansoccer
This is a Parisian derby between a couple of extremely out of form teams. Both have lost their last four consecutive games, and the visitors are winless in 13 fixtures. Their latest defeat, a 0-3 hammering at home to Dijon, prompted the departure of coach Denis Renaud. As an interesting side story, they have appointed Jean Luc Vasseur as their new boss. He was a legend at Creteil, achieving a great promotion with them, followed by stability in Ligue 2. Sadly, his spell with Reims was rather short-lived but at this level he has a proven track record and looks like a good appointment. The new manager does have some weapons to work with. In between the sticks Alexis Thebaux is one of the best keepers in the division, whilst upfront he has a proven Ligue 2 goalscorer in Nicolas Fauvergue. There is definitely enough quality in this squad to at least stay up and the team should improve now that the hopeless and negative Renaud has departed.
Of course, Creteil themselves saw their manager walk out on them earlier in the season. Due to internal incidents Thierry Froger went on gardening leave for a few matches, but then was surprisingly reinstated. Perhaps it was more of a surprise he agreed to come back, but right now he is definitely under pressure again. Les Beliers have lost their last four games, and this is perhaps unsurprising since they have played poor football all season and were lucky in the early stages of the campaign to notch some wins. Creteil desperately need to hope that key players such as Faneva Andriatsima start to fire again, or else they will continue to slide down the table. But the squad is unbalanced, especially in midfield where they desperately lack physical strength.
Now that Paris FC have a new manager, they can be considered favourites for this game.
Dijon FCO v AJ Auxerre: Tuesday 20:00 – @rich_allen85
As Ligue 2 drifts towards a trio of breakaway teams at the top, current leaders Dijon welcome a frustrating but dangerous Auxerre to the Stade Gaston Gerard.
Dijon come into the game off the back of two convincing displays as both Clermont and Paris were dispatched with relative ease. Julio Tavares is the man in form with seven goals this season, four of which came in those two most recent wins. Whilst looking confident, Dijon are still susceptible to lapses in concentration as their defeat to Nancy at the start of November showed. It is of this that Auxerre must look to take advantage if they are to get anything on Tuesday evening.
Moving on to Auxerre and they have been in peculiar form of late. A loss at home to struggling Lens was followed up by a 2-1 Coupe de France defeat to fifth tier Limoges. To the amazement and frustration of the Auxerre fans they then went and became only the second side this season to beat Metz at the Stade Saint-Symphorien. A further win on Friday evening at home to Creteil moved AJA up to a season high 7th place in the table. With players like Zacharie Boucher, Sebastien Puygrenier and four-goal and four-assist forward Gaetan Courtet in their ranks, Auxerre have enough in them to cause Dijon some problems.
A draw seems a likely outcome here but those with a fancy for something more daring may see this as a good opportunity for an away win.