Le Havre v Laval: Ligue 2 Preview – Week 32
Prior to the international break, Le Havre beat Tours 2-0. It was more of a workmanlike performance, but they got the job done and that’s all that matters at this stage of the season. HAC have generally been playing well in the last couple of months, and the only blotch was a surprising 0-1 loss at Sochaux, in what was a drab affair.
Manager, Bob Bradley is known for his attacking mentality and positive approach, but he’s been willing to adapt in this division to a regular 4-2-3-1. Perhaps the most noticeable change has been their defensive organisation, keeping four clean sheets in their last six games, but they’ll be tested in this match due to a couple of suspensions.
Right back Isam Chebake and centre-back captain Steven Fortes are both banned. This means that the often shaky Gregoire Puel will get a start, whilst Cedric Cambon should switch back to defence after a spell playing defensive mid. Bradley has a wealth of attacking options at his disposal but has been leaving out Mathieu Duhamel of late.
The last time the renowned star hitman started a game was way back in early February, but a combination of injury along with Bradley’s preference for others has kept him out of the XI.
The visitors have only won once since the winter break, and that was way back in mid-January. Les Tangos have drawn 6 of their last 7 games but it’s now 10 matches without a win for Denis Zanko’s men. They have been a huge ‘draw team’ under his management, tough to beat but often lacking the desire to push for all three points. Their squad is limited and they have an obvious lack of quality in all areas.
At the back, Djibril Konate is still injured and despite his age, has been a key part of their backline. Full-back Fouad Chafik isn’t properly fit either and has been left out of the squad for this match. In midfield, their most important player Anthony Goncalves is suspended and this is a huge blow. He holds things together for them in this position and although Hassan All returns from injury, he perhaps might not be that sharp enough following a bit of time off. Laval have no absentees in the final third, but apart from Rachid Aliaoui who can occasionally have a decent game, they have nobody who strikes fear in opposition defences.
Despite their defensive absences, Le Havre should have enough to obtain victory. They are hungry in the hunt for promotion and Laval are a limited side who often offer little going forwards. The visitors might be hard to break down but overall you have to back the quality of Le Havre to prevail.
Prediction: Le Havre 2-1 Laval