Coupe de France 32emes: FC Sochaux v SC Amiens
Sochaux versus Amiens doesn’t exactly scream “glamour tie” but there’s enough spice in this contest to make the away side a little squeamish. December wasn’t a kind month for Amiens as they lost all four of their league matches with their only solitary taste of victory coming in, oddly enough, a cup competition – the Coupe de la Ligue.
Though they sit in 13th in Ligue 1, that position fosters a false sense of security at first glance. How misleading is it? Well, Amiens are only three points better off than Angers who are languishing in 19th. If anything, the goal-shy yet defensively obdurate side could do with a victory to kick start their league campaign.
For the home team the pressure is off to a certain degree. Sochaux are sitting comfortably in eighth and are only four points off Ajaccio in third. The side, coached by Peter Zeidler, can keep their focus on this cup tie without the worry of looking over their shoulder in the league. Zeidler’s issue is how he can tighten up Sochaux’s backline who have conceded 32 goals this season. To put that in context, the only sides in Ligue 2 who are defensively more lax reside in the bottom three.
As clichéd as it sounds the first goal will play a big bearing on the destiny of the tie. Should Amiens score first then chances are they should feel confident enough to keep the home side at bay given their defensive discipline. If Sochaux get their noses in front the onus will be on Amiens to attack which, if the goal stats are anything to go by, they are not terribly effective at doing. One suspects though that Sochaux would need to score twice given their own defensive frailties.
The home side’s key attacking threat will be Florian Martin who has 10 goals to his name already plus three assists. They also have Aldo Kalulu, on loan from Lyon, though the striker has only managed to find the net four times, all at home, in 18 matches. The visitors will look to Gaël Kakuta to provide the creative spark having notched up three goals and four assists.
Sochaux can view this match as a momentum builder but how will Amiens look to play – do they fear losing or will they feel bold enough to win? Their approach in this Coupe de France match could set the tone for the remainder of their Ligue 1 campaign.