No surprises here in terms of my selection, I feel both teams are happier on the front foot and we have discussed several times this season how Nimes are much more offensive minded than they are given credit for and happy to go toe to toe with anyone here who will not arrive looking to sit back and frustrate. My preview of their trip to Arles last month is reproduced at the foot of this email, key point there is once again Nimes improved second half of the season form and this is a team who come alive after the Christmas break season after season. This year they had to sit down and eat their holiday goose whilst stuck in 17th place in Ligue 2 having collected an average of 1.05 points per game, they have upped that to 2.2 ppg over their last 10 starts, whch has taken them up to a giddy eight spot and within seven points of the promotion spots. Hard to make a case for them switching off the gas now and it will surely be three points or nothing this evening.
Last week I wrote this about the visitors ..... Tours are the archetypal first half team, something we have have touched upon many times this season and they have collected 44 points before the break, just 19 after and are 7-3-3 at home in the first half with games averaging 1.77 goals per opening 45 minutes. Their loss at Sochaux last week, where they blew a first half lead has left them four points from safety , so, with a bigger offensive threat than most teams at this end of the table, I expect them to be throwing caution to the wind from now on in, especially in home starts.
They again led at the break, but highflying Brest fought back to earn a share of the spoils in the second half. Tours first half record is incredible, a whopping 47 points earned in the opening 45 minutes , 1.68 per game which if they could have kept it up for 90, would have seen them a point shy of second place, as it currently stands, they are three points from safety. However, what we know about them is that they pose a big offensive threat and they can definitely get out of trouble, they are certainly not coming to sit back this evening and arrive with five forwards in their 17 man squad. I would not rule out the away win, but the similarly priced "over" 1.5 goals for Tours offers better value in my opinion ( quote 2.65-3.00....1.25 units) and I find it hard to see how they are going to get the points without scoring at least twice.
They will be helped in that regard by Nimes missing left back Fethi Harek ( one win in four in his absence) and who knows how the news this week that Nimes are to be "relegated" at the end of this season, for match fixing will effect the players, the club is appealing this decision of course and it is set to run and run, but I doubt that even if that punishment was reduced, they would be allowed to be promoted if they somehow found their way into the top three, so possibly, motivation might be lessened, but "promotion" might keep them in L2 at least. Having said all that, they could relax and just play their best, either way I see goals and have to take 1.5 units "over" 2.75 goals 2.31 asian line/Sportmarket.
Nimes: Michel, Gallon - Cordoval, Barrillon, Marin, Robail, Sartre - Briançon, Hsissane, Omrani, Parpeix - Koura, Maoulida, Mendy, Nouri, Vlachodimos.
Tours : Bertrand, Kamara,Bouhours, Gradit, Miguel, Milosevic, Schwechlen, Touré, Belkebla, Berengeur, Chavalerin, Santamaria, Bergougnoux, Delort, Ketkeophomphone, Nanizayamo, Tandia.