Ligue 2: Valenciennes - Clermont
We had very few goals on opening day last season and also no home wins, that was a little odd of course, but the previous two campaigns had produced an average of 2.7 goals, so I will see the start of 15-16 as simply a blip. Clermont were fun to watch last season, they produced a Ligue 2 high 109 goals and away starts averaged 2.95 per game. They finished 7th, seven points shy of a promotion spot, were in the mix most of the campaign and I doubt we will see too much difference in their approach, the six main "defensive" starters remain, are all in the squad and seem likely to start this evening, which kind of bears that out. They have lost two big offensive threats in top scorer Famara Diedhiou and Adrien Hunou, but winger Remy Dugimont had seven goals and three assists after the end of November and Corinne Diacre , who is in her third season in charge, believes in attacking football and has added a number of young strikers to the squad and to be honest, they have looked very similar to the Clermont of old in pre season, conceding and scoring freely.
Valenciennes were wildly unpredictable last season, as highlighted by a 5-1 win at high flying Red Star being followed by a 3-1 home defeat. They earned 24 of 44 points on the road and with a home record of 3-11-5 , it is clear where their issues lie, they lost 2-1 and 3-1 to Clermont (league and cup), winger Wesley Jobello scored twice in the latter and given that Diacre opted to leave him out of squad which travelled, she must be reasonably confident about her team's offensive options. Gambling and winning half of those home darws would have taken Valenciennes into the top 8 (they were 12th) and that is the aim this season (to take a few more chances) and they have named an offensive looking group for this evening, with little defensive cover (18 yo Kyle Duncan has only ever played three games for the B team).
Valenciennes: Kocik, Perquis - Duncan, Kantari, Nery, Nestor, Niakhaté - Azbague, Dabo, Diarra, Enza-Yamissi, Fulgini, Roudet, Tameze - Da Costa, Faustin, Ndao.
Clermont: Jeannin, Caillard ; Avinel, Djellabi, Fontaine, Rivieyran, Salze ; Busin, Ekobo, Espinosa, Guerbert, Lopy, Pereira-Lage ; Ajorque, Dugimont, Thiam.
I expect both to score and each to press for a winner, so it has to be ......
over 2.25 goals 2.16 asian line/Sportmarket
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