Nantes and Nice met in the first game of 2014 in the French Cup about 2 weeks ago, when Nice won away from home 2-0. Although they lost, Nantes had a slight advantage and it appeared they were more involved in the game. However their softness upfront betrayed them.
[restrict paid=true level=1] In that game Nantes were without a couple of important players like keeper Riou, fullback Cissokho, attacking midfielder Bedoya, winger Gakpe and star striker Djordjevic. Now all of them should start.
Nantes were very fortunate to win last round against Lorient, as they were under moderate domination for most of the game. Big credit for that win goes to defenders who successfully managed to reject almost all incoming danger.
Djilobodji is one hell of a central defender and to be honest I see him transferring out to an important club pretty soon.
Central midfielders also got very involved in the defensive phase making it almost impossible for opponents to find any spaces.
The only problem, once again, was with the offensive players. They used 4 attacking players but only one of them really struggled to achieve anything, winger Gakpe. Still, it is not like striker Djordjevic and the other offensive players are in a deep comma, they move around, try and create spaces, but it just wasn’t enough.
If we think Nantes have offensive problems we should have a closer look at their opponents Nice. Their top-scorer Cvitanich hasn’t scored since the beginning of November and can’t even hit the target from penalties (missed one last round). His situation is aggravating with each round that goes by, as he even started talking to himself on the pitch lately (maybe a motivational speech…).
In Cvitanich’s absence (absent minded…) Nice rely only on offensive midfielders for posing any danger. But now both right wingers Pied and Eysseric are injured, meaning that Bruls and Bruins will most probably play in the same time. None of them feels comfortable on that side. Most likely Bruins, who started only twice this season and has doubtful qualities, will be Nice’s play-maker in center midfield…
Nice will once again miss both central defenders Bodmer and Pejcinovic.
Both teams have offensive issues, but Nice’s are way more serious and require more time for solving. Under 2.5 could be a good choice but odds are too low. Maybe Nantes’ striker Djordjevic will finally be more aggressive and achieve full potential, he can do it against this Nice side missing both central defenders and having problems in keeping the ball in the other half.
Nantes to win at the price of 2.17. Low to medium stakes.[/restrict]