As expected both teams were defeated last round. Their opponents were more in-form and not to mention valuable.
However Nantes’ loss may have harsher than first expected. Coach Zakarian preferred a more defensive approach and started with Veretout instead of Bedoya in central midfield.
It was a smart decision but the only problem was that Veretout got injured after half an hour and had to be substituted. He is doubtful for this encounter. Either way, at home against average opponents (like Reims is considered to be), Zakarian would have preferred offensive Bedoya anyway.
Central defender Djilobodji, who is considered to be one of the best defenders in Ligue1, was simply overwhelmed and missed most interventions. The things is the same happened against Lorient 2 rounds ago (Nantes won 1-0), only that Lorient’s forwards missed the target from all positions. What I am trying to say is that Djilobodji’s performance last round denotes a poor form in 2014.
Offensively Nantes also suffer. As you may know by now they rely a lot on striker Djordjevic in the attacking phase. In spite being Nantes’ top-scorer Djordjevic hasn’t scored in Ligue1 (leaving aside Cup games) since the beginning of November.
American Bedoya is the one trying to compensate for Djordjevic’s lack of form, but he is just an average player on his finest day…
Reims play with 3 central midfielders which are more active in the defensive phase. They leave virtually no spaces for opponents to build actions. Well, last round Lyon found some spaces… but there are no comparison terms at the moment between Lyon and Nantes…
Reims may be a bit vulnerable when defending the flanks but the 3 central midfielders try their best to give a helping hand for fellow fullbacks.
Upfront striker Charbonnier besides being tall and a few volleys can’t impress by anything else… Winger De Preville is the one able to make a difference through speed and decent ball control.
Nantes usually push hard on home ground trying to keep all points at home. But they are soft upfront and spend much of their time with useless passes in midfield. Against Reims who constantly keep many players in own half it will be a nightmare.
At around 2.00 odds on Nantes are way too low. The value is definitely on Reims +0.5 at 1.85. Reims may even make a full surprise especially with Djilobodji’s (Nantes central defender) poor form and De Preville’s (Reims offensive player) speed. Medium confidence.