Ever since forward Ben Arfa got injured, Nice struggle to push the game forward and create scoring opportunities. Last round away at Bordeaux they concentrated mostly on defending and the strategy paid off (finished 0-0).
Central defender Bodmer now plays as an attacking midfielder, and it’s no wonder Nice are simply throwing the ball in opponents’ penalty box and hoping for the best.
Young forward Plea returned after a long injury, but he is clearly out of form and it will take some time to pick rhythm, especially when servant Ben Arfa is injured.
Nice are favorites and they are forced to change strategy this round, they will try to control the game and will have to open up.
Bastia haven’t played last week and given the good form in previous rounds, they surely must be hungry for action.
It is actually a good thing that Bastia’s game last round got postponed, as Nantes are really difficult opponents and could have made Bastia lose form.
For about a month now, Bastia are very convincing in performances and seem to have solved their major problem, the offensive softness. Now winger Ayite keeps on scoring goals and inspiring teammates.
Bastia will welcome back keeper Leca who was suspended last round.
Nice will rush upfront from the first whistle and will try to impose the rhythm. The problem is they are using a central defender in the playmaker position and will have to bring more players to the attacking phase. Hosts will have to open up and in-form Bastia will have a great chance to exploit the situation. BASTIA +0.5 at 2.15
UPDATE: Bastia will miss winger Palmieri who is suspended.
Nice: Hassen, Cardinale – Baysse, Le Marchand, Ricardo, Bodmer, Genevois, Pied – Seri, Mah.Traoré, Hult, Walter, N.Mendy, Koziello – Plea, Caddy, Germain, Honorat, Ranieri
Bastia: Thomas Vincensini, Jean-Louis Leca, Florian Marange, Mathieu Peybernes, François Modesto, Sébastien Squillaci, Alexander Djiku, Lassana Coulibaly, Abdoulaye Keita, Mehdi Mostefa, Yannick Cahuzac, Seko Fofana, Gaël Danic, Axel Ngando, François Kamano, Sadio Diallo, Brandao, Floyd Ayité