Both sides were eliminated from the French Cup in-spite dominating their opponents.
Nice played against Ligue2 side Valenciennes and lost 2-0 even if they managed to impose the rythm. In comparison to the first part of the season Nice changed a bit as they transferred-out last season’s top-scorer striker Cvitanich (had an awful first part of the season) and brought in midfielder Ben Arfa. Hopefully Ben Arfa will be exactly what Nice needed as they were very deficient in the offensive department.
Nice were never rated as candidates for European places, but even so, their performances in the first part of the season were a bit disappointing. In defense they had a decent organization but they were unable to keep possession upfront and relied mostly on long balls thrown inside the penalty box.
Opponents Lorient were eliminated from the Cup by 3rd division side Avranches (lost 1-0). According to reports the difference in value was not seen on the field even if Lorient played in numerical superiority for about 10 minutes.
Lorient missed a couple of important players and most likely some of them will be out once again: keeper Audard (injured), defender Lautoa (injured), winger Jouffre (injured), midfielder Traore (international duty), striker Ayew (international duty).
It will be interesting to follow the battle Guerreiro (Lorient) vs Puel (Nice) on the flank, since both of them were in good form and their performances in the first part of the season assured many points.
These sides are very similar at the moment from many points of view, but the home factor and guests’ absences should make the difference. Nice -0.25 at 1.91
UPDATE: Nice are without fullback Palun who is at the African Cup of Nations. For Lorient Lautoa is back in the squad but they will still miss Lavigne, Jouffre, Quercia, Coutadeur, Audard, L.Koné, Jouffre, B.Pelé, F.Robert, C.Touré, Ayew, Gassama and Traore. Same bet
Nice: Hassen, Pouplin – Amavi, Bodmer, So.Diawara, Genevois, K.Gomis, G.Puel – Ben Arfa, N.Mendy, Hult, Carlos Eduardo, Albert, Bauthéac, Eysseric, Vercauteren – Bosetti, Pléa, Maupay
Lorient: Lecomte, Chaigneau – Pedrinho, Lautoa, Wachter, Karamoko, Bellugou, Guerreiro, Le Goff – Sunu, Barthelmé, Autret, Mostefa, Mesloub, R.Abdullah – S.Diallo, Jeannot, Gapka