Nice proved to be slow starters, but once their engine is on there’s nothing stopping them.
Like always, if we look closer, we find an explanation for their hesitant start of the season, which includes the loss of Europa League place. The defensive problems should be blamed for the inconsistent display.
But now things improved once defender Pejcinovic, key player, returned from injury. He missed most of the first rounds, including the Europa league games.
Also recently Nice made a great acquisition, Bodmer (ex PSG, St Etienne), who usually plays as a defensive midfielder but also has central defender skills, which is exactly why coach Puel started using him in the central defense.
Now the penalty box guarded by Pejcinovic – Bodmer is impenetrable and the offensive players can peacefully mind their own business.
Striker Cvitanich started scoring again and he proves to be more cunning than ever. He’s the kind of player always ready to exploit even the tinniest of mistakes. For opponents he’s one of the most annoying players out there, always getting on their nerves with subtle provocations that often lead to dangerous free kicks or even penalties.
Behind him midfielder Bruls proved to be a real play maker and quickly adapted to Nice’s play style. His confidence is also skyrocketing after managing an impressive back heel assist last round.
The rest of the players are working hard, fighting for every ball and are active in both the defensive and the offensive phase.
There are no new absentees for Nice so most probably they will be using the exact same team as last round.
It is really depressing watching Valenciennes play nowadays. They barely create anything, they lack confidence, they precipitate when defending, to put it simply: they are a disaster.
Striker Pujol, maybe their best player, is visibly out of form because he gets injured often and lacks continuity.
The other usual finisher Le Tallec is mostly a bench warmer nowadays. Winger Dossevi (one of the most important players) is still injured, play maker Melikson proved to be a big disappointment, always making one step forward and two steps back, and the rest of the offensive players are only kids with no experience.
Defensive midfielder Doumbia got injured and most probably he will be substituted by Saez. Now Saez is not a bad player but you have to have a strong defense in order to use Saez as he likes to advance a lot and often neglects his defensive duties.
And a strong defense is what Valenciennes severely lacks. Even if experienced fullback Mater will return from suspension, central defenders Rose / Lala – Angoua will look like a bunch of clown when trying to deal with Cvitanich.
Hard times are foreseen for Valenciennes this season as, the way they look now, Valenciennes are the prime candidates for relegation.
The odds of 1.80 for Nice are decent enough, considering they’ve solved the defensive issues and are up against a Ligue2 level team….