Judging exclusively by the run of play Valenciennes made a nice surprise in the Cup game at Rennes, but judging by the final result it was a bitter disappointment as they lost at penalties.
During the transfer window Valenciennes acquired the services of central defender Carl Medjani (on loan from Monaco) and Ghanian striker Waris (loaned from Spartak Moscow)
[restrict paid=true level=1] Both of them could go straight into the lineup, especially since striker Bahebeck suffered an injury in the Cup game and is doubtful.
Waris could actually be Valenciennes’ sole choice upfront since all their strikers appear to be injured: Le Tallec, Bahebeck, N’Guette and Pujol.
Players looked very lively against Rennes. Especially winger Ducourtioux and attacking midfielder Dossevi seem to be in great form. Valenciennes will welcome back winger Masuaku who was suspended in against Rennes.
Even if striker Bahebeck will eventually miss, Valenciennes could be stronger offensively with Masuaku available again and newly transferred in Waris motivated to earn his place in the squad.
Even if they won Bastia were a let down in the Cup game against Evian. Players seem to lack any determination, there’s no speed, no element of surprise, no aggressiveness in their game.
Bastia will welcome back winger Khazri after injury but I doubt he can be such a motivational element for his teammates to grow wings.
Is still not clear if newly transferred in striker Djibril Cisse will be able to play. He has yet to receive some official papers from his ex club Kuban. To be honest I don’t think the papers will arrive in time, especially after Cisse left on a free transfer and bad-mouthed his ex club…
In terms of dedication Valenciennes will surely be the winners. They will hold more possession and will cover wider areas through their actions. The problems will arrive only when attempting to convert the few truly dangerous chances they’ll have.
Maybe new striker Waris will prove to be exactly what Valenciennes were missing. Otherwise it will be difficult for them to find the winner but I still give Valenciennes credit due to the vivacious and committed playing style.
The price of 2.10 for Valenciennes to win is good enough to be taken with low to medium stakes.
UPDATE: Bastia’s striker Cisse finally received all the papers and will be able to play. Same bet, same stakes [/restrict]