If Valenciennes managed a decent performance last round away at Rennes, Evian on the other hand suffered a humiliating home defeat (1-2 lost to Guingamp after leading 1-0).
Coming back from 2-0 in an away game to salvage a point surely increased Valenciennes’ fragile morale. Adding to that is the new coach factor that seems to have boosted a bit their confidence.
Belgian coach Jacobs made an impact from his 1st game after finding full of dust midfielder Da Silva and activating him. Besides scoring the equalizer Da Silva also made a couple of impressive interventions and looks set to keep his place in the line-up, even if defensive midfielder Ducourtioux will return after being suspended.
Coach Jacobs changed Valenciennes’ system, they were playing 4-5-1 before, with all central midfielders having clear defensive tasks. The problems was that wingers had nobody to cooperate with when it came to building up play.
With Jacobs they are a pure 4-4-2 with emphasis on the wings, where Valenciennes’ strength lies (Dossevi is there). This way they are able to create more chances, to pose more threat and apply pressure.
I found it a bit weird that Jacobs used Israeli Melikson as a 2nd striker. Melikson is not really in form and until now he’s been mostly an attacking midfielder or a winger. I think that young N’Guette could be more helpful due to his speed and increased ball control. Besides, I see N’Guette as a great prospect so they need to work on increasing his market value.
Central defender Rose suffered an injury last week and most probably will miss, but don’t have a panic attack, he’s no Maldini. Otherwise they should be using the same team as last round.
Ever-since fullback DjkaDjeDje got injured Evian’s strategy collapsed and they were forced to change the entire system. Until his injury, fullbacks and wingers were constantly changing roles, advanced a lot, had long range attempts or incursions in the box.
But DjaDjeDje got injured, same as winger Ehret on the other side, Wass returned to a full-time fullback position (which he kind of hates lately) and forwards only rely on balls coming from the center.
They will welcome back 3 players, all of them suspended last round: midfielders Barbosa and Bertoglio, and defender Kone.
But those comebacks are nothing in comparison to the absence of their most prolific player due to injury, forward Berigaud is out. Argentinian Ruben will return after a long injury so he could replace Berigaud, but his form is more than questionable.
Due to the changes in Valenciennes’ system and the recent result I see them much more energetic than Evian. Guests’ last result was definitely a blow to their self esteem, severely decreasing the confidence level.
Since I started writing this odds went down from 2.09 to 2.06 (and I’m a fast typist). I have a feeling it will continue to drop and you won’t find anything above 2.00 in the game day, so take it while it has some value.