Reims v Etienne- Stade Auguste-Delaune II at 14:00 GMT live at BT Sport
Few teams in Europe – let alone France – are as well-drilled as Reims under David Guion’s watch. Since promotion back to the top-flight, the Champagne club have been renowned for their robust and ultra-organised approach, masters at keeping contests competitive and frustrating opposition attacks.
Only returning to this level at the beginning of last term, Reims have been exceptional at their atmospheric Stade Auguste Delaune base (W10-D12-L5) with the likes of PSG, Lille, Marseille, Lyon and Monaco all failing to depart with maximum points. And the Les Rouges et Blancs have impressed again this term.
Exclude all-conquering champions PSG and no Ligue 1 side gives up as few goalscoring opportunities as Reims. Stade sit second in the rankings for Expected Goals (xG) against, xG from open play conceded, as well as shots allowed from inside the penalty area. Guion’s group are mightily tough to breakdown.
Oppose goals at the Stade Auguste Delaune
However, the Reims’ focus on defence means forward-thinking football isn’t always possible, and so a catalogue of low-scoring contests follow. Les Rouges et Blancs have silenced 23/53 (43%) opponents but only managed to net more than once on 13 (25%) occasions making Stade an unders-backers dream.
The Champagne-club have seen fewer than three goals plundered in 40/53 (75%) showdowns since returning to Ligue 1, as 22 (42%) produced no more than a solitary strike. At the Stade Auguste Delaune, 12/27 (44%) of league fixtures paid out for Under 1.5 Goals with 19/27 (70%) seeing Under 2.5 Goals.
With that in mind, the 1.73 available for Under 2.25 Goals on Sunday afternoon against Etienne is well worth a second look. This selection would see fewer than three goals return profit with zero or one total goals giving us a full-stakes pay-out and exactly two goals seeing us land a half-stakes winner.
Puel overseeing Etienne
Claude Puel has been in charge of Etienne since the club sacked Ghislain Printant in late September. Even though the former Leicester boss failed at Lyon at times, the well-respected Frenchman still took Les Gones to an unlikely Champions League semi-final in 2010 and so his stock remains high at home.
Puel has rejigged Sainte’s tactics; playing three at the back, the new boss brought Arsenal loanee William Saliba back into the fold; and he has dropped established players such as Mathieu Debuchy. The team has far more natural width and wing-back Denis Bouanga finally looks like he will live up to his potential.
Charles Abi’s pace in attack has also key to Puel’s approach and overall his team have impressed in defence and threatened on the counter-attack, principles that have rewarded Les Verts in the past. Etienne have now moved into the top-half of the Ligue 1 table and within touching distance of the top-three.
Five shutouts in eight from Saint heading into the midweek round of action deserves credit and there’s a realistic prospect that Puel’s posse could be cancelled out by Reims’ defensive-first mind-set on Sunday. Either way, opposing goals appears our bets angle of attack at a decent value price.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Under 2.25 goals at 1.730
Предварительный просмотр: @MarkOHaire.