A failed experiment with French football was shelved a couple of seasons ago amid a flurry of last-minute goals that turned big-paying draws into, well, frankly, dust and it seems we may be headed that way again. From memory, Toulouse, in particular, had a nasty habit of scoring late on to ensure successive quads fell down by dint of one game. I recall the spectre of these defeats because a similar thing has happened with my new dabble of choice - the under 2.5 goal market in Ligue 1. Two weeks ago, three fixtures would have paid out from five while last weekend, another five selections were ultimately undone by a 2-2 draw between Rennes and Montpellier.
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Having learned the lesson from Toulouse a couple of years ago, I refrained from entering them on the slip and was rewarded since Alain Casanova's side went on to win 3-1 at Lorient - the fixture had looked more than capable of ending favourably considering six of the previous eight between the two had all gone under 2.5 goals. However, the nagging suspicion was that the visitors would score heavily and thus it proved.
This weekend, there are a number of fixtures that once more appear to be low-scoring certainties and so I intend to give it another shot - this time a little more judiciously than before, however, since there are alarm bells ringing regarding a number of the match ups and not least because, as noted, greed has cost me the opportunity to add more modest returns.
Valenciennes v Sochaux
Sochaux's last seven games have all gone under 2.5 goals and seven of Valenciennes' last 10 home games have done likewise. But the clincher is that three of the last four between these two have all gone under 2.5 goals, while the fact that Sochaux have not managed two goals in one game on their travels all season merely burnishes the stats. Oh, and Valenciennes have struggled to hit a barn door at home, too.
Nantes v Rennes
Six of Rennes' last eight away games have gone under 2.5 goals. Five of Nantes' last seven games have gone under 2.5 goals and, as a rule, they have struggled to hit the target at La Beaujoire-Louis Fontenau Stadium. Rennes are slighly better - joint eighth in Ligue 1 on the road - yet they have still failed to score more than once in nine of 13. The last four between these two at in Nantes have resulted in under 2.5 goals. Five of the last six have all gone under 2.5 goals.
Guingamp v Nice
Six of Guingamp's last seven home games have all gone under 2.5 goals but Nice have been in games that have gone over the margin in their last three away trips. Nevertheless, the reverse fixture this season finished 1-0 to Nice.
The obvious caveat here is the Guingamp/Nice game given the latter's last three on the road. However, both sides are in the bottom six for goals scored this season, averaging less than a goal a game. In nine of 13 at home Guingamp have failed to score more than twice while Nice have managed just five on their travels and have been unable to find the net on eight of 12 away games. The treble pays 3.65/1 with BetVictor.
A winner of sorts last week, but a pyrrhic victory. With four up on the coupon and a £10 outlay, the return of £6.67 barely softens the blow and leaves us deeper in the mire at -£71.73.