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Ligue 2 games of note for Week 20

Like inLigue 1, we are halfway though the Ligue 2 season. And, unlike Ligue 1, many of the winter transfer market moves has been in the second division. We will see how these moves, which are listed on our Winter Transfer Center page, will effect these teams. But here is a quick preview of some of today’s Ligue 2 matches.

AC Ajaccio  
  AC Arles Avignon

Arles, who are having an impressive season so far, will travel to one of the only places in France that it isn’t snowing, Corsica, to take on AC Ajaccio. Unlike their rivals at Bastia, Ajaccio has not made any changes to their team in during the winter transfer window. In fact, they lost the services of defender Jonathan Martins Pereiea  to Nantes.

Arles Avignon are looking to move into the top two in Ligue 2 and try to secure that second league position. And with the poor play of Caen the last few matches, Arles could possibly make that move. We will also see if Ivorian Bakary Soro, who transfered in from Charlton Athletic in England, will impact the team.

Clermont Foot  
  FC Nantes

Nantes look to get their season back on track after a rocky start, which also saw the sacking of their coach. But since Jean-Marc Furlan joined the team a few months ago, Nantes doesn’t look in any better position than they did before his arrival. While they currently sit in 7th, and are only a few points out of 4th place, they have had quite poor form as of recently. They hope to change that against Clermont Foot.

While scoring hasn’t been a problem for Nantes, keeping the ball out of their own net has. The team as allowed 27 goals in 26 games. But during the winter, they acquired the services of underused Auxerre defender Kevin Lejeune and Ajaccio’s defender Jonathan Martins Pereiea. This might be exactly what Nantes needs to get their defence pulled together.

Still, they should be able to squeak out a win against Clermont, who have been pretty decent since their ascendancy to Ligue 2 two years ago. But look for Nantes to start the second half of their season with a bang.

RC Strasbourg  
  Stade Lavallois

Strasbourg continues to struggle, though starting 2010 against Lyon isn’t exactly the way to build morale. Still, Strasbourg needs to work to get their side winning again. The team is in such turmoil, and a drop to the Championnat National seems likely if they don’t make any chances soon. Aand, as it looks right now, they don’t plan on making any chances.

The team that they might have a chance against is Laval. There weren’t many upsets in the French Cup. But because of Nice’s loss to Plabennec, most people didn’t realize that Laval lost to CFA Group A side Vesoul, at home, by a score of 2-1. For a team that currently sits 6th in Ligue 2, this is a ‘far from expected’ result. The question is if Laval will come out angry, or is their team really is in trouble. There doesn’t seem to be any indication that this is the case, but we will see which team will come out ahead, as both desperately need a win after recent results.

SM Caen  
  SC Bastia

Caen, who ended 2009 with mixed results, look to recapture the dominance that they showed at the beginning of the year as they host Corsican side Bastia.

During the winter, Caen didn’t make any changes to their team. On the other hand, Bastia did make a number of additions, transferring in Alexandre Garcia (don’t know anything about him), Jacques-Désiré Périatambée and Kévin Gohiri, who should give Bastia some extra strength in the defensive midfield. So, the team looks a little different than they did at the start of the season. But will that make any difference.

For Caen to get back on track, they need to start putting the ball in the net. At the start of the season, Caen looked quite impressive offensively. Still, in their recent matches, finding goals has the their biggest weakness. Steeven Langal is still able to find the goal. But Caen needs Benjamin Nivet to start producing yet again, as he hasn’t scored a goal since November. If he can click, and Youssef El Arabi continues to play better than expected football, they should have a good second half of the season.

Of course, expect Caen to steamroll over Bastia. But if they don’t, they just might have some problems.

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