Rennes vs Reims by Isaiah
Rennes was held to a goalless draw last weekend at home against St Etienne, even though they had a bit more of the ball possession and a bit more of the chances created. However, overall impression is that neither of the teams risked too much, especially not once the game has gone into the final quarter of it's time.
It could be said that the home players lacked some more creativity, but also some more will to risk, as they stood with a third game in all competitions without a victory. They are now at ninth position at the table, only six points away from the European tickets, while they got eliminated in the French League Cup competition with a 3:1 defeat away to Bastia in quarter-finals. Cup now comes as the only shortcut to Europe next season and no doubt that the team is motivated to get the qualification in front of their own fans. They have no new injury or suspension worries, as they only might miss left winger Paul-Georges Ntep (19 matches, 7 goals so far in the season) who missed the previous two games and is questionable for this one as well. Rennes is a bit lucky to have only one player at African Cup of Nations with left back Cheikh M'Bengue (17/0) being that one.
Reims suffered their second consecutive defeat, this time losing away to Caen with a 4:1 result last weekend. Visitors had much more of the ball possession, but simply weren't up to the task with a ball in their feet, as the team lacked tempo and creativity while having the ball. Hosts quickly had the double already after eight minutes, while the visitors responded from a penalty kick taken by Charbonier in 27th minute.
However, not even then the image was reverted, with the hosts still being much more concrete side that finally got the victory with two more goals - in 3th with a goal from Yahia and the fourth, in 76th by Koita from the penalty spot. With these two defeats, team slipped down to the eleventh position, with eight points below the European tickets, but also eight points above the relegation zone. Visitors have few important problems in front of this game, as they can't count at important midfielder/left winger Diego (17 matches, 3 goals, 4 assists so far in the season), while out for this game is also right fullback Aissa Mandi (17 matches, 3goals) being at African Cup of Nations. Away to African Cup of Nations are also offensive midfielder Prince Oniangue (17 matches, 2 goals), striker Odair Fortes (17 matches, 1 goal) and striker Benjamin Moukandjo (16 matches, 6 goals so far). All of them being important parts of the team. Finally, positive news is that central defender Antoine Conte (17/0) returns from suspension and should start here.
Rennes seems to be working much better at the moment and playing in front of their own crowd should give them an extra advantage in this one. They will want a revenge for the defeated caused a month ago and with a bit bigger motivation that their guests, but also with much more key players available for the game, I believe they will get it within the regular time.