Preview: Reims vs. Strasbourg

Preview: Reims vs. Strasbourg

Matchday 14 of the Ligue 1 campaign gets underway on Friday, with Reims looking to end a two-game domestic losing run when they host Strasbourg at Stade Auguste-Delaune.

Les Rouges et Blancs conceded an early goal in each half last weekend as they were beaten by Rennes (3-1), while Le Racing squandered an early advantage and wound up playing to a 1-1 draw versus Marseille.

A backline that looked solid at the end of October and the start of November has been relatively easy to unlock in recent matches, with Reims conceding three goals in back-to-back league fixtures after posting clean sheets in their two encounters before that.

The six combined goals which they have conceded in their previous two encounters is one more than this side had given up in their six domestic affairs combined before that, while six of their last seven top-flight goals conceded have come at Stade Auguste-Delaune.

Throughout his tenure as Reims manager, Will Still has always been able to get his side to bounce back quickly following a minor slump, but should this team fail to register a point on Friday, it would match the longest losing run for the Belgian as a Ligue 1 coach (three matches in April of last season).

Despite some disappointing results recently, Reims remain well positioned to occupy a spot in Europe next season, currently holding down the final Europa League group stage position (fifth place) and only three points behind Lille for a Champions League qualifying berth.

While the defence has been somewhat shaky of late, Still’s aggressive counter-pressing approach has worked well throughout the campaign, with his side failing to score only once thus far.

They have come away with nothing on two occasions in Ligue 1 this season when scoring first, but all six of their victories have occurred after drawing first blood.

There was a lot of excitement in Strasbourg at the beginning of the campaign with the appointment of Patrick Vieira, but lately, the club has fallen on hard times.

Without a victory in six successive league games, it is the longest winless run for the Alsatians in the top flight since going eight straight matches without a triumph from October 2022 to January 2023.

Last Saturday, they dropped points after scoring the opener for the first time domestically all season as they are inching their way down towards relegation, just two points above Lorient and a playoff position.

To this stage of the campaign, scoring goals has proven to be exceedingly difficult for this side, with Le RCS netting the third-fewest in Ligue 1 (10), failing to score in three of their five away matches.

Throughout the 2023-24 Ligue 1 campaign, Strasbourg have been notoriously slow starters, netting only once in the opening 45 minutes, with half of their goals in this competition (5/10) coming in the 75th minute or beyond.

Strasbourg are unbeaten in their previous four top-flight matches versus Reims, claiming a 2-0 victory against them on matchday 32 a season ago, their first at Stade Auguste-Delaune since 1958-59 (3-2).

Reims Ligue 1 form:

Strasbourg Ligue 1 form:

We say: Reims 1-0 Strasbourg
Neither side have been particularly sharp in recent matches, but we believe the individual quality of a player like Ito will be enough for Reims to return to winning ways.

while, Strasbourg are lacking an attacking presence at the moment, which could hamper them on Friday against a well-balanced opponent.

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