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Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Rennes might give Patrick Vieira's Nice the runaround

Mario Balotelli is not match fit

New Nice manager Patrick Vieira
1 of 1

Ligue 1
6pm Friday

Rennes climbed into the top six after a 2-0 victory at home to Bordeaux before the international break and their strong start to the season can continue at Nice, where they are odds-against with the draw no bet.

Last season was successful for Rennes, who finished fifth and qualified automatically for the Europa League group stage.

It was their highest finish since 2006-07 and there is a desire to keep on improving.

Highly-rated centre-back Joris Gnagnon left for Sevilla this summer but Rennes boosted their attacking options by snapping up Jordan Siebatcheu from Reims and M'Baye Niang on loan from Torino.

Neither has managed to score but pacy Senegalese winger Ismaila Sarr has started the season strongly, notching twice in four games.

Rennes' attack should get stronger as the season progresses and the loss of Gnagnon seems to have been absorbed with Sabri Lamouchi's side chalking up two clean sheets.

It should be another positive season but the outlook is more uncertain for Nice, who need time to adjust to a summer of change.

Patrick Vieira replaced Lucien Favre in the hotseat and has got off to a sketchy start with one, win one draw and two defeats.

The victory came last time out when Nice won 1-0 at Lyon.

However, Vieira's men lost the shot count 29 to three and were indebted to some fine saves from goalkeeper Walter Benitez.

Winning that game will have given Nice a welcome confidence boost but there are still problems, including a lack of potency up front.

Nice's two-goal tally is the lowest in the division and their star striker, Mario Balotelli, is not properly match fit, having featured for just 75 minutes for his club this season.

Balotelli got another 60 minutes under his belt while playing for Italy against Poland but if he is kept quiet Rennes will be well on the way to securing a positive result.

Rennes draw no bet
1pt 6-5 Betfair, Paddy Power

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Patrick Vieira replaced Lucien Favre in the hotseat and has got off to a sketchy start
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