ice have started the season with a loss when they visited St. Etienne, but their Champions League campaign has been successful so far. They managed to progress thanks to an away goal rule with a 3:3 aggregate score which they reached in the 79th minute of the second game. They are now facing Napoli in the playoff round and it will be another tough test for them. They didn`t show much against St. Etienne, with the hosts getting the lead in 4th minute which they kept intact till the end. Nice had one good chance via Eysseric shortly after the goal, but they didn`t take it and that was practically it. This time they will have enough rest inbetween domestic and European obligations and hopefully record some points. Cyprien is out injured, while Balotelli will not be risked in this game having also struggled with injury recently. Rest of the players are available, including Sneijder, but it remains to be seen will he start considering his recent arrival.
After reaching Ligue 1 playoff game with a dramatic win over Sochaux, Troyes passed Lorient to secure top-tier football this season. After pretty successful preparations they took point in their first game when they hosted Rennes. After goalless first half, Grandsir gave Troyes the lead in 46th minute. Rennes, however, controlled possession and tempo of the game and it was hard to see them leaving empty-handed. In 69th minute Tell equalized, putting the final score at 1:1. Despite “losing” two points, Troyes will probably consider their start a successful one and will try and build on that. They won`t have any noticeable missings coming into this game.
Nice are yet to record their first competitive win of the season, but despite that they managed to progress against Ajax. St. Etienne game was the one to forget, but it came only three days after a hard trip to Amsterdam. Also, St. Etienne has never been an easy place to get points, while Nice at home is a completely different story. Troyes will surely put up a fight, but the are one of the weakest teams in the league and the difference in quality here is considerable. Napoli game will probably be somewhere in the back of players` minds, but they will have enough time to focus on it and they can`t neglect domestic championship. It is important for them to remain focused in this season and not fall into mediocrity, and they should be winning these kind of matches if they want to remain among top teams. Nice had enough time to rest, they will have enough time to rest before Napoli game and they should bounce back with a win in their premier home match of the season. Troyes are a much weaker team and anything except convincing victory by Nice would be a surprise. Therefore, I will back hosts with a -1 asian handicap.