Although they are 3 points above the relegation zone Bastia need all the points they can get as the situation in the lower half of the table is very tight.
After 3 consecutive defeats Bastia felt Ligue2 approaching and increased their efforts. Last week away at Evian they managed an impressive comeback and won 2-1 after being 1-0 down at half time.
It was no continuous pressure but instead Bastia kept a clear mind and successfully took advantage of opponents’ mistakes. Besides the 3 points they also won a bit of confidence that can prove to be vital in the upcoming rounds.
Last week St Etienne emerged victorious after a balanced game against Montpellier and continued their pursuit of the 3rd place in the table (will assure Champions League play-offs).
St Etienne’s playing style is far from impressive and only midfielders’ individual skills are making the difference. Forwards Erdinc and Van van Wolfswinkel can’t be trusted and sometimes even their short passes are far away from the target.
Wingers Hamouma and Gradel are without doubt St Etienne’s most dangerous players and their actions on the flanks are the main source of clear scoring opportunities. When the ball is moved in the center of the field St Etienne rely exclusively on long range attempt as they don’t have the resources to infiltrate inside the penalty box.
Bastia’s fullback Palmieri has a predilection for advancing a lot and taking part in the attacking phase. The battle between winger Hamouma and fullback Palmieri can be the key to winning this game, and it remains to be seen if Bastia can mobilize and manage to cover the open spaces.
UPDATE: Hosts will miss defensive minded players Cahuzac and Squillaci. St Etienne will miss defenders Perrin and Tabanou but welcome back midfielder Lemoine and defender Pogba
Bastia: Areola, Vincensini – D.Diakité, Cioni, Modesto, Palmieri, Marange, Peybernes – Gillet, Romaric, Boudebouz, Danic, F.Ayité – Maboulou, Kamano, Sio, Ongenda, Brandao
St Etienne: Ruffier, Moulin – Brison, Théophile-Catherine, Clerc, Bayal, Baysse, F.Pogba – Clément, Nguemo, Diomandé, Corgnet – Hamouma, Erding, Mollo, Gradel, Monnet-Paquet, van Wolfswinkel