Judging by the transfers made Guingamp have improved since last season. Their weakest part last year was the reduced number of chances created per game. Even if at one point they started playing with 2 strikers, Yatabare was the only one really able to create some fuss in opponents’ penalty box.
Now they have transferred-in Danish striker Nielsen from Randers who had an impressive season in Denmark. Midfielder Marveaux also arrived from Newcastle and even if he hadn’t played much over there, at Guingamp he could be an asset.
They have also strengthened the defense by bringing in Danish veteran defender Jacobsen and fullback Baca from Lorient.
Last season Guingamp relied mainly on home games for getting points, especially in the first part of the season when they were fresh (small squad and players easily get tired) and started all games very determined. Most likely they will continue with the same attitude this season as well.
Important midfielder Sankhare received an offer from QPR so his mind may be somewhere else, but anyway he suffered an injury and is doubtful ahead of this game.
Forward Brandao left St Etienne and now they will have to rely only on Erding as the lone striker. The Turk had a bad season and at times whenever he touched the ball he did more harm rather than good. Actions carried through lots of sweat instantly ended when the ball got to Erding.
On the other hand St Etienne have a powerful midfield and can count on it for creating and even finishing actions. Furthermore they improved it by transferring-in winger Monnet-Paquet from Lorient (suspended for this game).
Just like last season there should be plenty of rotation at St Etienne that should assure freshness throughout the entire season, especially in midfield where they have many valuable and versatile players. But in the same time this constant rotation can make players be more selfish in the attempt to retain their places in the lineup.
Odds don’t reflect it, but this should be a very balanced game with neither side willing to take any risks and endanger the start of the season. Most likely scoring opportunities won’t be so abundant.
UPDATE: Midfielders Sankhare (injured) and Diallo (suspended) will miss for Guingamp. St Etienne will miss newly arrived van Wolfswinkel who is injured.
Guingamp: Samassa, Guichard – Jacobsen, Baca, Sorbon, Angoua, Sankoh, Lévêque, Kerbrat – Dos Santos, Giresse, Mathis, S.Marveaux, Beauvue, Schwarz – Alioui, Mu.Yatabaré, Mandanne, Douniama
St Etienne: Ruffier, J.Moulin – Perrin, Bayal, Brison, F.Pogba, Clerc – Corgnet, Cohade, Lemoine, Clément, Diomandé – Tabanou, Erding, Hamouma, Gradel, Mollo, Saint-Maximin