Lens made a decent game last round away at Bastia (finished 1-1). Opponents’ offensive power was nothing out-of-common, but even so Lens defended with confidence and didn’t hesitate to threat on counters.
Lens rely a lot on actions build on flanks where they have good levels of speed and creativity. Wingers and the lone striker have impressive skills and look able to destabilize many Ligue1 defenses.
The lone striker is also very active and always provides support for wingers in building up play. There is constant competition for the striker position assuring that players are eager to give their best.
Lens don’t have any new injuries or suspensions so they are able to use the same team.
In-spite using the best team possible St Etienne barely got away with 1 point from their Europa League encounter with Qarabag. Only fullbacks Tabanou and Theophile – Catherine and forward van Wolfswinkel were rested. All of them should return against Lens.
Their midfield is simply bursting with talent but something is just not clicking.
First of all striker Erdinc upfront plays around with chances that teammates struggle hard to create. Newly arrived forward van Wolfswinkel didn’t play that much and is yet to prove his skills.
Secondly defending the flanks is really tough task for St Etienne whose fullbacks are way more active and capable in the offensive phase.
Winger Hamouma missed the midweek Europa League game and is also doubtful ahead of this encounter.
In-spite playing at home Lens will surely invite St Etienne to take control of the game. Remains to be seen if guests will fall into the trap and be even more vulnerable on the flanks against a team specialized in building on the wings.
UPDATE: St Etienne are still without winger Hamouma and defenders Theophile-Catherine and Perrin.
Lens: Belon, Ru.Riou – Ab.Ba, Baal, Cavaré, Gbamin, Kantari, Landre – Bourigeaud, Cyprien, El Jadeyaoui, Le Moigne, Nomenjanahary, Valdivia – Chavarria, Ad.Coulibaly, Guillaume, Ndiaye, Touzghar
St Etienne: Ruffier, Moulin – Bayal, Brison, F.Pogba, Clerc, Tabanou, Nyemeck – Cohade, Lemoine, Clément, I.Diomandé – Erding, Monnet-Paquet, Mollo, Saint-Maximin, Gradel, Van Wolfswinkel