Lille’s performance last round away at Rennes was mediocre at most (Renens won 2-0).
Lille played without a proper play-maker seeing that Lopes is still injured and Marvin Martin is fresh after injury. But even when both of them were available Lille were far from impressive when it came to creating chances and opening up opponents.
Coach Girard simply had enough of this situation and decided to focus fully on the flanks. So wingers Corchia and Mendes were the only ones trying to create some decent opportunities but unfortunately for Lille they failed miserably.
Central midfielders Balmont and Gueye are too defensive minded and their support for the offensive phase consists only in long range attempts. Anyway Balmont is suspended for this game and his place will be taken by Mavuba who was rested last round.
Lille’s defensive power seem to have diminished as nowadays there are more open spaces and defenders are slower and lack anticipation. There are problems especially on the flanks where fullback Beria and Souare can be outplayed without much efforts.
Although they won only by a minimum margin St Etienne heavily dominated last round against Metz (won 1-0). Coach Galtier surprised everyone and started with 17 years old Allan Maximin upfront. His performance was really disappointing but he played for the entire 90 minutes, even if on the bench there were valuable alternatives like Corgnet or van Wolfswinkel. Most likely there are clear instructions to increase Maximin’s market value so we should expect more appearances in the near future, especially when St Etienne are up against opponents from the lower half.
St Etienne have powerful and talented midfielders and as a consequence they are able to impose the rythm and control the midfield in most games. Against Lille who lack an in-form play-maker St Etienne will once again be able to push the game towards opponents’ net. If we also take in consideration Lille’s poor form a bet on St Etienne is simply a must take. St Etienne DNB at 2.26
UPDATE: Lille will have to do without Delaplace (injured) and Balmont (supended). Forward Erding is back after injury but on the other hand St Etienne will miss fullback Clerc, midfielders Cohade and Clement and winger Monnet-Pacquet. Same bet.
Lille: Enyeama, Elana – Béria, Corchia, Sidibé, Souaré, Basa, Kjaer, Rozehnal – Mavuba, I.Gueye, S.Meïté, Mar.Martin, Lopes, Ad.Traoré – Rodelin, Roux, Origi, M.Frey, Mendes
Ruffier, Moulin – Baysse, Brison, Perrin, Pogba, Bayal Sall, Tabanou, Théophile-Catherine – Diomandé, Lemoine, Corgnet – Erding, Gradel, Hamouma, Mollo, Saint-Maximin, Van Wolfswinkel