Nantes have been doing great recently and the 5th position in the table is fully deserved.
The defense is one of the best in Ligue1 with only 8 goals conceded so far. Central defenders Vizcarrondo and Djilobodji are solid and always in alert, both when it comes to open play and set pieces. Their form skyrocketed recently as they even started scoring goals (Vizcarrondo scored last round away at Caen).
It’s going to be a bit harder for Nantes this round seeing they will have to do without defensive midfielders Gomis and Hansen (suspended). Both of them are extremely important as they represent the first line of defense. In these conditions coach Der Zakarian will be forced to start in a more offensive formula.
Upfront Nantes improved considerably in comparison to last months. Play-maker Veretout is full of confidence at the moment and delivers assists on a conveyor belt, while forward Bammou and winger Gakpe are very active and the chemistry between them increased.
Last round St Etienne were in control for most of the game against Monaco but they failed to take all points (finished 1-1).
They moved the ball around a lot in midfield but lacked the inspiration to deliver the key pass that could make the difference. This actually seems to be St Etienne’s major problem. They have talented and valuable midfielders but everyone seems to be in a standstill and creativity is at low levels.
There are also difficulties when trying to apply the finishing touch. Strikers Erdinc (will miss this round due to injury) and van Wolfswinkel aren’t constant for the entire 90 minutes and have only small periods of intense activity.
St Etienne will welcome back fullback Clerc and midfielder Corgnet after injury.
Nantes are more confident in this moment but St Etienne have a valuable squad with players that can always make the difference through individual efforts. There are good chances for both sides to neutralize each-other and share the points in the end.
UPDATE: Guests are still without fullback Clerc who hasn’t recovered yet
Nantes: Dupé, Ré.Riou – Alhadhur, I.Cissokho, Veigneau, Djilobodji, Vizcarrondo, Walongwa – Bedoya, Bessat, Deaux, Nkoudou, Veretout – Audel, Bammou, I.Bangoura, Gakpé, Shechter, Aristeguieta
St Etienne: Ruffier, J.Moulin – Baysse, Brison, Perrin, F.Pogba, Bayal, Tabanou, Théophile-Catherine –Lemoine, Clément, Cohade – Corgnet, Gradel, Hamouma, Mollo, Monnet-Paquet, Van Wolfswinkel