In-spite missing four important players Reims cruised past minnows St Maur Lusi in the French Cup (won 3-1).
Lately Reims have been involved in high scoring games but things will change a bit for a short period of time. At the moment Reims miss a couple of players who are very active in the offensive phase: winger Moukandjo, fullback Mandi, midfielder Oniangue and winger Fortes, all of them on international duty at African Cup of Nations.
Reims do have decent replacement but the overall offensive strength is heavily reduced. Maybe now they will be concentrating more on the defensive phase and stop giving away so many spaces as it happened lately.
Opponents St Etienne struggled against Ligue2 side Nancy and managed to win only in extra time (won 1-0). Their major problem remains the offensive inefficiency. Midfielders are very active and create enough opportunities but the lone striker (either van Wolfswinkel or Erdinc) always slows down the play and misses the target.
Unfortunately there are no rumors of St Etienne being interested in transferring-in a striker, so most likely they will continue to struggle offensively until the end of the season. It appears that St Etienne play in numerical inferiority most their games as midfielders must also do the striker’s duty.
Because of Reims’ absences and St Etienne’s lack of attacking strength this game will be played mostly in midfield both with sides neutralizing one-another and waiting for an unforced mistake that may never come.
UPDATE: Guests will miss Pogba, Gradel and Diomandé who are at the African Cup of Nations.
Reims: Agassa, Placide – Conte, Mfulu, Mavinga, Roberge, Signorino, Weber, Tacalfred – Bourillon, Devaux, C.Glombard, Diego, Peuget – Charbonnier, Courtet, De Préville, Ngog
St Etienne: Ruffier, Moulin – Brison, L.Perrin, Karamoko, Tabanou, Théophile-Catherine, Baysse – Lemoine, Clément, Cohade, Corgnet – Mollo, Monnet-Paquet, Van Wolfswinkel, Hamouma, Saint-Maximin, Erding