Disappointing result for Reims last week away at Gazelec Ajaccio. Reims dominated most of the game but couldn’t hold the lead and got equalized late in the second half (finished 2-2).
Coach Guegan changed system in an attempt to improve the defensive phase. Reims played with 5 defenders, but there were still many blunders and players often got caught on the wrong foot. Even captain Mandi made a few errors and once again simply gave the ball away to opponents.
Winger De Preville scored twice but there is no real improvement in Reims’ attacking phase. They rely mostly on continuous pressure and attack in numbers in order to destabilize opponents.
Last round St Etienne often got cornered by rivals Lyon, but defended with lucidity and won thanks to a goal scored by newly arrived striker Soderlund (finished 1-0).
This is not such a good moment for St Etienne who are forced to play without key winger Hamouma. They have decent replacements, but not at the same level. Until Soderlund’s arrival attacking midfielders and wingers played a major role in St Etienne’s strategy. They were the ones initiating actions and also trying to apply the finishing touch. Things may change now, since they seem to have found a skilled striker, but still, Hamouma will continue to remain a key player.
St Etienne used a mixed squad in the midweek Cup game against Ajaccio and need extra time in order to make the difference (won 2-1).
Reims are desperate for points and it can be seen in their playing style. They are very combative, but anxious in the same time. St Etienne have the upper hand here, but it’s hard to trust them with Hamouma injured.
UPDATE: Reims welcome back fullback Turan. St Etienne’s midfielder Tabanou (arrived on loan from Swansea) is in the squad.
Reims: Agassa, Placide – Mandi, Signorino, Tacalfred, H.Traoré, Turan, Weber – Charbonnier, Fortes, Kankava, Oniangué, Mfulu, Peuget, Diego – De Préville, Ngog, Siebatcheu
St Etienne: Ruffier, Moulin – Brison, Perrin, Théophile-Catherine, Polomat, Bayal Sall, F.Pogba, Tabanou – Pajot, Clément, Corgnet, Cohade, Lemoine – Maupay, Monnet-Paquet, Söderlund, Bahebeck, Saint-Louis