Rennes suffered a shameful and unexpected defeat last round away at Bordeaux (lost 4-0). They have so much offensive talent available (Ntep, Grosicki, Dembele, Boga) but for some reasons coach Courbis decided to start only with Ntep in the lineup.
The other three mentioned players entered in second half, but Bordeaux were already in the lead and it was easy for them to speculate on counters. Due to previous experiences (in 2016 Rennes came back twice from 2-0) Rennes got very offensive and pushy in second half forgetting all about defense.
Hopefully things will get back to normal this round and coach COurbis will find some kind of balance from the beginning.
Rennes will miss defender Diagne who is suspended, but he would have been only on the bench anyway.
St Etienne made a decent game last round against PSG (lost 2-0). Although they haven’t scored, St Etienne managed to create a couple of dangerous opportunities and gave headaches to a much more valuable opponent.
Fullback Tabanou returned recently from England and it seems that coach Galtier changed strategy. Fullbacks Tabanou and Melcuit were very involved in the offensive phase and advanced frequently. St Etienne have experienced central midfielders who always cover, so the new strategy won’t endanger the defense.
Once St Etienne will master the new strategy a series of positive results should follow, especially after winger Hamouma will return from injury.
There is no doubt this will be a very difficult game for both sides. Trying to make amends for the defeat last week Rennes may be more determined than usual. The problem is St Etienne can be very compact and surprise on counters, and Rennes’ coach Courbis can’t be trusted for finding the best formula.
UPDATE: Rennes welcome back defender Mendes. St Etienne will have to do without central defender Perrin
Rennes: Sorin, Costil – Armand, Pedro Mendes, Danzé, M’Bengue, Mexer, Zeffane, Moreira – André, Quintero, Fernandes, Sylla – Ntep, Sio, Boga, Dembélé, Grosicki
St Etienne: Ruffier, Moulin – Brison, Théophile-Catherine, Bayal Sall, F.Pogba, Tabanou, Malcuit, Dekoke – Pajot, Clément, Corgnet, Cohade, Lemoine, Selnaes – Monnet-Paquet, Söderlund, Bahebeck, Roux