In spite of the wrong step they made, draw away at Evian, St Etienne is still one of the most in-form teams in Ligue1.
The upper half of the team is just exceptional. Guilavogui, Cohade and Lemoine are perfect in the middle. Thanks to their speed and talent St Etienne be superior to many teams in this league.
Cohade managed to adapt in the center, after being used mostly as a right winger during his Valenciennes’ days (he’ll play against his former team now), and is now achieving full potential.
On the wings Hamouma and Aubameyang can give headaches to all Ligue 1 defenders. They provide vital assists for either Gradel or Brandao.
It is a shame that coach Galtier isn’t able to use all these players at once, but you can’t have only offensive minded players on the field.
The bad part however starts when we look at their defense. They aren’t able to resist pressure and as a consequence playing on counters is out of the question. In order to avoid that, they try to keep the ball as long as possible in the midfield, but their only human and sooner or later fatigue is obvious. This is what happened last round away at Evian.
On the other hand we have Valenciennes who are doing quite good. Their game relies mostly on actions coming from the flanks (Dossevi and Danic), while Le Tallec is a lone striker in the center. The latter was transferred in the summer from relegated Auxerre and it was a great move for the club.
Upfront they are capable of carrying fast paced actions, but at the back they have one of the worst defenses. It is almost a paradox as their defensive players have skills and the chemistry is there for sure. Maybe confidence is what they lack.
The defensive midfielders make great efforts to support the shaky defense. But now Ducourtioux is suspended and his replacement Gomis doesn’t have the skills to fill that hole.
Though game for Valenciennes, especially since St Etienne are eager to get back on winning days
This game will be sure actions packed and fans should see a couple of goals, more for St Etienne of course.