Although they qualified St Etienne struggled in the midweek Cup game at Lorient (won 1-0). Coach Galtier used all regular players and considering that St Etienne were also involved in Europa League fatigue could appear and with this being the last game of the year St Etienne may not push that hard.
Combining the loose attitude with an already crippled offense and we may get one of the most boring sides in Ligue1.
Fortunately for St Etienne they have a solid defense and are very organized and it’s really difficult to find any open spaces and get inside their penalty box.
Hosts will miss central midfielder Diomande but he would have been only a substitute since Clement is back after injury.
Evian once again conceded 3 times last round (lost 3-2 at Reims). Lately the defensive phase is at an amateurish level, with sluggish interventions, missed clearances, wrong positioning and lack of communication.
Evian have huge problems defending against simple long balls inside the penalty box. All defenders rush to touch the ball, bump into one another and young keeper Hansen is left alone to face the opponent.
The defensive problems will be even more visible this round as central defender Cambon will miss through suspension.
Both of Evian’s goals last round came following long balls inside the box. Lately their entire offensive phase evolves around Wass either for serving the long balls or receiving them.
Evian aren’t capable of holding prolonged possession and pushing the game in the other half, especially away from home and up against valuable opponents. This game should have only one direction and regardless hosts’ lack of efficiency upfront they should find the net at least once given Evian’s defensive problems. St Etienne -1 at 1.89.
UPDATE: St Etienne welcome back forward Saint-Maximin after injury. Guests’ defender Mesnah will return after injury.
St Etienne: Ruffier, Moulin – Brison, L.Perrin, F.Pogba, Tabanou, Théophile-Catherine, Baysse – Lemoine, Clément, Cohade, Diomandé – Corgnet, Gradel, Mollo, Monnet-Paquet, Van Wolfswinkel, Hamouma, Saint-Maximin
Evian: B.Leroy, Durand – Abdallah, Juelsgaard, Sabaly, Jon.Mensah, Mongongu, A.Angoula – Sorlin, Tejeda, Ninkovic, Barbosa, Thomasson, Wass – Sougou, Nielsen, Bruno, Nsikulu