Although St Etienne held more possession they struggled to create real scoring opportunities last round away at Caen (ended up losing 1-0).
St Etienne are above the average Ligue1 level but at the moment there are problems in all departments. Coach Galtier can’t decide who to pick between strikers Roux and Beric because both of them are out-of-form and uninspired.
Recently coach Galtier started preferring Eysseric to Corgnet for the play-maker role. With Corgnet in the lineup St Etienne were able to push the game forward by relying on long range attempts. They were trying their luck from all possible positions and forwards were in constant alert and used to strike on rebound. But now with Eysseric in the play-maker position St Etienne have a new strategy that isn’t really paying off. They try to build actions in speed mostly down the wings with Eysseric always there to engage in triangles. Unfortunately he only arrived this summer, chemistry is low and he is not really accustomed with being the link between wingers.
Gazelec Ajaccio fought really hard for the point they won last round against Toulouse (finished 1-1). Ajaccio were under constant domination but it was a pleasant surprise to see them speculating on counters.
It was the first time this season when experienced striker Pujol found the net, and also the first game this season when Gazelec Ajaccio scored twice. At 35 Pujol isn’t getting any younger but he is still a dangerous opponent and the 2nd best Ligue1 scorer in activity (after Ibrahimovic).
Since midfielder Larbi returned from injury Ajaccio look upgraded in the attacking phase, their game has a better flow and now they are capable of taking opponents by surprise through fast paced actions.
Guests will have to do without central defender Filippi and midfielder Ducourtioux, both of them suspended
St Etienne definitely have more resource but at the moment they are simply not clicking. If Ajaccio will perform like they did last round (attacking-wise) they could get away with a point.
UPDATE: Hosts will miss midfielders Pogba and Bahebeck who are injured. Midfielder Corgnet and Clement were left outside the squad.
St Etienne: Ruffier, Moulin – L.Perrin, Bayal Sall, Clerc, Brison, Polomat, Assou-Ekotto, Karamoko – Pajot, Eysseric, Lemoine, Pinheiro, Diomandé – Roux, Maupay, Monnet-Paquet, Hamouma, Beric
Gazelec Ajaccio: Maury, Goda – Coeff, Al.Touré, Bréchet, Mangane, P.Martinez, Sylla – Poggi, Djokovic, Le Moigne, Youga, Larbi – Mayi, Pujol, Zoua, Tshibumbu, Boutaïb