Both teams come after disappointing results. In midweek St Etienne were eliminated from the Cup by Cannes (4th division) after an exhausting game (lost at penalties), while Lille were defeated at home by Reims last round (lost 2-1).
It must have been painful for St Etienne’s fans to watch their team struggling against minnows Cannes.
[restrict paid=true level=1] St Etienne used a mixed squad, but still players like Brandao, Mollo, Corgnet, Lemoine, Cohade or Sall took part at the humiliation.
A bit of tiredness also accumulated, even if about 6 regular players were fully rested for the game against Lille. The only good part regarding the Cup game is that keeper Ruffier fulfilled his suspension and will be available for the game against Lille.
Out-of-form Erdinc became the uncontested choice for the striker position. As a consequence St Etienne rely mostly on offensive midfielders for converting chances. As a matter of fact winger Hamouma is their top-scorer (7 goals), followed by attacking midfielder Corgnet with 5 goals.
The lack of an in-form and confident striker is St Etienne’s first major problem. Because of this, midfielders need to make huge efforts in every game and they simply collapse in 2nd half as they run out of energy. Once that happens the pressure on defenders is constant and opponents grow wings.
Fullback Clerc is still injured and winger Hamouma is a small doubt (most likely he will make it)
Lille’s bad luck was simply at incredible levels last round. They controlled the game but found themselves 1 goal down late in the 2nd half. The goal was stupid (best word to describe it) as the ball hit Reims’ player in the face after a clearance and bounced in the net. The 2nd goal came from a corner and history was written (Lille lost 2-1).
Even if they conceded twice defensively there’s nothing to reproach them, they were rock solid as usual.
Only upfront they were soft, as expected, mainly because coach Girard is stubborn and continues to start with Martin and leave Rodelin on the bench.
Rodelin is responsible for many of Lille’s points in the 1st part of the season, while Martin is only responsible for lost possession.
Defender Basa had a fever these days, but should make it in time for the game according to latest reports.
This is an important game as both teams are fighting a place in Europe. First half will start slowly and most probably hosts will have the initiative, but with clueless Erdinc upfront the chances for St Etienne to score are very slim.
Late in 2nd half St Etienne will get exhausted (like it often happens) and Lille will replace Martin with Rodelin. I believe the decisive goal will be scored after 70 min and will be for Lille.
Lille +0.25 at the price of 1.86 is definitely a good bet.
There are also another 2 interesting bets that can be taken with low stakes: halftime/fulltime: draw/Lille at 5.50, and halftime/fulltime: St Etienne/draw at 15.00 [/restrict]