St Etienne used the best team possible in the midweek Cup game against 3rd division side Boulougne but still struggled and could only qualify to the next stage after penalties.
St Etienne mildly dominated but opponents created just as many dangerous opportunities as St Etienne and considering the difference in value the performance was really disappointing.
St Etienne have players of extraordinary talent especially in midfield but unfortunately there is no striker with killer instinct ready to apply the finishing touch. Many of their actions go to waste and frustration is easily accumulated.
There is constant pressure on defenders and as a result St Etienne have kept only 1 clean sheet since the season resumed.
Lorient increased rythm in the last rounds but unfortunately they are easy to decipher and smart opponents have no problems in annihilating them. The major strength is the left flank with winger Guerreiro and if he is properly man-marked Guerreiro losses focus and can’t make a difference anymore. The same can be said about forwards Jeannot and Ayew who play an important role in Lorient’s strategy.
A game played mostly in midfield in foreseen with hosts trying to impose the rythm and create tunnels for lone striker van Wolfswinkel (or Erdinc). The only problem is both of St Etienne’s strikers usually have disappointing performances and midfielders are forced to try their luck from outside the penalty box. With hosts’ midfielders concentrated mostly on finding the net Lorient’s key players Guerreiro, Ayew and Jeannot may have enough spaces available to punish on counters.
UPDATE: Hosts will have to do without defenders Sall, Brison and Tabanou. In comparison to last round Lorient will miss fullback Gassama who suffered an injury
St Etienne: Ruffier, Moulin – Théophile-Catherine, L.Perrin, Clerc, Karamoko, Chapuis – Clément, Corgnet, Nguemo, Lemoine, Madianga – Gradel, Erding, Mollo, Hamouma, Monnet-Paquet, Van Wolfswinkel
Lorient: Lecomte, Chaigneau – Pedrinho, Lautoa, Le Goff, Wachter, Bellugou – Barthelmé, Guerreiro, Mostefa, Abdullah, Mesloub, Ndong, Philippoteaux – J.Ayew, Lavigne, Jeannot, Bruno