St Etienne are still hoping for Champions League football next season, and for about a month now they are more careful and concentrate on not making any defensive mistakes.
They kept a clean sheet in the last 4 rounds, but this attitude also affected the offensive department. Especially in the last two rounds St Etienne struggled to get inside opponents’ penalty box, and relied mostly on set pieces and long balls.
It worked, as St Etienne won both games with a minimum advantage (finished 1-0), but they were lucky to play against opponents without too much firepower (Bastia and Troyes).
Although they lost 1-0, Lorient made an impressive game in the midweek against PSG. They started in a defensive formula, with three central midfielders and only one striker. This system seems to be working for Lorient, especially since they have Jouffre and Moukandjo on the flanks, who are both experienced and highly skilled players.
Lorient never needed much possession in order to find the net, so starting with three defensive minded central midfielders won’t reduce their attacking potential.
Guests don’t have any special motivation for the rest of the season, but they will never get out of the way against determined sides, as we could see in the last two rounds against Caen and Toulouse…
Regardless the good run, St Etienne are running low on inventivity and even courage. Lorient have enough resources to stand ground and speculate on counters through Waris, Moukandjo and Jouffre. LORIENT +1 at 2.10
UPDATE: Hosts welcome back winger Hamouma and fullback Theophile-Catherine after injuries. Lorient will have to do without defenders Rose and Musavu-King and key forward Waris. On the other hand they welcome back captain Lautoa after a long injury. Lorient is a different team without Waris, and in these conditions it is best to skip this game.
St Etienne: Ruffier, Moulin, Theophile-Catherine, Tabanou, Pogba, Perrin, Bayal Sall, Assou-Ekotto, Pajot, Clement, Cohade, Eysseric, Lemoine, Tannane, Roux, Maupay, Hamouma, Monnet-Paquet
Lorient: Lecomte, Chaigneau – Paye, Lautoa, Touré, Bellugou, Guerreiro – Barthelmé, Fofana, Mesloub, Ndong, Mulumba, Abdullah, Jouffre, Philippoteaux – Jeannot, Moukandjo, Traoré