The international break could have been exactly what St Etienne and Lorient needed, seeing that both teams were kind of a let down for their fans lately.
Both clubs struggled with injuries of important players, injuries that prevented them from achieving full potential.
In St Etienne’s case for example forward Brandao was injured for more than a month and coach Galtier had no other choice but to use out of form Erdinc. The Turkish international led everyone to exasperation by missing even the easiest of chances.
But now Erdinc is injured and possible replacement Hamouma suspended. In these circumstances Brandao’s return comes exactly at the right moment.
They will be able to get back to the old days, when the work of offensive midfielders Tabanou, Cohade, Mollo corroborated with Brandao’s presence could open up absolutely any defense in this league, more than once…
At the back however St Etienne do not look as solid as before. Central defender Perrin is still very doubtful and will most probably miss. Young Zouma is beginning to be a disappointment, with many missed or precipitated interventions.
Left back Brison is still injured so Ghoulam will continue to take his place. I really like Ghoulam but he confirmed why no big clubs took the initiative and showed any interest in him. He needs to be more mature and to perfect his defensive skills.
Lorient are going through rough times at the moment. Being plagued by injuries ever since the season started was the main reason for the bad run. Happily for them things are starting to improve, with most important players returning one by one from injury.
Last round we’ve seen striker Aliadiere making his comeback and this round midfielder Traore should return. Aliadiere and Traore are Lorient’s most important offensive players.
Whenever they two could be used at the same time Lorient were able to apply tremendous pressure on opponents and the number of attempts at goal skyrocketed.
Other good news is that Lorient found some consistency in the central midfield. Due to injuries, players were changed from one round to another, but as of late Lautoa and Couatadeur are fully fit and obvious choices, so they gained form and confidence.
However the defense is still suffering, especially with defender Kone being injured and now fullback Gassama suspended.
With Brandao and Traore making their comebacks and boosting the offensive departments of their teams, this game should have some goals in it. Playing styles and defensive problems are factors for a bet on goals with medium confidence. Over 2.5 goals at the price of 1.98 could prove to be both a safe and valuable bet.