Disappointing performance from St Etienne in the midweek Europa League game against Qarabag (finished 1-1). Once again St Etienne showed how soft they are in the attacking department.
They rely exclusively on attacking midfielders both for creating chances and converting them. Since midfielder Corgnet returned from injury many of St Etienne’s attempts are long range shots from outside the box. The lone striker is constantly waiting for a lucky rebound in order to push the ball inside the net.
They are easily able to control the midfield against most opponents but this is not of much use since they can’t finish their chances. As a result they’ve become draw specialists and shared the points with opponents in the last 3 games.
Fullback Tabanou was rested in the midweek game and now he should take back his place in the lineup, same as attacking midfielder Corgnet.
Lyon had to play against a very compact defense last round as opponents Bastia used many players for the defensive phase.
Lyon dominated but had difficulties in finding the necessary space for entering inside the box. Forward Fekir was suspended and this diminished a bit the offensive potential. He will return this round and help Lyon be more incisive.
Central midfielders Gourcuff and Grenier are still out injured.
This should be a very balanced game, played mostly in midfield, with hosts imposing the rythm and applying moderate pressure. But given St Etienne’s offensive impotence Lyon should be able to resist and reject all incoming danger. Hosts have a solid defense and Lyon may not be able to strike on counters, regardless the talented forwards and the good form.
UPDATE: No surprises in the squads
St Etienne: Ruffier, Moulin, Valette – Baysse, Brison, Perrin, F.Pogba, Bayal, Tabanou, Théophile-Catherine – Lemoine, Clément, Cohade, Diomandé, Corgnet – Gradel, Hamouma, Mollo, Monnet-Paquet, van Wolfswinkel
Lyon: A.Lopes, Gorgelin – Jallet, Umtiti, Bedimo, B.Koné, M.Dabo, Bisevac – Tolisso, Gonalons, Ferri, Mvuemba, Malbranque, Ghezzal – M.Yattara, Fekir, Njie, Lacazette, Benzia