It was a miracle that St Etienne haven’t conceded last round. They got an early red card that made them focus solely on the defense and agglomerate in own half.
Upfront coach Galtier inexplicably started with out of form Erdinc and left Brandao on the bench. Erdinc is a talented player, I don’t argue with that, but so far this season is one of his worst in France.
I don’t think Erdinc even touched the ball for the entire hour he played. He was always running parallel with the ball, and if by any chance he somehow touched it, possession was quickly lost.
Coach Galtier is a very stubborn man and also appears to have a predilection for Erdinc, that’s why I see the Turk starting again.
There are many skilled midfielders at St Etienne but looks like the formula preferred by Galtier is making players uncomfortable and prevents them from achieving full potential. For example, lately Tabanou and Corgnet have been undisputed regulars, when instead playing relations between Mollo or Cohade and the rest of teammates are at higher levels and could boost the team offensively.
Central midfielder Lemoine will return after suspensions, but his place on the sidelines will be taken by central defender Zouma (suspended).
There’s a clear improvement when it comes to Lyon’s playing style and confidence. All major players are available once again. Lyon suffered a lot because of injuries, one by one key players visited the physio room and got a mini vacation. The defense was hit the most and Lyon conceded in almost every game. Now everyone is back and ready for action.
The only one sitting out is keeper Lopes. But even first choice keeper Vercoutre will return after a long injury. He may not start but defenders like Bedimo, Umtiti, Bisevac, Dabo, Lopes or Kone are more than capable of helping keep a clean sheet.
Gomis upfront is the only one dragging the team back, but hopefully against St Etienne’s fragile defense he could create some danger.
It is really exciting to see Lyon back in confidence and with high hopes. Defense and midfield look really good and only if they will be able to sell Gomis in the winter break and bring in a more dedicated player, Lyon could easily get an European place.
The odds on St Etienne are a joke, a bad one I may add. But we can turn it around and make the joke be on the bookies. Lyon +0.5 at 1.79 won’t give you any emotions and will bring in some decent profit.