It was only a matter of time until positive results would stop, considering that St Etienne were far from impressive in performances. Last round they got heavily outplayed away at rivals Lyon and the final result (Lyon won 3-0) was fully justified by teams’ performances.
St Etienne have two major weaknesses they need to address. First of all they need to strengthen the defensive phase and most importantly they need to focus on defending the flanks. Most of the goals against St Etienne were scored after opponents easily carried actions down the wings.
Secondly they need to be more courageous and efficient when applying the finishing touch. They get agitated when approaching opponents’ penalty box and rely entirely on long range attempts, instead of taking the game further.
Bad news for St Etienne as they will miss striker Beric and midfielders Pogba and Lemoine, all of them injured.
Since attacking midfielder Alessandrini got injured Marseille couldn’t create so many scoring opportunities as they used to. There are a couple of talented players usually on the bench (Ocampos, Barrada) but they seem out-of-form, low on confidence and are yet to build playing relations with teammates.
Luckily for Marseille Alessandrini resumed collective training this week and should be in the lineup. Marseille will also welcome back defender N’Koulou and midfielders Diarra and Cabella who were suspended last round.
Marseille lacked consistency so far and proved to be one of the most unpredictable sides in the tournament. You never know what to expect of them, never know if striker Batshuayi will miss alone with the keeper (again…) or if he will find the net from an impossible position.
Guests will have to do without fullback Mendy who is suspended.
It is a shame to see such a talented squad like Marseille drown in mediocrity and until they will show signs of form and confidence it is best to avoid their games.
UPDATE: Hosts will have to do with numerous absences: Théophile-Catherine, J.Bamba, Bayal Sall, Beric, Pogba and Lemoine. Bad news for Marseille as Alessandrini will once again sit out.
St Etienne: Ruffier, Moulin – Polomat, Brison, L.Perrin, Clerc, Assou-Ekotto, Karamoko – Pajot, Clément, Corgnet, Cohade, Eysseric, Diomandé – Bahebeck, Roux, Maupay, Hamouma, Monnet-Paquet
Marseille: S.Mandanda, Y.Pelé – B.Dja Djédjé, Manquillo, Nkoulou, Rekik, Rolando, Sparagna – Barrada, Cabella, L.Diarra, Isla, Romao, B.Sarr, L.Silva, Zambo Anguissa – Batshuayi, Nkoudou, Ocampos