St Etienne made a good game last round away at Evian (won 2-1) and they seem pretty determined to defend the 4th place that will take them to Europa League next season.
The way St Etienne managed to close ranks and reject all incoming actions was very impressive. In-fact opponents didn’t even had one decent shot on target.
Both of St Etienne’s goals came early in the game but they still applied moderate pressure and didn’t let Evian get too close to the penalty box.
Hosts will have to do without a couple of players, midfielders Guilavogui and Cohade and striker Brandao, all of them suspended. But the good news is that none of them started last week. Also central defender Sall suffered an injury against Evian and most likely will miss. But replacement Zouma is a very reliable player, otherwise Chelsea wouldn’t have signed him…
Somehow Montpellier succeeded in winning last week over Toulouse (2-1). Toulouse took the lead very early and only in the final 10 minutes Montpellier managed to score, twice. Considering how the game evolved maybe a draw would have been a fairer result, but the referee thought otherwise and awarded a penalty which made the difference.
Defensively Montpellier were once again disorganized and opponents had plenty of spaces to make maneuvers. It could get even more problematic this round as central defender Hilton suffered and injury and is doubtful.
Recently offensive players Cabella and Niang have been Montepellier’s heart and soul. But they appeared a bit tired last week, even if Cabella scored from penalty. If they won’t increase the rythm Montpellier won’t be able to approach St Etienne’s penalty box, especially with the increased level of organization hosts showed last round. St Etienne -1 at 2.19
UPDATE: St Etienne will have to do without fullback Clerc who suffered an injury. Montpellier welcome back keeper Jourdren after he was suspended last round.
St Etienne: Ruffier, J.Moulin – Trémoulinas, Perrin, Bayal, Brison, K.Zouma, F.Pogba – Corgnet, Lemoine, Clément, Diomandé – Tabanou, Erding, Hamouma, Gradel, Mollo
Montpellier: Pionnier, Jourdren – Bocaly, Congré, El Kaoutari, Deplagne, Jebbour, Assoumin, Saint-Ruf – J.Marveaux, J.Martin, Cabella, Sanson, Stambouli, Ait Fana – Niang, Tinhan, So.Camara, Deza