Poor display from St Etienne last week away at PSG (lost 4-1), and if anybody had doubts they just had proof St Etienne aren’t Champions League material.
This season coach Galtier decided to start with newly arrived Eysseric in the play-maker position. Eysseric is a talented player, but he is more comfortable on the flank and hasn’t adapted yet at St Etienne. As a result St Etienne are forced to rely only on wingers for creating chances.
The ones trying to apply the finishing touch are also new to the squad (strikers Roux and Beric), and they are scared to keep the ball longer than 2 seconds and don’t seem to be getting along with teammates.
St Etienne have problems in defending the flanks, especially the right side where fullback Clerc is often outplayed. In-fact St Etienne have huge headaches when they are up against teams who focus on building actions down the wings.
Hosts will have to do without suspended central midfielder Lemoine (who is actually the only one covering for fullback Clerc).
After a convincing stat of the season Reims dropped form all of a sudden. Ever since defender Mandi got injured (team captain) Reims lack confidence and are reluctant to advance like they used to. In the midweek Cup game coach Guegan rested only a few players ( defender Signorino and midfielders Bulot and De Preville ) but Reims were once again disappointing (they could have been low on motivation).
On paper Reims should have improved in the attacking phase since talented winger Diego recovered from injury a few rounds ago. The three attacking midfielders Diego, Bulot and De Preville are all agile players with good ball control skills and vision, and it should be only a matter of time until Reims regain confidence and start scoring again (haven’t found the net in the last 3 rounds)
Great news for Reims as captain Mandi resumed collective training and may start this round. Central midfielder Devaux will also return after fulfilling his suspension in the Cup game.
St Etienne are far from convincing and never succeed in opening up opponents and prefer long range attempts instead. Reims are pretty compact and with a confidence boost they could always surprise St Etienne on counters and outplay them on flanks. Reims +0.75 at 2.08
UPDATE: Bad news for St Etienne as they will have to do without defenders Sall and Brison and key winger Hamouma. Reims will once again miss defender Mandi.
St Etienne: Ruffier, Moulin – Polomat, F.Pogba, L.Perrin, Malcuit, Clerc, Assou-Ekotto – Pajot, Clément, Cohade, Eysseric, Diomandé – Bahebeck, Roux, Maupay, Monnet-Paquet, Beric
Reims: Agassa, Placide – Bourillon, Signorino, Tacalfred, Ha.Traoré, At.Turan, Weber – Bulot, Devaux, Fortes, Oniangue, Mfulu, Peuget, Diego – Charbonnier, De Preville, Kyei, Siebatcheu