One way or another St Etienne managed to win last round away at a depleted Nice (1-0). It must have been really painful for all fans to see the team cornered by a bunch of reserve players (Nice had many absences).
St Etienne were forced to use out-of-form Erdinc upfront. He scored but that doesn’t mean he was convincing or picked up any kind of rhythm… Although not obvious just by looking at recent results, St Etienne only perform at full parameters in midfield.
Defensive blunders are by now a common thing in St Etienne’s play. Especially fullbacks can often be caught off guard. Fullback Brison returned last round after a long injury, he played only 10 mins but as a winger and not as a fullback.
Upfront St Etienne will welcome back striker Brandao after being suspended last round. With Brandao St Etienne look better offensively, but nowadays poor Brandao never gets the chance to finish a game. He is always substituted somewhere around min 60 in favor of wasteful Erdinc.
Hosts strongest part is attacking the flanks where wingers Hamouma and Tabanou are in top form. Their actions on the sides often end up in incursions inside the box or decisive assists for Brandao.
Reims were uncommonly loose in the defense last round against PSG. Considering the name of the opponent I would have thought Reims would keep it tighter than ever at the back, but it was the other way around.
For some reasons unknown to me, coach Fournier started with central defender Fofana instead of Weber. Weber was until now an undisputed regular in central defense and to be honest there are no comparison terms between him and Fofana. The latter did so many errors against PSG I lost track of them.
Reims’ brain, the 3 central midfielders Albaek (Oniangue) – Krychowiak – Devaux were more offensive than usual and neglected the defensive tasks (which is why central defender Fofana was under so huge pressure).
Reims created a couple of chances and were really unlucky not to score (even missed a penalty). Reims were already very dangerous on the sides, and adding to that the new offensive mentality of the 3 central midfielders they should start scoring more goals.
It’s nothing sure yet, but according to latest reports winger Diego could return after being sidelined for most of the season so far because of injury.
We do not get to see many open games in Ligue1 but this should be one of those rare cases. With Brandao back, hosts surely have the power to open up a defense that receives less help than usual. On the other side, Reims’ new offensive mentality with emphasis on the wings (where St Etienne have defensive issues) guarantees guests will net at least once.
At the price of 2.19 the value on over 2.5 goals is just amazing.