Although they used the best team possible St Etienne lost their Europa League game in Turkey away at Karabukspor. They controlled the game but the lack of European experience and the relaxation that comes naturally in case of two legs encounters played a big part in the final outcome.
St Etienne could be categorized as slow starters but once they hit the gas there’s nothing stopping them, just like it happened last week when they were 1-0 down at half time and easily won 3-1 in the end (against Reims).
St Etienne’s major weakness is the left flank where Tabanou was converted from winger to fullback. He can try and repress the offensive instincts but sooner or later in the game Tabanou loses it, adventures upfront and forgets about defending.
The season is still in the early stage but at the moment St Etienne look very solid and if Tabanou will manage to adapt they can become real contenders for a Champions League position.
During the last 3 seasons Rennes’ number of fans diminished dramatically. Poor performances corroborated with an arrogant attitude coming from exponential players (like former captain M’Vila) drove people away from the stadium. Now Rennes are set to win back their fans and what better way of doing so than playing pure offensive football.
Last week it worked for them but only because opponents Evian have a disastrous defensive phase. Unforced errors from Evian’s central defenders helped Rennes score at least 4 of their goals (Rennes on 6-2).
Although there was good movement, especially from striker Toivonen, the 6-2 victory is misleading as Rennes are nothing special, at least not yet.
Central defender Mexer scored twice but in defense once again made a couple of errors and had bad placement. He should have been a striker as it seems he is better at scoring goals than defending.
Winger Grosicki suffered an injury last round and is doubtful. Good news for St Etienne as he would have been the direct opponent for Tabanou. Replacement Ntep is a promising player with good ball control but still needs experience.
St Etienne should easily control this game and find the net at least once regardless Rennes’ astronomical level of confidence. St Etienne -0.75 at 2.02
UPDATE: No surprises in the squads
St Etienne: Ruffier, J.Moulin – Perrin, Bayal, Brison, F.Pogba, Théophile-Catherine, Nyemeck – Cohade, Lemoine, Clément, Corgnet, Diomandé – Tabanou, Erding, Hamouma, Gradel, van Wolfswinkel, Monnet-Paquet, Mollo
Rennes: Costil, Sorin – S.Moreira, Armand, Danzé, Hountondji, M’Bengue, Mexer – Pajot, Prcic, Doucouré, G.Fernandes, Konradsen – P.Henrique, Toivonen, Ntep, Hosiner, Saïd