St Etienne were just outstanding last round at Valenciennes. I expected a win from them, but not clear domination and total control, especially with striker Brandao injured.
The only thing bothering St Etienne at the moment is the exclusion from Europa League. They only get to watch on TV how other French teams are singing La Marseillaise all around Europe. But that only makes them angrier and more determined.
There’s no bypassing St Etienne’s defense, no matter who the opponents are. There’s a high level of lucidity and precision in every single tackle and the power of anticipation helps them stay one step ahead of the opponent.
In center midfield Lemoine and Clement successfully take part on both the defensive and the offensive phase, being in the same time leaders (the brain of the team).
On the wings Tabanou (arrived this season from Toulouse) is yet to find a rhythm, but they’ve brought in Mollo (played for them last season) who can successfully replace him. Besides them, they have a bunch of talented players, Corgnet, Hamouma, Cohade, fast guys with great ball control.
Only upfront newly transferred Erding seems out of his element at the moment. He struggled hard last round to score but always missed the target. Seeing that Brandao is still out, once again St Etienne will rely on the wingers for making the difference and delivering the goals.
Opponents Toulouse surprisingly got away with 1 point last round. It is not that they managed to make a good game, but rather their opponents Marseille had mind trips (probably Champions League) and missed chances on conveyor belt. One by one Gignac, Valbuena and Payet couldn’t find an almost empty net as their attempts went outside the stadium.
But let’s get back to Toulouse. It seems that forward Ben Basat is still injured, meaning that Toulouse will have to continue using newly arrived Braithwaite upfront.
Now, without trying to disrespect him or anything, he’s been a disaster ever since he came at Toulouse. He seemed to be such a talented young player while at Esbjerg in Denmark, but when he transferred all we could see was a weird haircut…
Another summer signing Trejo is yet to adapt and build playing relations with teammates. Trejo is only visible when attempting weak and imprecise shoots from outside the box.
Wingers Sylla and Ninkov try to compensate for the lack of proper offensive players, so they advance a lot, attempting to infiltrate the box. Sylla has speed as his attribute but unfortunately he’s far from solid on his feet and easily loses balance at the first contact. On the other side Ninkov is more solid, but slow and has little to no shooting power.
The defense is ok, even if they just changed the system this season and are using 3 defenders instead of 4. However due to the reduced capabilities of teammates there can be constant pressure on Toulouse’s defense, and in such conditions everyone cracks.
At 1.86 the odds for St Etienne to win are pretty high. If this would be a different league, you’d probably get somewhere around 1.6 for home win, so I suggest you take it before it heavily drops.