Even though we could see 2 goals, the encounter between Bordeaux and St Etienne last week was maybe the most boring game of the round (Bordeaux won 2-0). St Etienne moved the ball around in vain as they didn’t had the inspiration to open up any spaces.
Dangerous actions were a rarity, not to mention shots on target…
Creativity is at low levels lately for St Etienne. The only one really impressive in 2014 was winger Hamouma but he was also invisible last round.
At one point against Bordeaux, coach Galtier tried to upgrade the offense by playing with 2 forwards, Brandao and Erdinc. Neither of them is accustomed with playing in a system with 2 forwards, so it didn’t work for St Etienne.
Unfortunately for them, besides the lacking inspiration upfront, St Etienne will also have some defensive problems against Valenciennes.
Defensive midfielder Clement got injured and will miss, while central defender Sall will be suspended. Clement’s usual replacement Diomande is still injured, while Sall’s replacement Zouma transferred at Chelsea. Fullback Ghoulam also left for Napoli.
Pogba or Mignot could feature from the start for St Etienne. Both of them are way under the level needed for the 4th place in Ligue1 (St Etienne are currently 4th).
Valenciennes could have got 1 point away at Marseille in midweek. They only needed to be a bit more courageous. Overall Valenciennes held more possession than Marseille but they lacked a certain spark upfront. Opponents were also very organized and didn’t left too much space for maneuvers. But against St Etienne it may be an entire different story.
Seeing that St Etienne will be without a key defensive midfielder and an important central defender (also without proper replacements), Valenciennes may benefit from more open spaces.
St Etienne’s lack of creativity upfront corroborated with the absences in defense make the odds for home win laughable. On the other hand, Valenciennes +1 at 2.05 is definitely worth some low to medium stakes.
UPDATE: Defender Zouma was sold to Chelsea but will stay at St Etienne (loaned)… He will most likely play against Valenciennes. Same bet, same stakes