St Etienne remain weaker in goal as excellent no.1 Ruffier is still sidelined. That makes the team vulnerable in defence. No other automatic starters are missing. St Etienne v Lyon is one of France’s fiercest derbies. The hosts will be able to count on tremendous support. The atmosphere should be excellent. That will push St Etienne to try to win. Virtually all of St Etienne’s games have been close this season, with the vast majority ending either in a draw or a one-goal victory for one of the sides. Another close game is likely here: Lyon are the stronger side but home advantage for St Etienne levels up the situation. A balanced approach is likely. St Etienne will be compelled to try to win at home in this derby clash but are unlikely to go crazy with their attacking play. They’ll be aware of the immense attacking danger that Lyon pose and will try to combat that by defending well.
Lyon are at full strength for this massive derby clash. Diakhaby has returned from injury and should start at centre-back as usual. Lyon have varied their tactics in recent weeks (4-3-3, 4-2-3-1) so it’s hard to know how they will line up. The mood in the camp may be a bit flat after a difficult week. Lyon lost at home to Lille last weekend (1-2) and were then knocked out of the French Cup in extra-time at Marseille in midweek (1-2). Consecutive defeats was hardly ideal preparation. Lyon have to play to win. They’re chasing a top-three position and need 3pts from as many games as possible to close the gap on the current top three (Monaco, Nice, PSG). A balanced approach is likely. As this is a derby clash and St Etienne are the home side the hosts will be only too aware that St Etienne will attack fiercely, pushed by their noisy home supporters. Lyon will need to defend well but will also attack themselves. They’re a naturally attack-minded side so there’s no way they would simply sit back and defend.
Verdict & Prediction
This is a massive derby clash, so St Etienne will be fired-up. Meetings between these two sides are among the most fiercely-contested in France. Expect the players to give maximum effort all over the pitch at all times. There should be a sell-out crowd at Stade Geoffrey-Guichard. The atmosphere should be tremendous. As mentioned before, Lyon are no doubt the better team here, but St Etienne have the advantage of the home ground and this should make things pretty close. I recommend a low stake bet on St Etienne.
Prediction: St Etienne +0.50 Asian Handicap (same as Double Chance)
Odds: 1.81 Pinnacle, SBOBET
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