France Ligue 1 – St Etienne v Toulouse Preview (28/8/16)

ASSE-TFC

St Etienne preview

Les Verts could be quite tired heading into this fixture. They played in the Europa League midweek against Beitar Jerusalem, prevailing 1-0 on aggregate thanks to a second leg stalemate. They had to play all of the second half with 10 men and really grind out a result. Sainte have started the season alright and will be pleased to make the group stages of the Europa League. But they've suffered a ton of injuries and a lot of guys are affected in some way. They really need the upcoming international break to get certain players back fit. So far, it hasn’t affected them too much and I was actually quite impressed how they beat Montpellier last week. Bit it might be they are running on fumes come the second half here.

Toulouse preview

It looks like TFC have carried the momentum they had and the end of last season straight into this campaign. Pascal Dupraz’s men have four points after two games and totally hammered Bordeaux last week 4-1. On paper, this certainly isn’t a particularly talented group of players, but Dupraz has a way of getting the most out of everyone. There’s a great team spirit , determination and emotional drive within the squad. Key striker Martin Braithwaite is rated doubtful because of injury, but should suit up. The team generally seems quite settled and should be bubbling with confidence after last week’s win. In their only previous away game TFC drew 0-0 at Marseille and it will be interesting to see what sort of tactical approach the manager uses today.

Conclusion & betting analysis

This fixture ended 0-0 last season but only thanks to the heroics of Sainte goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier. He made a ton of great saves in that match so I’m sure Toulouse would love to gain some revenge today. It looks like a great time to be facing Les Verts. The hosts could be a bit flat, tired and maybe lacking a number of regular starters. So I don’t think Toulouse will suffer defeat, but I respect Sainte’s home record enough not to bet on this outcome. My feeling is that this will also be an open contest, in a similar way to how Sainte vs Montpellier was last weekend. But it’s going to be a really hot afternoon, the hosts might not have much in the tank and it’d probably be too dangerous to back over 2.25. So this is another match I’ll leave alone.

Prediction: 1-2
Recommended bet: None