St Etienne preview
- Les Verts have only lost twice all season but a collection of draws (6) have definitely stalled their progress this year.
- Striker Robert Beric and the wide duo of Oussama Tannane & Romain Hamouma are all ruled out. Midfielder Fabien Lemoine is their only other definite casualty.
- Sainte are a difficult side to predict and are capable of literally anything. Their gameplan and tactics regularly change and their offense can especially fire really hot or cold.
- Unbeaten at Le Stade Geoffroy Guichard this season and this is never an easy place to visit.
- Lucien Favre’s men lost for the first time this season away against Caen (0-1) last time out. This was a surprising defeat any many people are already saying it’s the start of their bubble bursting.
- Key striker Mario Balotelli is suspended for this game which is a massive blow. The Italian has been in great form this season scoring a lot of goals and his presence will be missed.
- The rest of the Nice squad is in relatively good condition although centre back Paul Baysse continues to miss out with injury. Central midfielder Jean Michel Seri was rated doubtful with a shoulder injury, but is included in the squad.
Conclusion & betting analysis
- Both sides are missing attacking playmakers so this might be a pretty tight game of football. Both have fairly solid defences and will probably rely on this strength to help get a result here.
- The hosts are surprisingly short in the betting, only just over the 2.0 mark which looks a bit on the skinny side. Nice are no mugs and are still capable of getting a positive outcome, even without Mario Balotelli.
- I’d be surprised if this was an open contest and I expect chances to be at a premium. Neither will be easy to break down and one goal either way could be enough to claim victory.
- Nothing really interests me from a betting point of view here and this is a possible 0-0 contender. I expect plenty of commitment and good tactics on show, but entertainment will probably be on the low side.
Recommended bet: None