France Ligue 1 – St Etienne v Lorient Preview (12/2/17)

St Etienne preview

  • Defeat away against Nice in midweek (0-1) snapped a run of three straight victories. It was also the worst they’ve played in a while, but losing to such a strong team is no shame and Les Verts are still fifth in the table.
  • Christophe Galtier’s men only have a mediocre home record but only one team has managed to beat them here at Le Stade Geoffroy Guichard. A number of draws have stalled their progress but an improved return of 3 wins in 4 here is more the sort of progress they want to be making.
  • With the exception of the strike trio of Beric, Soderlund & Tannane (who always seem injured!), the rest of the squad is effectively available. One or two players are carrying knocks and might not be primed physically. Key goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier also returns, although he might not take the gloves in this fixture.
  • Les Verts have one of the best defensive records in Ligue 1 and their matches average the second least amount of goals out of anyone in the division (just 1.9 per game).

Lorient preview

  • Les Merlus managed to pick up four points from their last two games. I feel like they did remarkably well to only concede one goal against both Lille & Toulouse combined because they rode their luck on numerous occasions.
  • Lorient aren’t known for their defence and no team has conceded more goals than Bernard Casoni’s men. Clean sheets are an absolute rarity.
  • The Brittanny outfit now possess the worst away record in Ligue 1 as well. Their horrible statistics of 1-2-9 make dismal reading, although the one win was at Lille last weekend.
  • Centre back Mickael Ciani, playmaker Sylvain Marveaux and striker Jeremie Aliadiere all miss out. Key man upfront Benjamin Moukandjo has been given more time to recover from his African Nations triumph with Cameroon.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Sainte are the better team and the most probable winners, but look a little bit short around the 1.80 mark. Lorient are an improved outfit and should approach the game full of confidence following a decent week of results.
  • The one bet I did consider was over 2.25 goals. But I’m extremely disappointed to see the odds close to 1.75. This is simply far too low because St Etienne have one of the best defences in Ligue 1 and could easily shut out Lorient if required.
  • If the goal line was over 2 or over 2.25 at a better price then I would probably take a risk. Overall, I do think this will be a fairly open game of football, Lorient tend to play an attacking style in any match and could suck Sainte into a shootout.
  • However, I just don’t think this game is worth betting on. The bookies are offering no value and there is too much doubt in my mind. I think we’ll see a home win with maybe both teams scoring but I can’t be sure.

Prediction: 2-1

Recommended bet: None