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Preview: Dijon vs. Saint-Etienne - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Dijon and Saint-Etienne, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Dijon entertain Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1 on Sunday, with the hosts looking to move out of the relegation places in the table with a victory.

Former Leicester City and Southampton manager Claude Puel, meanwhile, will be looking to build on last weekend's 1-1 draw against Lille after an extremely difficult period for his side.


Match preview

Dijon manager Stephane Jobard pictured in February 2020© Reuters

Dijon may remain bottom of Ligue 1, but Stephane Jobard will have taken huge encouragement from his side's first victory of the season after an impressive 3-1 win away to Patrick Vieira's Nice last weekend.

A brace from Mama Balde sandwiched Ngonda Muzinga's strike to help the visitors take a 3-0 lead with only a third of the match remaining, with Amine Gouiri's late penalty proving to be nothing more than a consolation goal for the hosts.

Dijon's long-awaited win had arguably been coming, with three draws from their previous five matches suggesting that they were heading onto the right track.

As such, depending on results elsewhere, Jobard's side may have the chance to move out of the relegation places should they beat a St Etienne side who have lost seven of their last eight league matches, and remain without a win since mid-September. If Dijon perform as they did last weekend, they have every chance of doing so.

Saint-Etienne head coach Claude Puel pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Indeed, while Puel's side stopped a dismal run of seven consecutive defeats with the draw against Lille last matchday, it remains a turbulent time for Les Verts.

The hosts did at least appear more settled defensively, though, restricting their more talented opponents to only two shots on target across the 90 minutes. However, St Etienne never looked like scoring from open play, with former Sunderland midfielder Wahbi Khazri's penalty breaking the deadlock before Nanitamo Ikone levelled proceedings in the second half.

Having previously finished in the top half of Ligue 1 for nine straight seasons, it is worth remembering that St Etienne were 17th at the time all French football was curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic in March, with the outbreak of the virus inadvertently preventing a realistic chance of them being relegated for the first time since dropping into the second tier at the end of the 1995-96 campaign.

Still one clear of Paris Saint-Germain with a record 10 Ligue 1 titles, expectations are clearly significantly lower at the moment, which may explain why Puel remains in his role as manager at the club. However, an eighth defeat in nine matches at Ligue 1's bottom-placed club on Sunday could see the board finally lose patience with the 59-year-old.

Dijon Ligue 1 form: DLDDLW

Saint-Etienne Ligue 1 form: LLLLLD


Team News

Paris Saint-Germain and Saint-Etienne players fight in the Coupe de France final on July 24, 2020© Reuters

Jobard appears to be in the enviable position of having no injuries or suspensions to contend with, allowing him to pick the same XI which performed so well at Nice last week.

Balde's four league goals this season now represents half of Dijon's overall tally, so they will need the forward firing once again as they look to move out of the bottom three.

Puel is not quite so fortunate on the availability front, with Yvann Macon's cruciate ligament rupture keeping him on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.

Yvan Neyou is also suspended for the trip to Dijon having picked up his fifth booking in 10 starts against Lille last week, so there is a chance 17-year-old Lucas Gourna-Douath may come into the side for his third start of the season.

Dijon possible starting lineup:
Racioppi; Boey, Manga, Panzo, Ngonda; Ndong, Diop; Ebimbe, Celina, Chouiar; Balde

Saint-Etienne possible starting lineup:
Moulin; Debuchy, Moukoudi, Kolodziejczak, Trauco; Youssouf, Camara, Gourna-Douath, Bouanga; Khazri, Hamouma


SM words green background

We say: Dijon 2-1 Saint-Etienne

With Dijon finally recording their first win of the season, we can see them making it six points from two matches against a St Etienne side devoid of confidence at present.

Puel's side are essentially playing without a recognised number nine, so it would be little surprise to see Balde proving decisive for the hosts.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


ID:425060:cQx

How you voted: Dijon vs St Etienne

Dijon
48.9%
Draw
32.8%
Saint-Etienne
18.4%
174
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Lille head coach Christophe Galtier pictured on November 5, 2020
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Sunday's Ligue 1 predictions including Saint-Etienne vs. Lille
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Paris Saint-GermainPSG21143448113745
2Lille21136236152145
3Lyon20117239192040
4MonacoMonaco21123642301239
5Rennes2110653023736
6Marseille209562722532
7Bordeaux219572522332
8Metz218762318531
9Lens219483030031
10Angers219392633-730
11Montpellier HSCMontpellier218493339-628
12Nice207582328-526
13Brest2182113137-626
14Reims216692931-224
15StrasbourgStrasbourg2173113033-324
16Saint-EtienneSt Etienne204792030-1019
17NantesNantes213992034-1418
18Dijon202991327-1415
19Nimes2043131641-2515
20Lorient1933132038-1812

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