MX23RW : Sunday, April 18 02:56:54| >> :600:131225:131225:
Feb 14, 2021 at 2pm UK at Route de Lorient
RennesRennes
0-2
St EtienneSaint-Etienne

Doku (37'), Da Silva (48'), Guirassy (57'), Aguerd (63'), Traore (77')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Bouanga (27'), Nordin (71')
Debuchy (33'), Abi (80')

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

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

Rennes will be determined to end a four-game winless run across all competitions when they welcome Saint-Etienne to the Roazhon Park for Sunday's Ligue 1 encounter.

Both teams were knocked out of the Coupe de France in midweek, with Julien Stephan's men falling to defeat against Angers while Saint-Etienne lost to Sochaux.


Match preview

Rennes manager Julien Stephan pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Rennes supporters were forced to endure a barren run of form when their side were juggling Champions League and Ligue 1 football, so their side's current slump with no continental commitments to worry about is certainly a cause for concern.

With only one win from their last seven matches across all competitions, any outside chances of a title challenge are dead in the water for Stephan's side, who also saw a realistic shot at silverware in the Coupe de France pass them by in midweek, as a double from Angelo Fulgini propelled Angers to victory.

Even though Rennes have lost on just one occasion in their last 10 Ligue 1 matches, four draws from their last six - including a goalless stalemate with Lens last time out - has seriously harmed their top-four prospects as they sit 10 points behind a rampant Monaco outfit, albeit with a game in hand.

Furthermore, Les Rouge et Noir have taken just two points from a possible nine at home in recent weeks, and failure to win on Saturday would mark the first time since May 2019 that Rennes have gone four games without victory in the league on familiar territory.

A spot in the Europa Conference League will likely be the best that Rennes can hope for now, but the chasing pack are not far behind and Saint-Etienne are finally starting to show signs of life in Ligue 1 once again.

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

Saint-Etienne are certainly not out of the woods yet, but the Verts faithful will be hoping that their side's recent good fortunes are a sign of things to come for the remainder of the campaign.

Claude Puel's side have prevailed in two of their last three Ligue 1 matches after winning just one of their previous 18 before that, and with two clean sheets to boot, with 1-0 victories over Metz and Nice coming either side of a 1-1 draw with Nantes.

However, Saint-Etienne's Coupe de France journey came to an end in dismal fashion against Ligue 2 outfit Sochaux, who marched to a 1-0 win over Puel's charges to condemn them to their third away defeat in four matches courtesy of Christian Bedia's fifth-minute winner.

Despite their early cup exit, the 15th-placed Verts are one of only two sides in the bottom half who have not tasted defeat in any of their last three top-flight outings - the other being Lorient - and they could move 11 points clear of the bottom three if Nantes lose to Angers at the same time on Sunday.

Rennes stormed to a 3-0 victory in their first meeting with Saint-Etienne back in September, and the hosts have only lost once in their last 15 matches against Les Verts.

Rennes Ligue 1 form: DDWLDD
Rennes form (all competitions): DWLDDL

Saint-Etienne Ligue 1 form: LLLWDW
Saint-Etienne form (all competitions): LLWDWL


Team News

Rennes' Clement Grenier celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on January 9, 2021© Reuters

Rennes forward Mbaye Niang had been struggling with illness over the past couple of weeks, but he has since completed a loan move to Saudi Arabian side Al Ahli.

Daniele Rugani's underwhelming stint at the Roazhon Park also came to an end as he headed to Cagliari on loan instead, and his departure means that Flavien Tait and Clement Grenier are the hosts' only two injury concerns ahead of this match.

Steven Nzonzi should return to the centre of the park despite missing out against Angers, while Eduardo Camavinga and Serhou Guirassy - the latter of whom netted as a substitute in midweek - are expected to reprise their roles in the first team as well.

Saint-Etienne forward Romain Hamouma missed out against Angers after sustaining a thigh injury in the win over Metz, and he will remain on the sidelines for a month in a huge blow to Puel's side.

Seventeen-year-old Lucas Gourna-Douath could return to the engine room after serving a suspension in midweek, but goalkeeper Jessy Moulin and defender Mathieu Debuchy are injury doubts for the visitors.

Anthony Modeste will aspire to open his Ligue 1 account for Saint-Etienne at the third time of asking this weekend, while Mahdi Camara, Adil Aouchiche and Denis Bouanga - who was banned for the Sochaux defeat - are also in contention to return to the first XI.

Rennes possible starting lineup:
Gomis; Traore, Aguerd, Da Silva, Maouassa; Nzonzi; Doku, Camavinga, Bourigeaud, Terrier; Guirassy

Saint-Etienne possible starting lineup:
Moulin; Kolodziejczak, Moukoudi, Cisse; Moueffek, Camara, Neyou, Bouanga; Nordin, Aouchiche; Modeste


SM words green background

We say: Rennes 1-0 Saint-Etienne

Rennes' barren run has to end at some point lest they risk slipping out of European contention entirely, but they may struggle to take maximum points against a Saint-Etienne side with a new-found defensive resolve. Both teams will be desperate to rectify their midweek mistakes with a morale-boosting triumph here, but given their strong record in this fixture, we expect Stephan's side to eke out a hard-fought victory on their own turf.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win 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.Home/Away:data


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Lille332010354203470
2Paris Saint-GermainPSG32213871234866
3MonacoMonaco32205767382965
4Lyon321810463313264
5Lens32141085144752
6Marseille33141094641552
7Rennes33149104335851
8Montpellier HSCMontpellier331211105354-147
9Nice32127134142-143
10Metz32119123638-242
11Angers33118143450-1641
12Reims32913103838040
13Saint-EtienneSt Etienne32109133647-1139
14StrasbourgStrasbourg32106164150-936
15Bordeaux32106163545-1036
16Brest32106164455-1136
17Lorient3388174061-2132
18Nimes3286183159-2830
19NantesNantes32513143249-1728
20Dijon3229212056-3615

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