MX23RW : Monday, August 2 06:43:42| >> :600:6174397:6174397:
Jan 17, 2021 at 2pm UK at Stade de la Meinau
St EtienneSaint-Etienne
Ajorque (29')
Sissoko (36'), Aholou (51')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Gabard (12'), Gourna-Douath (56')

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

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

Strasbourg take on Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1 on Sunday, with both sides having opened up a small gap ahead of the relegation zone in recent matches.

The hosts recorded an impressive 1-0 win at Lens last weekend, although St Etienne were leapfrogged by Reims in the table after losing 3-1 to them away from home.

Match preview

Strasbourg manager Thierry Laurey pictured in February 2020© Reuters

Indeed, after a dreadful start which saw them lose six of their first seven Ligue 1 matches this season, Strasbourg have significantly picked up since to move six points clear of the relegation zone.

Thierry Laurey's side have been boosted by Habib Diallo and Ludovic Ajorque scoring an impressive 15 league goals combined so far this season, which has helped mask the side's defensive deficiencies earlier in the campaign.

However, Laurey will be delighted with the fact that in each of his side's last four wins - which have come in the last seven matches - Strasbourg have simultaneously kept a clean sheet. Their superiority when beating bottom-placed Nimes in the first match following the winter break was clear to see, but the narrow victory at Lens last weekend was perhaps more impressive as it required grit and determination.

Diallo's 21st-minute strike meant that Lens dominated possession thereafter, retaining 66% of the ball across the 90 minutes, but the hosts only mustered two shots on target, with Strasbourg's defensive shape and organisation clearly a cut above the opening weeks of the campaign. As such, they will feel confident of shutting out a St Etienne side which is only scoring around one goal per game on average this season.

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

Former Southampton and Leicester City manager Claude Puel, meanwhile, appears to have ridden out the storm he found himself embroiled in at St Etienne after his side failed to win 11 consecutive matches.

Having been 17th at the time all French football was curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic last season, Puel appeared to be putting his previous failures behind him with three consecutive wins opening this campaign on a positive note. However, Les Verts gradually slid down the table as each week passed with no win on the board.

St Etienne are certainly not away from danger yet, sitting a point behind forthcoming opponents Strasbourg in the table, but recent draws against Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco are clear evidence that they are a much tougher side to beat than both last season and during their recent winless run.

However, the nature of last weekend's defeat at Reims would have been a major concern to the 59-year-old, as a lack of a consistent goalscorer on his club's books will continue to be, with Romain Hamouma currently St Etienne's top league goalscorer with only four goals.

Strasbourg Ligue 1 form: DWLLWW

Saint-Etienne Ligue 1 form: DWDDDL

Team News

Strasbourg goalkeeper Bingourou Kamara pictured in the 2019 Coupe de La Ligue final© Reuters

Strasbourg are likely to be without Matz Sels, Lebo Mothiba, Idriss Saadi, Lamine Kone and Bingourou Kamara due to injury.

Mohamed Simakan, meanwhile, is definitely ruled out due to a knee injury, with the young defender likely to be out of action until at least March.

St Etienne have their own long-term absentees in the shape of Yvann Macon and Stephane Ruffier, who are ruled out for the rest of the season.

Timothee Kolodziejczak, Yvan Neyou, Wahbi Khazri and Gabriel Silva are unlikely to travel to Strasbourg due to injury.

Strasbourg possible starting lineup:
Kawashima; Lala, Mitrovic, Djiku, Cacu; Sissoko, Aholou; Diallo, Thomasson, Bellegarde; Ajorque

Saint-Etienne possible starting lineup:
Moulin; Debuchy, Moukoudi, Retsos, Trauco; Nordin, Camara, Youssouf, Aouchiche; Boudebouz, Bouanga

SM words green background

We say: Strasbourg 2-1 Saint-Etienne

We can envisage a tight encounter between two sides looking to move clearer of the relegation zone, but Strasbourg's greater goal threats may prove the difference between the two sides.

Diallo and Ajorque's goal tally combined represents 75% of St Etienne's overall goals scored column this season, so if they are firing they can prove the match-winners on the day.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw 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/Draw:data

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Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino pictured on January 6, 2021
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United StatesUnited States20231659
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia12191344
Great BritainGreat Britain10101232
Today's Olympic highlights header

Monday's key events

· There are no Brits in the women's 100m hurdles final, but Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, fresh from breaking the Olympic record in the semis, will hope to pip world record holder Kendra Harrison to gold (3.50am)
· The women's 5000m final also has no Team GB representation, but two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya will be looking to add an Olympic gold to her list of honours (1.40pm)

· The women's skiff 49er FX (6.33am) and men's skiff 49er (7.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races

· A place in the women's gold medal match is up for grabs, starting with an all-North American semi-final between United States and Canada (9am)
· Australia, who edged past Team GB's in a seven-goal quarter-final thriller, take on Sweden in the second semi-final (12pm)

· The track cycling schedule gets underway, with Team GB holding a particular interest in the team pursuit qualifying. Laura Kenny is part of the women's team (7.54am), while the men's team includes Ed Clancy (9.02am)

· The Gadirova twins Jessica and Jennifer will both take part in the women's floor final as they look to add to their team bronze (9.57am)

· Newly-crowned European champion Emily Campbell flies the flag for Great Britain in the women's +87kg, but faces stiff competition for medals from China's Li Wenwen and New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard (11.50am)

· The women's hockey quarter-finals begin, with Team GB last up against Spain (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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10Montpellier HSCMontpellier00000000
15Paris Saint-GermainPSG00000000
18Saint-EtienneSt Etienne00000000

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