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.
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
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.
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
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.