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Mar 13, 2021 at 12pm UK
St EtienneSaint-Etienne

Fulgini (88')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Khazri (52')
Bouanga (54'), Aouchiche (59')

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

:Headline: Preview: Angers vs. Saint-Etienne - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Ligue 1 clash between Angers and Saint-Etienne, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Angers will be aiming to stretch their unbeaten run across all competitions to five matches when they welcome Saint-Etienne to the Stade Raymond Kopa for Saturday's Ligue 1 encounter.

Stephane Moulin's side overcame a European-chasing Metz outfit in their most recent league game, whereas Saint-Etienne's poor spell continued with a home defeat to Lens.

Match preview

The European dream could very well still become a reality for Angers, but Moulin will be aware that his side cannot afford to throw away as many points as they have done since the turn of the year if their top-five charge is to bear fruit come the end of the season.

Les Scoistes failed to win any of their five Ligue 1 matches in February, but they managed to halt their five-game winless streak by taking maximum points home from their trip to Metz last time out, as Angelo Fulgini's penalty on the stroke of half time propelled Angers to a vital victory in the race for continental football.

Angers currently find themselves in ninth spot as they gear up for the visit of Saint-Etienne, and with five points separating Les Scoistes from fifth-placed Lens with 10 games left to play, the race to nab the final European spot is set to go right down to the wire, and Angers are very much in contention.

Moulin's men have only managed to win one of their last four league games at the Stade Raymond Kopa, but they warmed up for this encounter with a comfortable 5-0 thrashing of Martinique-based outfit Club Franciscain in the Coupe de France, and victory over Saint-Etienne would see Angers string three wins together for the first time this season.

With Metz and Montpellier not in action until Sunday, Angers would leapfrog both sides into seventh with a first home victory in the league since January 31, and given Saint-Etienne's recent struggles, Moulin's side will view this encounter as a prime opportunity to keep the momentum going and go five games unbeaten for the first time since January 2020.

Saint-Etienne and their inconsistent nature appear to be heading in the wrong direction once again following back-to-back losses to newly-promoted sides, as Lorient secured a 2-1 victory over Les Verts before European hopefuls Lens put them to the sword by three goals to two in their most recent fixture.

Claude Puel's side quickly went 2-0 down following quickfire goals from Florian Sotoca and Arnaud Kalimuendo before Harold Moukoudi restored parity before half time, but Lens substitute David Costa put the game to bed as Denis Bouanga's last-gasp penalty did little to console Saint-Etienne at the final whistle.

With only one win to boast from their last five outings in all competitions, confidence is not exactly high in the Saint-Etienne camp right now as they sit five points clear of the relegation playoff place, and two successive defeats to Lorient and Lens sent Puel's side crashing back down to earth after they had managed to string a five-game unbeaten run together in the top flight.

However, Les Verts have travelled back home with maximum points from two of their last three away matches - keeping clean sheets to boot against Nice and Rennes - and only three of their last eight matches on unfamiliar territory have ended in defeat, so it is not all doom and gloom for Puel as he bids to steer his side away from the dreaded dotted line.

Angers and Saint-Etienne played out a goalless stalemate when they faced off earlier in the campaign, and the hosts have only won one of their last 10 battles with Les Verts in Ligue 1, although that was last season's 4-1 triumph at the Stade Raymond Kopa.

Angers Ligue 1 form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W

Angers form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W

Saint-Etienne Ligue 1 form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L

Saint-Etienne form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L

Team News

Angers had to deal with several absences for their routine Coupe de France win, as the likes of Sofiane Boufal, Vincent Manceau and Souleyman Doumbia missed out, but the trio are all believed to be making good progress and should be fine for the weekend.

As expected, Moulin rang the changes for the cup match so will welcome his big-hitters back to the first XI this week, starting with Paul Bernardoni, Ismael Traore and possibly Manceau - if he is passed fit - returning to the rearguard.

Stephane Bahoken's goal on Sunday may not be enough to see him keep his place up top over Lois Diony, while Lassana Coulibaly should return to partner Ibrahim Amadou in the engine room.

Saint-Etienne will have to make do without suspended defender Mathieu Debuchy, and with Alpha Sissoko still nursing a knee injury, Aimen Moueffek should be given the nod on the right-hand side of defence.

Romain Hamouma also occupies a spot in the treatment room with a thigh problem, but Puel has confirmed that Wahbi Khazri is fit and raring to go after overcoming an issue in the same area.

Possible alterations from the Lens defeat could see Yvan Neyou and Zaydou Youssouf both return to the midfield, while Bouanga should also return to the first XI, most likely in place of Kevin Monnet-Paquet.

Angers possible starting lineup:
Bernardoni; Bamba, Traore, Thomas, Doumbia; Amadou, Coulibaly; Capelle, Fulgini, Pereira Lage; Diony

Saint-Etienne possible starting lineup:
Moulin; Moueffek, Moukoudi, Cisse, Trauco; Neyou; Nordin, Camara, Youssouf, Bouanga; Khazri

We say: Angers 1-1 Saint-Etienne

Saint-Etienne are desperately searching for a positive result as they take a glance over their shoulder, and given their historically strong performances against Angers, they can feel confident about their chances of taking something from this one. The visitors have enjoyed an extended break and can take advantage of Angers' own inconsistent form, so we can see both sides coming away with a point in this fixture - a result which will not please Moulin.

Top 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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