Oct 18, 2020 at 4pm UK
St EtienneSaint-Etienne
Aouchiche (57')
Moukoudi (72'), Hamouma (90+3')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Lees-Melou (8'), Gouiri (30'), Maolida (90+1')
Kamara (49'), Nsoki (58'), Daniel Benitez (67'), Lotomba (68'), Bambu (73')

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

:Headline: Preview: Saint-Etienne vs. Nice - prediction, team news, lineups: ID:418625: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 match between Saint-Etienne and Nice, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Nice travel to Saint-Etienne on Sunday with both sides level on 10 points after six games in the 2020-21 Ligue 1 table.

Despite both sides currently sitting in a top-half position, neither side have been in good form at all of late, with Nice's 2-1 win against Nantes prior to the international break the only win between the two sides in the last three matchdays.

Match preview

Indeed, after a brilliant start which saw St-Etienne win their first three matches without conceding a goal, a 2-2 draw at Nantes was followed up by two losses without scoring in either defeat heading into the international break.

Former Southampton and Leicester City manager Claude Puel has plenty to ponder ahead of Nice's arrival, then, but may be buoyed by the fact he oversaw a convincing 4-1 victory in this fixture last season.

Romain Hamouma has at least been in excellent form for Les Verts, scoring three goals in the opening weeks of the campaign. Puel must work out how he can get the 33-year-old and the rest of his teammates combining to great effect once more.

He must also ensure his side improve their discipline after Timothee Kolodziejczak and Wahbi Khazri both picked up red cards in the 2-0 defeat at Lens.

One man who was certainly no stranger to a red card in his playing days was Nice manager Patrick Vieira, who saw his team on the right side of one during the 2-1 win over Nantes after his side's opponents lost a man in only the third minute.

Khephren Thuram's 62nd-minute strike was enough to secure a nervy three points for the hosts as the plucky 10-man visitors battled hard in their ultimately unsuccessful attempts to earn themselves something from the game.

It was certainly much needed respite for the former France and Arsenal midfielder after failing to win the previous three matches. He will be hoping his side can build on the momentum gained from that victory against a side short in confidence and player availability on Sunday.

Having been fifth in the table when last season was curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Vieira secured European football for Les Aiglons for only the fourth time this century.

Vieira may have Thursday's testing trip to Bayer Leverkusen in the back of his mind heading into this trip, but with a four-day gap between the two matches there is sufficient time to aid rest and recovery ahead of that fixture.

Saint-Etienne Ligue 1 form: WWWDLL

Nice Ligue 1 form: WWLLDW

Team News

Puel will be without Kolodziejczak and Khazri through suspension after their straight red cards against Lens.

Yvann Macon sustained a cruciate ligament injury in that match and is unlikely to play again this season, while Mathieu Debuchy and Charles Abi are likely to be remain absent through injury having been out in recent weeks.

Vieira can count himself more fortunate on the availability front, with only Youcef Atal and Alexis Claude-Maurice injured for the trip to the Geoffroy Stadium. Both players are expected to be back by the end of October.

Denmark international Kasper Dolberg will be hoping his form improves soon having failed to score since his brace in the 2-0 win at Strasbourg on matchday two in August.

Saint-Etienne possible starting lineup:
Moulin; Sissoko, Moukoudi, Restos, Silva; Hamouma, Neyou, Camara, Aouchiche, Rivera; Bouanga

Nice possible starting lineup:
Benitez; Lotomba, Pelmard, Dante, Kamara; Maolida, Thuram, Lopes, Lees-Melou, Gouiri; Dolberg

We say: Saint-Etienne 1-1 Nice

Given the recent losses and amount of absentees St-Etienne must overcome, we cannot see a repeat of last season's 4-1 drubbing of Nice for Puel's side on Sunday.

In fact, with both sides struggling to create many chances in recent matches, it would not particularly surprise us if a bore draw ensues with both sides prioritising avoiding defeat above going all out for the win.

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

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