St Etienne v Brest – Stade Geoffroy-Guichard at 14:00 GMT +1
St Etienne started the new Ligue 1 season with a 2-1 success at Dijon on the opening weekend. ASSE finished fourth last term and began their new era under head coach Ghislain Printant on the front foot, grabbing two goals via Romain Hamouma and new signing Jean-Eudes Aholou inside the opening 15 minutes.
Les Verts were nowhere near their best in a largely closely-fought contest, although Printant was naturally pleased to kick-off the campaign with maximum points, saying, “This is a satisfying result and we managed to win thanks to 30 very good opening minutes. Some players weren’t ready physically but with their talent and their experience we knew that they’d contribute something.”
A further week on the training pitch should ensure Sainte are up to speed with newly-promoted Brest in opposition at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Sunday. The hosts proved rock-solid operators in front of their home supporters last term (W13-D2-L4), with three of those four losses coming against the top-three.
Brest share the spoils
Brest returned to Ligue 1 for the first time since 2013 and opened their account with a 1-1 draw against Toulouse at the compact Francis-Le Ble Stadium. The Ligue 2 runners-up made the early running, out-playing a Toulouse side lacking inspiration going forward, but were unable to see out the showdown.
La Team Pirate excelled in the second-tier with the division’s most clinical attacking output and incoming boss Olivier Dall’Oglio promised to follow the same principles but was left frustrated by his side’s profligacy in front of goal, despite admitting he was pleased with his team’s application and attitude.
The challenge for Brest now is turning promise and potential into points. The visitors only triumphed eight times on their travels last term, including only twice at teams in 12th and above. A trip to the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard is rarely for the feint-hearted and the presumption is Stade will come unstuck on Sunday.
The betting angle
St Etienne have been able to keep hold of their leading light Whabi Khazri, as well as replace Remy Cabella with the returning Ryad Boudebouz. Key midfielder Yann M’Vila also still remains with Les Verts and if Printant can keep the current squad together, there’s no reason why Sainte can’t again finish in the top four.
The hosts will be aiming for a strong first showing on home soil and are well worth supporting at generous pre-match quotes. We’ll take the 1.83 available on ASSE with a -0.75 Asian Handicap hurdle – this selection would see our bet earn a half-stakes pay-out should Sainte win by exactly one goal, with a full-stakes profit made should the home side win by at least a two-goal margin.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: St Etienne -0.75 at 1.850
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.