Action continues in France’s Ligue 1 this weekend, with Nice playing host to Saint-Etienne at the Allianz Riviera Stadium on Sunday.
Both of these teams are in the lower half of Ligue 1. Nice are 12th on 26 points, while Saint-Etienne sit four places and seven points behind them.
Following a horrendous run of form, the visitors are in some trouble and will be aiming to spring an upset of sorts.
Nice vs Saint-Etienne Head-to-Head
Last weekend saw Nice pick up their first win since 16 December, when they surprised ninth-placed Lens with a 1-0 victory thanks to a goal from Youcef Atal.
Before that, Nice had only picked up two points from five matches, drawing with Metz and Lorient while losing to Lyon, Brest and Bordeaux.
With seven wins from their opening 20 games, Nice haven’t done terribly this season. However, their total of 23 goals scored is one of the lowest in Ligue 1 this season. Only Nantes, Dijon, Nimes and their opponents this weekend have scored less.
Meanwhile, Saint-Etienne have been on a horrific slide recently that doesn’t look like stopping any time soon. They’ve won just one of their last 18 matches – a 2-1 win over Bordeaux on 16 December.
Most recently, they fell to a 5-0 loss at home to Lyon. Lyon may be title contenders, but that doesn’t make the result any less humiliating for Saint-Etienne.
Essentially, Claude Puel’s side have been shipping goals at an astonishing rate while failing to score them in return. If they do not change that trend very soon, they will be in real danger of relegation.
Recent results between the two actually favor Saint-Etienne. They’ve won four of their last six games against Nice. However, the most recent fixture in October saw Nice run out 3-1 winners.
Nice form guide: D-L-D-L-W
Saint-Etienne form guide: D-D-L-L-L
Nice vs Saint-Etienne Team News
Nice have two key players, Dante and Danilo, still unavailable for this game. Meanwhile, midfielders Rony Lopes and Morgan Schneiderlin are in doubt.
Injured: Dante, Danilo
Doubtful: Rony Lopes, Morgan Schneiderlin
A breakout of COVID-19 has clearly marred Claude Puel’s plans of late. A handful of infected players have now recovered from the virus. However, Mathieu Debuchy, Harold Moukoudi, Panagiotis Retsos and Kevin Monnet-Paquet are expected to miss out on this game.
Other long-term injury concerns for Saint-Etienne include Gabriel Silva, Yvann Macon and Wahbi Khazri.
Injured: Gabriel Silva, Yvann Macon, Wahbi Khazri
Unavailable: Mathieu Debuchy, Harold Moukoudi, Panagiotis Retsos, Kevin Monnet-Paquet
Nice vs Saint-Etienne Predicted XI
Nice predicted XI (3-4-3): Walter Benitez, Flavius Daniliuc, William Saliba, Stanley N’Soki, Youcef Atal, Pierre Lees-Melou, Khephren Thuram, Hassane Kamara, Hichem Boudaoui, Kasper Dolberg, Jeff Reine-Adelaide
Saint-Etienne predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Jessy Moulin, Alpha Sissoko, Mahdi Camara, Timothee Kolodziejczak, Miguel Trauco, Yvan Neyou, Zaydou Youssouf, Arnaud Nordin, Romain Hamouma, Denis Bouanga, Charles Abi
Nice vs Saint-Etienne Prediction
Both of these sides have been struggling recently, but Nice’s win over Lens last weekend should give them some added confidence.
Despite their low-scoring tendencies, Nice should be able to edge this one against a Saint-Etienne side hit by injuries and COVID-19.
Prediction: Nice 1-0 Saint-Etienne