Three weeks after the postponement of the original meeting due to COVID-19, Angers and Saint-Etienne prepare for battle in Wednesday’s Ligue 1 clash at the Stade Raymond Kopa.
Gerald Baticle’s side scraped past Troyes 2-1 at the weekend, while their upcoming visitors fell to a 1-0 defeat to Lyon.
Having failed to maintain their promising early-season form, Angers are now firmly out of European contention and facing a battle to regain their top-half standing in 2022, but Thomas Mangani’s 12-yard prowess saw them over the line against Troyes last time out.
The newly-promoted outfit threatened to spring a surprise when Brandon Domingues pounced on a loose ball to open the scoring after 11 minutes, but Mangini levelled from the spot after Billal Brahimi was brought down before repeating the trick after Mathias Pereira Lage tumbled in the area.
Angers’ first success of 2022 has set them up nicely for a top-half push in their rescheduled midweek game, as Les Scoistes now occupy 12th spot in the table after 21 matches – just two points adrift of Lyon and three behind under-performing champions Lille.
Hit hard by Africa Cup of Nations absentees this month, Angers’ inconsistency on their own turf has also plagued their bid for a surprise European push, but the sparsely-populated Stade Raymond Kopa will certainly expect another positive showing against the league’s basement side.
While Angers were on the right side of the penalty calls during the weekend’s fixtures, Saint-Etienne cursed a spot kick for the opposition in their defeat to Lyon at an empty Groupama Stadium, as Timothee Kolodziejczak brought down Moussa Dembele in the area.
Dembele hauled himself to his feet before calmly tucking away the resulting penalty, and Saint-Etienne also witnessed Anthony Lopes keep out a goal bound header from Mahdi Camara in the Derby Rhone-Alpes, as Ligue 2 continues to beckon for Les Verts.
Having now lost each of their last seven in the French top flight – with the appointment of Pascal Dupraz yet to lead to a turnaround in fortunes – Saint-Etienne remain rock bottom of the pile and are eight points adrift of the safety of 17th place with a game in hand.
Dupraz’s men only have two Coupe de France wins over lower-league opposition to boast about over the festive period and have only found the back of the net twice in their miserable seven-game Ligue 1 losing streak, with their last away goal in the league coming all the way back in November.
Such a statistic is unlikely to be improved while Dupraz works with depleted resources in the final third, but they did manage to hold Angers to a 2-2 draw back in October, with Mickael Nade coming up with a 94th-minute equaliser on the day.
Angers Ligue 1 form:
Angers form (all competitions):
Saint-Etienne Ligue 1 form:
Saint-Etienne form (all competitions):
We say: Angers 1-1 Saint-Etienne
Even with the bulk of their attacking powers absent through injury or international duty, Saint-Etienne can still expect to end their barren scoreless streak against an inconsistent Angers backline.
Les Verts gave Lyon a good run for their money but will be aware that more clumsiness in the penalty area could prove fatal with Mangani’s capabilities, and we can envisage the visitors ending their losing streak with a hard-earned point.