AS Saint-Étienne – Olympique Lyonnais: Saint-Étienne Snatch Victory As Lyon Disappoints Again (1-0)
Le Classique (PSG versus Marseille) may be more known, but le Derby Rhône-Alpes - played between Olympique Lyonnais and Saint-Étienne - is perhaps France’s fiercest rivalry. On Sunday night, the two adversaries met at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, with ASSE escaping as 1-0 winners - thanks to a 90th minute header from striker Robert Beric.
Match report and tactical analysis by K.T. Stockwell
Saint-Étienne entered the weekend languishing in last place in Ligue 1. France’s historic leader in league titles lost their manager Jean-Louis Gasset to retirement over the summer and his assistant Ghislain Printant was selected to take over. Printant summoned only two wins from eight matches and was relieved of his duties earlier this week. Leaving new manager, veteran Claude Puel, only three days to prepare for Saint-Étienne’s biggest game of the year.
Under Gasset, ASSE fought their way to fourth in the table and earned a place in the Europa League. Their success was largely predicated on sound defensive structure and timely scoring from both Wahbi Khazri and Rémy Cabella. This season, with Cabella having been shipped off to Russia and Khazri struggling to find the net, ASSE have floundered.
With little time to prepare it is no wonder that on Sunday night, Puel elected to go with a 3-4-1-2 formation - common under both Printant and Gasset. At the back the squad was buoyed by the return of William Saliba, who was joined by Loïc Perrin and Timothée Kolodziejczak to form the back-three. As wing-backs Puel selected Denis Bouanga and Miguel . . .