AS Saint-Étienne – Stade Rennais: Poor Defending Hands Rennes An Easy Victory (0-3)
Neither side looked convincing in possession and as a result this match became one based largely in transition play. Rennes opted for a flat back four in their 4-1-4-1 formation, which restricted ASSE’s dynamic wing play, but also limited their offense. Ghastly defensive errors proved the difference with the young Saint-Étienne side showing their age in front of their own goal.
Tactical analysis and match report by K.T. Stockwell.
For a club without a reliable option at center forward, Saint-Étienne have been surprisingly clinical – notching two goals in each of their opening four matches. Manager Claude Puel’s youth revolution has reinvigorated a side that toyed with possible relegation last season.
Remaining in a preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, Puel made only one change to his starting eleven: bringing in veteran striker Romain Hamouma, while defensive midfielder Yvan Neyou started on the bench due to injury. As a consequence, youngster Zaydou Youssouf was tasked with the holding midfield role.
Rennes’s talented squad has yet to fully click this season, but even in their search for continuity have been able to collect points. Last week’s late winner by youngster Adrien Truffert against AS Monaco was a perfect example of how manager Julien Stéphan’s side has amassed points, while struggling to find their feet.
Perhaps in that search for stability, Stéphan chose to make only two changes to his starting lineup, while sticking with a 4-1-4-1 formation. Raphina started on the bench in place of Romain Del Castillo, while injured fullback Faitout Maouassa was replaced by Hamari Traoré.
Both sides struggle in possession
Throughout the first period neither side . . .