Stade de Reims – AS Saint-Étienne: Reims Struggle To Match Saint-Étienne’s Aggressive Approach (0-2)
Saint-Étienne dominated this game almost from start to finish, using healthy combination play to regularly bypass Reims’ aggressive defense. While Reims did create some chances, they had trouble imposing themselves for most of the game.
Tactical analysis and match report by Siddharth Ramsundar.
This game between two top-half Ligue 1 sides presented a clash of two highly distinctive sides. Reims entered the game with one of the stingiest defenses in the league, both in terms of goals and chances conceded. Manager David Guion’s well-organized defense had allowed Reims to punch above their weight for most of the season. Overall, this conservative defense-first approach left them limited at best in attack.
In comparison, Saint-Étienne entered the game with one of the strongest attacks in Ligue 1 from a chance creation standpoint. Embroiled in a tight race for the remaining Champions League spots, Jean-Louis Gasset’s side needed a win away from home.
Match prediction, standings and implications going into the weekend.
On paper, Reims lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with central midfielder Tristan Dingomé often pushing up next to the striker to form a 4-4-2 or 4-2-4 shape for a lot of the game. Saint-Étienne opted for a 4-2-3-1 shape that would reorganize into a 4-3-3 in possession.
Reims change approach early
The opening minutes saw both sides stick to their default game plans, so to speak. Saint-Étienne played an attacking game, while Rennes’ 4-2-3-1 formations turned into a deep 4-4-2 shape off the ball. Reims’ setup failed to . . .