AS Saint-Etienne at Epinal
Thursday, February 13, 2020 at 3:00 PM (Stade de La Colombiere)
SAS Epinal welcome St-Etienne to the Stade Marcel Picot on Thursday with a place in the Coupe de France semi-finals up for grabs. Can Epinal cause another upset? Or will St-Etienne's superiority shine through?
The fourth-tier side beat Ligue 2 opponents Sochaux 2-0 in their first Coupe de France game of the season before claiming a 3-2 victory over Mulhouse in the following round. Consecutive 1-0 wins against Entente SSG and JS St Pierroise respectively then saw Epinal set up a Round of 16 clash with Ligue 1 club Lille. Jean-Philippe Krasso scored twice as Epinal claimed a famous victory over Lille to book their place in the last eight.
Epinal currently sit seventh in the Championnat National 2 Group A standings with a record of W6-D5-L6 to their name. Epinal have struggled to score goals in 2019/20, but their defensive record is bettered only by the top three teams in the division. It’s fair to say that Epinal have been fairly inconsistent in the league this season. However, the team’s performances throughout their promising cup run have been excellent.
While Epinal have had to make it through five rounds to reach the quarter-finals, St-Etienne have only played three Coupe de France games this season. The Ligue 1 outfit kicked things off with a 3-0 victory over Bastia-Borgo 3-0 before coming from behind to beat Paris FC in the Round of 32. Despite seeing just 23% of the possession against Monaco in the previous round, St-Etienne scraped a 1-0 win to reach the quarter-finals.
Seven defeats in their last eight league games have seen St-Etienne plummet down the Ligue 1 table. Claude Puel’s side are a team in freefall and now sit just four points clear of the top-flight's bottom three. Relegation for a club of St-Etienne's size would be a disaster. But if they don’t turn things around quickly, St-Etienne could find themselves in the second-tier next season. It’s worth pointing out that only three teams have conceded more goals than Puel’s men in Ligue 1 this term.
Prediction and Pick
St-Etienne are enduring a really tricky spell at the moment and manager Claude Puel is likely to rest many of his key players on Thursday in order to keep them fresh for important upcoming Ligue 1 games. On the other hand, Epinal will be full of confidence after seeing off Lille in the previous round. For the sheer potential profit, I’m backing Epinal to win this matchup. Their home advantage will give them a huge boost for this game and odds of 1.36 for the St-Etienne win are too low bother with in my opinion.