Saint Etienne

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Round 37

Saint Etienne 1 - 2 Reims
2022-05-14 20:00 More Reports
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Season Guide
2021/2022

Saint Etienne

In


-

Out


Jessy Moulin (r)(gk) (Troyes); Mathieu Debuchy (r)(def), Kevin Monnet-Paquet (sp)(att), Rayan Souici (def) (all released)

Saint-Etienne were one of a number of clubs that flirted with relegation from Ligue 1 last season only to scrape their way to survival in the final weeks of the campaign. Claude Puel’s side were unimpressive, with the coach failing to inspire in terms of his personnel management, yet he remains in charge for the new campaign. With just a year left on his contract, though, he is vulnerable. Saint-Etienne are one of the sides that have felt the pinch of French football’s financial difficulties. Even before the collapse of the TV rights deal, they were starting to invest primarily in very young talent with the hope that they could blend a promising young side together. That is not one of Puel’s strengths. Indeed, the coach will have lesser numbers to work with this season. Kevin Monnet-Paquet and Mathieu Debuchy have both notably been released, while Jessy Moulin has been allowed to join Troyes, though in truth he had lost his status as starter in any case as he simply was not good enough. That burden falls on youngster Etienne Green, who finished last term very well but has much to live up to. Meanwhile, Pape Cisse’s loan deal is up and the heart of the defence will miss his presence. Saint-Etienne were dogged with defensive injury problems last season and go into this campaign with only three natural centre-backs, one of whom is Timothee Kolodziejczak, a player who Puel has struggled to maintain a good relationship with. Saint-Etienne also look short on the right of the defence. In midfield, meanwhile, there is plenty of talent. Yvan Neyou surpassed expectations last season and Lucas Gourna-Douath is a highly promising youngster. With Mahdi Camara and Zaydou Youssouf also on the books, Saint-Etienne have quality, though the lack of experience in this area must be a concern. In their entire midfield corps, only Ryad Boudebouz is over 25. More will be expected of Adil Aouchiche in an attacking capacity, while up front Romain Hamouma was belatedly retained after a long saga. Saint-Etienne do lack quality in attack, with Wahbi Khazri likely to be a centre-forward role for much of the season.

Target


Saint-Etienne should have enough to secure survival, but they could be in for a difficult season if injuries bite again.

Season Review
2020/2021

№11: Saint Etienne

Saint-Etienne finished the season in a flattering 11th place in Ligue 1, despite having spent much of the campaign battling relegation. There were positive signs at the start of the season as Claude Puel’s men came flying out of the traps by winning three successive matches 2-0, though this came against expectations and proved to be unsustainable as they quickly tumbled down the table amid a woeful run of results that was never really arrested until January. From then, Sainte played some better football and largely picked off the teams around them in the table as they moved serenely to a safe position in the standings. It was a campaign in which Puel was made to a look a little silly as he froze out senior players last summer and was forced to reintroduce them one by one to his squad, either because of necessity or because others were lacking form. The most prominent example was Wahbi Khazri, who finished as joint top scorer on seven goals along with winger Denis Bouanga, whose form blew a little hot and cold throughout the campaign. Indeed, that was the case with all of Sainte’s forwards, with the possible exception of Anthony Modeste, whose return to Ligue 1 was simply a disaster. In midfield. Yvan Neyou proved to be a surprisingly impressive addition while Mahdi Camara had a solid season and 17-year-old Lucas Goura-Douath impressed. Adil Aouchiche arrived with a big reputation that he failed to live up to, though in hindsight, it was always going to be difficult for the teenager, especially in a struggling side. At the back, Sainte were poor for much of the season but improved after Pape Cisse joined the club in January. Harold Moukoudi, meanwhile, outperformed expectations but on the left promising youngster Yvann Macon missed nearly the whole season due to serious knee injury. Puel’s decision to freeze out veteran Stephane Ruffier was misguided. Jessy Moulin was not good enough and in the end third choice Etienne Green stepped up well in the closing weeks of the season. Saint-Etienne will need to rebuild significantly if they are to match this finish next term. It is a team still in transition.


Player of the Season: Yvan Neyou

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