OM-Saint-Etienne: The pregame21 feb 2016
There are a lot of parallels between OM and AS Saint-Etienne. The two teams are still involved in three competitions: Ligue 1, obviously, the Coupe de France and the Europa League. In the Cup, the Greens will welcome PSG, which holds the title, while OM will go to Caen to play US Granville, which is progressing in CFA2. In the European Cup, Christophe Galtier's men handled their first leg game in the round of 32 well by winning at home against Bâle (3-2). For its part, OM lost at home to AC Bilbao. The two clubs also have the desire to finish in the final three places of Ligue 1. The club from Forez has been in the top 5 at the end of the season for three years but now they want to go another step. OM hasn't gotten to the podium since 2012-13 but still hopes to get there by mid-May.
Another thing the two clubs have in common is that they used the winter transfer window to their advantage. OM got Florian Thauvin back and welcomed Scottish player Steven Fletcher. As for ASSE, three players left the team but four players arrived: Selnaes, Söderlund, Tabanou and Tannane. Since then, the Greens have gone from the seventh (after 20thday) to the fourth position. Tannane's influence in the game is growing and Söderlund has already been decisive on four occasions (two goals and two decisive passes in L1).
As for OM, it really hasn't been able to take off yet. The Olympiens aren't losing much anymore but are still having trouble wining and their tie games (4 in the 7 days of the return phase) haven't allowed them to get closer to the top spots. Nevertheless, only five points separate the two teams in the rankings. That's why Sunday's game against the fourth-ranked team in Ligue 1 feels like a turning point, even if OM hasn't won a championship game in the Vélodrome Stadium since last September 13. "We have to forget the statistics for home games," says Michel, "We have to come up with the strongest arguments on our side in order to win." Considering the importance of the game, the players need to elevate their playing and evolve like they did against PSG and Lyon. We need to win. We have to turn that need into goals and confidence. We have no other choice but to win."
Having been injured in the arch of his foot for a long time, Romain Alessandrini really wants it, especially after a personal performance against Bilbao that he himself considered poor. "Saint-Etienne is a tough team to handle and has very good players. They won in the Ligue Europa on Thursday, which has given them confidence. Were playing at home, it's up to us to pack the stands. More than ever, we need to get points in order to finish as high as possible in the rankings."