St Etienne 2.35, Draw 3.20, Lyon 3.10 – Sunday 20.00 GMT
After PSG - Marseille, this is the biggest game in French football. The Derby du Rhone between St Etienne and Lyon is on Sunday and it is even better when the two teams are near the top of the table. Les Verts are 6th while Lyon are third, just four points behind the leaders Marseille and four points clear of their enemy. But the momentum is clearly on the visitors’ side.
Lyon are unbeaten in their last 10 league games. Prior to their draw at Bastia (0-0) last weekend, they had won their last five. On the other hand, St Etienne are struggling. They have drawn their last three games. They recorded only two victories in their last eight Ligue 1 matches. Playing in the Europa League pumps a lot of energy out of them and they are struggling to play in both competitions. Offensively, they have problems scoring as well: only five goals in their last nine games in all competitions. Mevlut Erding is still a big doubt for Sunday which is not going to help either.
But most importantly, psychologically, St Etienne have a problem in this derby. The last time they beat Lyon at home in the league was more than 20 years ago. They have actually lost their last six encounters with their rival.
Psychologically, Lyon have a clear advantage then and based on previous experiences at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard, they will arrive there with a lot of confidence. They still have Grenier and Gourcuff out but the squad knows how to cope without them. Lacazette has been the key player this season with 11 goals and four assists in 14 Ligue 1 games. Lyon will rely on him massively once again on Sunday.
But the difference for Lyon is that, while St Etienne played in the Europa League on Thursday evening, they had the whole week to get ready for this derby. And I can’t see St Etienne getting anything from it. I think Lyon will get a seventh win in a row in St Etienne.
Alexandre Lacazette is favourite to score first at 5.40. My best tip is Lyon to win without conceding a goal at 5.00.
Score prediction: St Etienne 0 Lyon 1 at 9.00