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French Cup winners take on St Etienne in opening round

Guingamp had a mediocre season, but at the end of the final round, they could consider themselves happy for what they’ve accomplished. On one hand, they avoided relegation in the final rounds, on the other they managed to win the French cup for the second time. The back-to-back victories over Rennes were quite impressive, especially with Guingamp prevailing on both occasions by two goals to none.

They were clearly not in the best shape, but their opponents suffered a defensive meltdown that allowed both goals in a quick succession without being able to score one of their own. Now that the new season is at the horizon, the hosts will need to accumulate more points in front of their fans, to avoid another late-season thriller. The worst-case scenario has been averted, but Guingamp can’t afford to wait until the final round to find out whether they will be playing among the top French teams or in Ligue 2.guingamp

The visitors are no pushovers, but they have a lot of work to do when playing on the road, where they lost seven games last season. They also allowed a lot of goals and they depend heavily on the manner in which their own offensive performance. St Etienne has pretty high expectations for the upcoming season, as they hope to finish on the podium and play in the Champions League next season.

Very little has changed in their starting formation and the fact that the offensive was not reinforced is particularly worrisome for St Etienne. Last year, there were two midfielders that scored most of the goals, but in the absence of worthy replacements, manager Galtier will have no choice but to use Mollo and Gradel once again. Add to this the fact that Monnet-Paquet is missing due to a red card seen in the last round of the regular season and it is pretty obvious that the visitors won’t have too many options upfront.

Guingamp lost three games in a row, including the super cup against PSG, but they didn’t play badly and the match could’ve gone either way. Yatabare was denied a goal in the first half, but he remains their most prolific striker and a perpetual danger for any team. He is going to spearhead the offensive and he doesn’t need too many opportunities to score, although it is safe to assume that St Etienne’s shaky defense will provide him with just enough to become dangerous.

St Etienne is a force to be reckoned with when it plays at home, but on the road they are a mediocre team at best. Guingamp can take advantage of their defensive weakness and even though they will be without Sankhare and Diallo who are also serving a one-game suspension, the hosts will prevail. The odds for this outcome stand at 3.30 at the time of writing which is tremendous value, but a better choice for risk-averse punters would be to wager on the hosts to win or draw.

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