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Auxerre vs St Etienne Predictions

  • 17:00
  • Expired
  • Stade de lAbbé Deschamps
St Etienne
  • BT Sport 2

Both Teams To Score

17/20odds when tipped
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Draw 1-1

11/2odds when tipped
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Tip Reasoning

  • Both teams scored in 11 of the last 13 Ligue 2 regular-season fixtures to feature Auxerre.
  • One division higher, meanwhile, Saint-Etienne have seen nine of their last 10 games contain goals at both ends.
  • Amongst Ligue 1 sides, only rock-bottom Bordeaux (91) conceded more than the 77 goals shipped by Les Verts this season, who have also conceded 15 goals in their last five road trips.

Relegation play-off should entertain

Thursday night sees the first instalment of the promotion/relegation play-off in France, after Saint Etienne avoided automatic relegation on a tense final day. The country’s joint-most successful club, who saw Paris Saint-Germain level their record of 10 top-flight titles this year, travel to Auxerre for the first leg, and given their recent defensive struggles, will not be banking on a clean sheet.

Pascal Dupraz’s men are on a six-match winless run, with only the dire form of Metz contriving to hand them this lifeline. Les Verts had the second-worst defensive record in Ligue 1, conceding 77 goals, and have shipped 15 in their last five away games, none of which, it should be added, were at PSG. However, nine of their last 10 games saw goals at both ends, and Saint-Etienne have only been shut out twice since January – a promising omen ahead of a tie featuring the away goals rule.

Auxerre, meanwhile, overcame Sochaux on penalties in a semi-final to reach this stage after missing out on automatic promotion by a single point. They took 37 points from their 19 home league games, so will be confident of making a strong start on home soil, but have also had their defensive troubles; Auxerre saw both teams score in 11 of their final 13 league games, and were the only Ligue 2 side to make the play-offs after averaging more than a concession per league game (39 in 38).

Goals likely as crucial tie gets underway

Given neither side has defended resolutely in recent weeks, as well as the unpredictability which comes with pairing a low-ranking Ligue 1 outfit with one of the second-tier’s best, backing both teams to score looks prudent, with the pressure of such contests always likely to lead to mistakes.

Meanwhile, a hard-fought 1-1 draw could be a decent correct score prediction – though these teams have only met once in the last decade, four of their last five head-to-head meetings have ended level, and a repeat would tee up Sunday’s decisive second leg perfectly.

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