Lee Davey takes the opportunity to preview Les Verts’ opening Europa League encounter of the season against Rosenborg.
Christophe Galtier’s side will be looking to make a strong start to their Europa League campaign when they face Norwegian side Rosenborg on Thursday evening at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. Fresh from a 2-1 away win at Montpellier on Saturday night, Les Verts will be looking to transfer their good early league form onto the European stage.
St Etienne will be hoping that lessons have been learned from last season’s campaign when a lack of goals ultimately put paid to their European hopes. Galtier will be hopeful that his side improve on their five draws and one defeat culminating in just two goals scored, if they are going to progress to the knockout stages of the competition.
Rosenborg currently lead the Norwegian Tippeligaen League by eleven points and are coming in to the game on the back of a 1-0 home win at the weekend.
Their seven previous games against French opponents have resulted in just one win, a draw and five defeats and are without a win in their last six meetings against sides from Ligue 1.
The away side will have to overcome the infamous home support at ‘the cauldron’ if they are going to take maximum points back to Trondheim.
In a group containing SS Lazio and last season’s runners-up in this competition Dnipro, both sides will see this game as a must win, with arguably tougher tests in the group still to come.
Christophe Galtier may opt to freshen up his starting line up ahead of the game and with one eye on Sunday’s home game with Nantes.
Last time out, Laurent Roussey’s St-Étienne beat Rosenborg 3-0 in a UEFA cup tie in November 2008.
Players to watch
Rosenborg’s danger man is striker Alexander Toft Soderlund who has found the next twenty times so far this season. The Norwegian International has been capped 21 times and has been in fine form this season. Attacker Pal Andre Helland is another name that St Etienne will need to look out for. The attacker has 12 goals to his name this season and will want to add to that tally on Thursday evening.
St Etienne’s summer signing from Lille, Nolan Roux will be buoyed by his first goal for the club at Montpellier last Saturday and will no doubt be looking for more of the same on the European stage. Captain Loic Perrin will once again be expected to perform above and beyond the norm as the talismanic leader of this side should he be set to inspire Les Verts to a victory that they were unable to achieve in last season’s competition.
Both sides have been ruthless in front of goal in their respective leagues so far this season which points towards an entertaining game. Both need a strong start to the group and an open game is expected with plenty of chances created. The deciding factor could be the home support and St Etienne’s good home form which is rarely breached without a battle.
Prediction: St Etienne 2-1 Rosenborg