Time is running out for St Etienne and it’s looking more and more likely that the 10-time Ligue 1 champions will be taking part in the relegation playoff as they currently sit 18th, three points behind the safety of 17th-place and three points ahead of an automatically relegated 19th-place. They come up against a Reims side today that don’t have much left to play for as they sit firmly in 12th position, clear of relegation but out of reach for a top half finish. Reims are coming off a 2-1 home loss to Lens while the hosts have been on an awful run of form, losing three straight while only picking up one win from their last nine matches. If St Etienne do ultimately go down, it will mean the historic club will be playing in Ligue 2 for the first time in nearly 20 years.
St Etienne’s torrid season has in large part been brought on by their nonexistent defense. Les Verts have conceded 74 goals in the Ligue 1 season, second most only to rock-bottom Bordeaux. Playing in front of their home fans at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard hasn’t brought much of a respite, as St Etienne’s 36 conceded goals are the most home strikes given up this season. There isn’t much to suggest that things will turn around for the hosts either in these final two games as St Etienne has given up 12 goals in their last four matches. Reims should be confident of getting a result here as they have been able to maintain a consistent level of play both home and away. Les Rouges-et-Blancs actually have a slightly better away record with 22 points on the road compared to 21 at home.
We’re going to back Reims on the double chance as our bet for this one. This price is simply too good to pass up given the hosts dreadful run of form, even though they are the ones with more on the line. Reims have one of the league’s most underrated defenses and that solidity at the back makes them an extremely tough side to beat and keeps them alive in most matches.