Ligue 1 Matchweek 12 preview: Saint-Etienne vs. Lille (21:00h. CET) - Team news, lineups

Saint-Etienne will be desperate to end their torrid losing run when they play host to Ligue 1 high-flyers Lille at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Sunday evening.

The hosts were put to the sword 4-1 by Brest in their last fixture, whereas Lille go into this game following a 1-1 draw with AC Milan in the Europa League.

Saint-Etienne are without doubt the team that every side in the French top flight wants to face right now. Having overseen a seven-game losing run with Les Verts, it is no wonder that Claude Puel's future is being called into question.

While the departure of Wesley Fofana to Leicester City was always going to lead to some difficulty moving forward, not many could have foreseen Saint-Etienne's slump following an extremely bright start to the campaign, with Puel's side now winless since gameweek three.

Saint-Etienne did manage to pick up a 3-2 friendly victory over Grenoble Foot 38 during the most recent international break, but the Verts faithful were soon brought crashing back down to earth against Brest, who eased to a 4-1 victory over the out-of-sorts Saint-Etienne last weekend.

Puel's side gave it a real good go against Lyon just before the international break, but Brest handed a harsh reality check to Les Verts as they put four past Saint-Etienne in the first half, with Mahdi Camara's goal meaning very little in the context of the game.

No team in the division has endured a worse run than Saint-Etienne recently - even basement side Dijon have managed to play out a few draws - and the last thing that Puel needs is the visit of an in-form Lille outfit boasting one of the most-coveted talents in the league.

There was to be no repeat of that memorable night at San Siro for Lille in midweek, with Christophe Galtier's men unable to replicate their magnificent performance which saw them run out 3-0 winners in Italy.

Milan took the lead through Sami Castillejo at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, but an equaliser from Jonathan Bamba ensured that both European powerhouses walked away from that game with a point.

Perhaps the only surprise of that fixture was Yusuf Yazici's failure to increase his Europa League tally, although having notched up all three of his side's goals at San Siro earlier this month, it is no wonder that speculation surrounding a potential move to Arsenal has started to gather pace.

For now, though, Yazici will simply be determined to help second-placed Lille further close the gap on current leaders Paris Saint-Germain, with Galtier's men now only two points adrift of the champions following their defeat to Monaco last week.

Lille's most recent encounter in the league saw Les Dogues march to a resounding 4-0 victory over a struggling Lorient side, with Yazici bagging a brace while Luiz Araujo and Jonathan David - who scored his first goal for Lille at the 14th attempt - also got in on the act.

Saint-Etienne Ligue 1 form: LLLLLL

Lille Ligue 1 form: WWDDLW
Lille form (all competitions): DDWLWD

Saint-Etienne pair Wahbi Khazri and Romain Hamouma missed out against Brest through suspension, with the latter potentially in line for a swift recall to the starting lineup.

Camara notched up a goal playing in an unfamiliar right-back position last weekend, but Mathieu Debuchy is expected to reprise his regular spot in defence against Lille.

On the opposite side, Alpha Sissoko played in that fateful first 45 against Brest before being taken off, with Miguel Trauco set to return to the first XI here.

Lille trio Burak Yilmaz, Jose Fonte and Reinildo are all back for this one having sat out the win over Lorient through suspension, although the latter started against Milan and may make way for Domagoj Bradaric this weekend.

Galtier is already without the injured Renato Sanches and Zeki Celik, and the Dogues manager could be in a predicament at right-back with Jeremy Pied being forced off in the draw with the Rossoneri.

Tiago Djalo could be in line for a start in defence should Pied be ruled out, while Jonathan Ikone should feature from the first whistle in this one as well.

Saint-Etienne possible starting lineup:
Moulin; Debuchy, Kolodziejczak, Moukoudi, Trauco; Neyou, Youssouf; Nordin, Aouchiche, Bouanga; Hamouma

Lille possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Djalo, Fonte, Botman, Bradaric; Ikone, Andre, Soumare, Bamba; Yazici, Yilmaz

Source: Sports Mole / Ben Knapton

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