Allez les Verts! acte IV

AS Saint-Étienne: 2017/18 Season Review

Here, we will be focusing on our Ligue 1 run-in and, looking more specifically at the final eight league matches of the season. Could we accomplish the unthinkable and qualify for Europe or, better still, dine at the top table with Europe’s elite in UEFA’s Champions League.

League table 29 games

31) Nantes 2-1 AS Saint-Étienne, 1 April 2018

A shock defeat when a victory was anticipated, especially after Loïs Diony put us ahead in the 27th minute. Nantes under Stefano Colantuono respond with two quick goals and put in a strong defensive display, which saw them come away with the three points.

“I did not see this one coming..!! A bitter pill to swallow, considering our upcoming run of fixtures.”

  1. Paris Saint-Germain
  2. AS Monaco
  3. Olympique Lyonnais
  4. AS Saint-Étienne

32) AS Saint-Étienne 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain, 8 April 2018

We need to bounce back against champions-elect PSG – and we do. Paris Saint-Germain start strongly and seize the lead through Neymar but the game takes a sudden turn when PSG midfielder, Rodrigo Dourado is given his marching orders in the 40th minute. A Loïs Diony strike in the 59th minute, followed by an Ilija Nestorovski thunderbolt in the 61st sees us take home the three points in a snatch and grab performance.

PSG

“I cannot describe how happy I am with this result. The sending off undoubtedly helped us, but I must credit the players for bouncing back after going a goal down.”

vs PSG - Rocha Santos.png

  1. Paris Saint-Germain
  2. AS Monaco
  3. Olympique Lyonnais
  4. AS Saint-Étienne

33) RC Strasbourg 1-2 AS Saint-Étienne, 14 April 2018

Young, Perr Schuurs comes in to partner his tutor, Loïc Perrin at the heart of central defence and plays wonderfully. (This is definitely a little narrative we’ll be following closely throughout the save).

A really comfortable performance, with the growingly impressive, Calvert-Lewin finishing from an acute angle following a sweeping move and cross-field pass from Rémy Cabella.

Strasbourg

“Another three points on the road against very competent mid-table opposition, and a team supposedly at our level”.

  1. Paris Saint-Germain
  2. AS Monaco
  3. Olympique Lyonnais
  4. AS Saint-Étienne

34) AS Saint-Étienne 3-1 Troyes, 21 April 2018

With this being a home fixture against slightly weaker opposition who are presently situated towards the foot of the table – we are able to confidently field a youthful side. Perr Schuurs partnering Kévin Théophile-Catherine at centre back on this occasion. Vincent Pajot makes way for Kenny Rocha Santos. The fantastic result and performance is somewhat overshadowed by the injury to on loan talisman, Rémy Cabella.

Troyes

Troyes ratings

  1. Paris Saint-Germain
  2. AS Monaco
  3. Olympique Lyonnais
  4. AS Saint-Étienne

35) Montpellier HSC 1-2 AS Saint-Étienne, 28 April 2018

Arguably the toughest test of our league run-in. Montpellier sit directly below us on the table, albeit ten points behind. They would be without five first team players and, lucky for us – Casimir Ninga, the top scorer in Ligue 1.

Ninga.png

First half strikes from Loïs Diony and Souleymane Camara means the game is in the balance heading into the interval. Ilija Nestorovski comes on for the injured Loïs Diony (groin) at half-time. Man of the moment, Dominic Calvert-Lewin beats his man on the left to whip in a teasing front post cross for the on-rushing Nestorovski… Half volley… 2-1..!!!

MontpellierCalvert Lewin Montpellier

“You absolute wee dancer..!! Nantes have only gone and done us a favour by beating Lyon”. 

Lyon defeat

A pivotal moment as we leapfrog bitter rivals, Lyon, moving into third position and more importantly, the third UEFA Champions League slot.

Emoji

  1. Paris Saint-Germain
  2. AS Monaco
  3. AS Saint-Étienne
  4. Olympique Lyonnais

36) AS Saint-Étienne 2-1 Girondins de Bordeaux, 6 May 2018

Another game, and another 2-1 victory. This time, Bordeaux become our prey. The battle very much being determined in the middle of the pitch, with Hernani and Kenny Rocha Santos really bossing the midfield. Ilija Nestorovski is back on the goal trail, following a recent barren spell. Two in two now for the Macedonian International.

BordeauxSantos Hernani v BordeauxBamba attributes.pngBamba v Bordeaux

“Finding this almost unbearable. At the time of writing I’m absolutely buzzing with excitement. This run of form is unbelievable”

  1. Paris Saint-Germain
  2. AS Monaco
  3. AS Saint-Étienne
  4. Olympique Lyonnais

37) AS Monaco 2-2 AS Saint-Étienne, 12 May 2018

We approach this crucial clash, level on points with Lyon. Last seasons Champions, Monaco are safe in second place, so there’s not much at stake for Leonardo Jardim’s men. I set the team up in a defensively sound 4-1-4-1 formation, with both Bryan Dabo and Gabriel Silva tasked with focusing on their defensive duties at left and right midfield.

Tactic v monaco.png

“Not a good start..!! Fucking abysmal, if I’m being honest..!!!”

Dominic Calvert-Lewin replaces Perr Schuurs in the 65th minute. Bryan Dabo moves to right back and Calvert-Lewin is given license to get forward and create problems for the Monaco defenders.

“Get in there lads..!!!”

Second half strikes from Ilija Nestorovski (three in three) and midfield anchor, Hernani sees us leave the Principality with a share of the spoils.

Monaco

“I do not believe it..!!” My assistant, Lee Bullen alerts me to the news that Lyon have been beaten by Strasbourg..!!!”

League table 37 gamesLeague table 37 games 1 game to go.png

38) AS Saint-Étienne 3-0 Lille OSC, 15 May 2018

“Well, well, well..!! It all comes down to this….”

One solitary point is all that’s required…

Lille tactic.png

It’s a very cagey start from us, and Lille take the lead through some sloppy defending from a crossed ball. “Here we effing go..!!” Florentin Pogba, filling in for the suspended Cheikh M’Bengue, sends in a deep cross which is met and lashed home by Jonathan Bamba. “Yeessss..!!” 1-1..!! Rémy Cabella and Loïs Diony come on for Calvert-Lewin and Nestorovski directly after the interval. The former taking a knock to the head, and the latter having an absolute shocker. Jonathan Bamba teases and beats his man to whip in a mean cross towards the near post. Loïs Diony is on hand to dispatch a glancing header past the diving goalkeeper. 2-1..!!! Only now are we really coming to terms with how much we missed Diony during the first four months of the season… The way in which we managed to keep up with the leading pack during Loïs’ absence, really sowed the seeds for what we were able to achieve at the tail end of the season. Everyone really stepped up, and the unit we were able to create is something to be commended.

“I’m so, so proud of my players, and staff..!!”

Lille.png

In the first edition of Allez les Verts ! we stated our aims for season 2017/18, and I’d say that we 100% achieved what we set out to do and much, much more..!! Myself and the board agreed on a top half finish this year, but boy did we surpass those expectations..!!

League table final.png

“Right, I’m away for a whiskey and a King Edward..!! Oh, and to contact Thiago Maia’s agent…”

Champions League

Take care, and Allez les Verts !

 

Volume V - Squad assessment
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