His time at Norwich City will always be remembered as a complete failure, but Ricky van Wolfswinkel is picking up the pieces of his career and has begun to turn things around at Saint-Etienne. Currently on loan from the Canaries, the Dutchman will be eager to continue his hot-streak when Les Verts take on Nice at the Allianz Riviera on Sunday.
In his last 10 games for the club, the striker has scored four and set up two, including a key goal in the derby against Lyon and the winner in the 1-0 win over Bastia.
With main striker Mevlut Erding still out injured, Van Wolfswinkel is the only central striker the club has left, it is a lot of responsibility, but he seems to be taking it in his stride.
After that fantastic 3-0 win over rivals Lyon, Saint-Etienne are one of the in-form teams in the league, but will travel to the south of France are their defeat to Dnipro saw them eliminated from the Europa League. It will be heart-breaking to go out after being so close to making it to the knock-out stage, but now they need to make sure they are playing in European competition next season and use this experience to their advantage. For that to happen they need Van Wolfswinkel to continue to impress.
Christophe Galtier's men are in fourth place currently, but with Bordeaux losing on Saturday, there is a chance to put some daylight between fourth and fifth and also reduce the gap to Lyon in third.
Last weekend Nice beat Caen 3-2 at the Stade Michel d’Ornano, it was their first win in six games, a much needed result for Le Gym, but their home form has been terrible of late, and the 1-0 win over Lille in September was their last victory at their new stadium.
Puel’s away form is keeping them out of the relegation battle, but the longer it continues the further they are likely to drop.
Saint-Etienne will want to pray on Nice’s poor home form and make it four wins on the bounce.Nice are in 11th place, they can’t move up with a win, but it would keep them ahead of the relegation pack. Guingamp, Lille and Toulouse all have a chance of leap-frogging Puel’s men with a win Sunday.
Expect a hotly-contested affair, but Saint-Etienne’s fatigue and Nice’s home form could cancel each other out. Perfect for Van Wolfswinkel to rise up and become the hero once again.