Bastia were under heavy domination last round away at Bordeaux, but due to pragmatism they returned home with 1 point (finished 1-1).
Although only 4 games have been played so far, by now we can understand Bastia simply loves to defend and play on counters, especially when opponents don’t hesitate in taking initiative. It happened against Marseille (3-3), against Toulouse (Bastia won 1-0) and against Bordeaux last round (1-1).
Bastia have an impressive power of endurance so they are good at creating walls. They also seem confident on counters, even if play-maker Boudebouz has yet to achieve full potential and as a consequence their game is slow.
The only vulnerability seems to be left fullback Palmieri who can be easily outplayed even by the most inexperienced opponent. For this game Bastia may also have some difficulties on the right side as fullback Diakite was involved in an international game on the African continent and tiredness may accumulate.
Bastia may once again miss defensive midfielder Cahuzac due to injury.
This is a pretty bad timing for having problems on the flanks, as Lens rely a lot on wingers for creating actions and delivering decisive passes for the lone striker or penetrating inside the penalty box themselves. Building on the wings is actually Lens’ favorite technique.
Last round they made an impressive comeback and won 4-2 after being 1-0 down early in the game. They played against 10 for about 1 hour but that shouldn’t take away any of their credit. All players are in good form, but by far the ones most active are wingers and the striker.
Forward Nomenjanahary got out injured last round but is once again available.
For Bastia this game will be a first this season as Lens is a different kind of opponent. Lens won’t adventure upfront so Bastia will have nothing to do except taking initiative or accepting a boring game of waiting. Most probably Bastia will try to take charge of the game, but with their fullbacks in shaky condition Lens’ wingers should be able to exploit on counters. Lens +0.5 at 1.95
UPDATE: Newly arrived young Ongenda is in the squad for Bastia.
Bastia: Areola, Leca – Modesto, Palmieri, Squillaci, Peybernes, Romaric, Marange – Gillet, E.H.Ba, Rodriguez – Boudebouz, F.Ayité, Maboulou, Pino, Mokulu, Ongenda, Tallo
Lens: Belon, Riou – Ba, Baal, Cavaré, Gbamin, Kantari, Landre – Bourigeaud, Cyprien, El Jadeyaoui, Le Moigne, Nomenjanahary, Valdivia – Chavarria, Coulibaly, Guillaume, Touzghar.