Lens dominated last round away at Reims and cornered the opponent many times. Even if they couldn’t find the net (finished 0-0) the offensive game had a good flow and especially forward Coulibaly seem to have an increased playing appetite.
Fullback Baal was out injured (may miss again) but the left side was once again Lens’ main weapon. Most of Lens’ actions were started by fullback Boulanger, continued by play-maker Valdivia who got engaged in fast paced actions with forward Coulibaly.
Although they haven’t conceded the defensive phase didn’t look that good as the main strategy for stopping the opponent seemed to be agglomerating a certain area.
Most likely Lens will start in the same formula as there are no news regarding the injuries of defenders Baal and Landre.
Last round against Bordeaux Bastia remained in 10 with half an hour to go. Considering they had some problems while playing in normal conditions Bastia were a bit lucky to get away with a draw (finished 0-0).
Unfortunately individual skills are at low levels and prevent Bastia from getting more positive results.
Take play-maker Boudebouz for example. Coach Printant gave him freedom to move around as he pleases in order to feel more comfortable and achieve full potential. But Boudebouz gets lost in his own dribbling moves, slows down the play and in the end losses possession.
Since making a difference through individual skills is out of the question, Bastia rely primarily on long balls thrown inside the penalty box.
Of course they try to compensate by being a well glued group and most the times they succeed.
Guests will miss defensive midfielder Cahuzac who is suspended.
Taking in account recent performances most likely Lens will be the ones taking the initiative from the start, but with Bastia being disciplined and organized hosts will struggle to find any open spaces.
UPDATE: Lens will miss offensive players El Jadeyaoui and Touzghar. Bastia will again have to do without wingers Ayite and Mabolou.
Lens: Belon, Ru.Riou – Ab.Ba, Baal, Boulenger, Gbamin, Cavaré, Fradj, Kantari – Bourigeaud, Cyprien, Le Moigne, Nomenjanahary, Valdivia – Chavarria, Ad.Coulibaly, Guillaume, Madiani, Seck
Bastia: Areola, Vincensini – Cioni, Squillaci, Modesto, Palmieri, Marange, Djiku, Peybernes – Ab.Keita, Romaric, Gillet, Boudebouz, Vincent, Goncalves Nogueira – Ongenda, D.Cissé, F.Koné