Last round Lens played like Europa League candidates and they got a well deserved point against Montpellier (finished 3-3). Lens controlled the game and imposed the rythm, even if away from home and up against an opponent from the upper half of the table.
The major strength was once again the left side where fullback Ball engaged in many offensive actions with play-maker Valdivia. All of Lens’ goals originated from actions carried on the left flank by Ball and Valdivia.
If from an offensive point of view Lens looked pretty solid, defensively they were slow and easily outplayed. They use two defensive minded central midfielders but the support for defenders is superficial to say the least.
Fullback Sylla made a really disappointing first half and was substituted by Gbamin at half time. It will be interesting to see who will coach Kombouare prefer this round.
Nice had a difficult game last round against St Etienne, not only because the name of the opponent, but also because both sides played in 10 for about an hour.
Nice held more possession but had difficulties in approaching opponents’ penalty box. Once again they concentrated mostly on attacking down the wings and serving long balls inside the box. But with both sides playing in 10 nobody was willing to assume any-kind of risks and defending was the primary concern for both clubs.
Guests will miss midfielders Mendy and Eduardo through suspension but could welcome back defender Gomis and midfielder Hult after injury.
Lend picked up some confidence last round and surely they will want to finish the year in style. Most likely Lens will be more aggressive this round and the defensive phase could
be more neglected than usual. Nice’s mediocre fullback Palun will definitely have some headaches when trying to defend against Ball – Valdivia. But on the other hand Nice could have a clear path towards the net and score at least once, regardless their average offensive power. Over 2.25 at 2.02
UPDATE: Two defenders will make their comebacks, Kantari for hosts and Gomis for guests. Same bet.
Lens: Belon, Ru.Riou – Ab.Ba, Baal, Cavaré, Gbamin, Kantari, Lecoeuche – Bourigeaud, Cyprien, El Jadeyaoui, Le Moigne, Nomenjanahary, B.Sylla, Valdivia – Ad.Coulibaly, Guillaume, Madiani, Touzghar
Nice: Hassen, Pouplin – Amavi, Bodmer, So.Diawara, Genevois, K.Gomis, Palun, G.Puel – Digard, Albert, Bauthéac, Eysseric, Koziello, Vercauteren – Bosetti, Cvitanich, Pléa, Maupay