Lille took the lead early last round away at Monaco and only concentrated on defending afterwards. With a bit more courage they could have got a somewhat easy victory but instead they were happy with that minimum advantage and ended up under constant pressure (finished 1-1).
There is a definite improvement in Lille’s game thanks to young play-maker Lopes. His skills are really impressive and he is simply bursting with confidence regardless the opponent or the score.
He is exactly what Lille needed, a bit of speed and inventivity upfront. Hopefully when Marvin Martin will return from injury coach Girard won’t forget Lopes on the bench and instead will find a solution for both of them to play. It will be a mistake to do otherwise, as if there’s one player capable of improving Lille’s offensive phase that’s 18 years old Lopes.
Lille are still without fullback Beria, while central defender Basa and winger Mendes are doubtful.
The game between Nantes and Montpellier was very balanced and Nantes were a bit fortunate to get all 3 points in the end.
There is determination as players run a lot, but unfortunately for them most the times is simply without purpose. The level of creativity in midfield is one of the lowest in Ligue1. Nantes also can’t rely on strikers to take initiative and score out-of-nothing as Shechter, Bammou and Aristeguieta are simply Ligue2 material.
The defensive phase also started to suffer. That’s mainly because of the fragile support provided by defensive midfielder Hansen. He is newly arrived but besides having a weird haircut Hansen hasn’t impressed in any way, on the contrary, he is slow and hesitant in interventions.
Judging by their playing style it seems Nantes aren’t aware of their offensive deficiencies and adopt the same attitude both home and away (they don’t defend on 2 lines). Lille should be able to take advantage of that, especially now having more speed and vision thanks to play-maker Lopes. Lille -0.75 at 2.01
UPDATE: Basa and Mendes aren’t fully recovered so they will miss.
Lille: Enyeama, Elana – Corchia, Souaré, D.Sidibé, Kjaer, Rozehnal, Soumaoro – Mavuba, Balmont, I.Gueye, S.Meité, Delaplace, R.Lopes, Mar.Martin – Rodelin, Roux, Origi, Frey
Nantes: Badri, Dupé – Alhadhur, I.Cissokho, Djilobodji, Hansen, Veigneau, Vizcarrondo – Bedoya, Deaux, Nkoudou, B.Touré, Veretout – Aristeguieta, Bammou, Bangoura, Gakpe, Shechter, Audel