Exactly when Lille started to pick up form the winter break arrived. They were very hesitant in the first part of the season and only in December they managed to put together a couple of wins.
As it always happens with Lille for a couple of season already, the major problem is once again the lack of a skilled striker. Playmaker Boufal is both a creative midfielder and a finisher, and in these conditions it’s no wonder Lille have scored only 0.78 goals per game so far.
They even struggled in the Cup game away at 4th division side Amiens, game in which Lille could score only from a penalty (won 1-0).
Lille have transferred-in free agent Amalfitano, but they needed a striker, not another winger.
Nice changed system a couple of times this season, switching back and forth from 4-3-2-1 to 3-5-2. At the beginning of the season watching Nice play was simply a feast for the eyes of every football lover. But once they started using 3 central defenders, more midfielders began to get involved in the defensive phase, and the attacking potential diminished considerably.
Now we never know what coach Puel has planned for us, as he switches system from one round to the other taking everyone by surprise.
So far Nice haven’t made any official transfers but there are a couple of rumors regarding some departures, especially those of defender Gomis and even key striker Ben Arfa.
Games between Lille and Nice have always been very balanced (first game this season finished 0-0) and most probably this encounter won’t be any different. Hosts should be the ones holding possession, but they may find it impossible to penetrate inside Nice’s penalty box, especially if guests will once again use the 3-5-2 system with focus on defense.
UPDATE: Hosts will miss defender Basa due to injury. Nice are without defender Bodmer and Le Marchand and midfielder Koziello.
Lille: Enyeama, Elana – Corchia, D.Sidibé, Civelli, Soumaoro, Sunzu, Pavard – Balmont, Obbadi, Mavuba, Amadou, M.Martin, Bauthéac, Boufal, R.Lopes – Benzia, Tallo, Nangis
Nice: Hassen, Cardinale – Baysse, Boscagli, Pied, Genevois, G.Lloris, R.Pereira – Dada, Hult, N.Mendy, Seri, Wallyson – Ben Arfa, A.Mendy, Germain, Honorat, A.Ranieri