We’re back in business as the long awaited moment has arrived with Lille and PSG opening a new season in Ligue1.
Lille have changed a bit in comparison to last season especially in the defensive department which used to be their biggest strength. Central defenders Kjaer and Rozenhal left the squad leaving only experienced Basa behind. The only problem is Basa had a hesitant season and was far from his best.
Lille have tried to strengthen that compartment and brought in 22 years old Amadou from Nancy and Civelli from Turkey. Civelli is very experienced and accustomed with Ligue1 as he used to play for Nice until two seasons ago.
Basa and Civelli will make the central defense line with Amadou waiting for a chance on the bench. They need time to build playing relations, especially with since Basa was injured and hasn’t played in friendlies. At the moment there are no news in regards to his condition.
In midfield Lille transferred-in Obbaddi who had a poor season in Serie A at Verona but is very experienced with French football. He was one of the most important players when Monaco started to build the super-squad that promoted to Ligue1. Ball control and vision are just a few of his qualities but unfortunately Obbadi is already 32 and isn’t getting any younger. There is a big possibility that Lille will play in midfield with Balmont (35 years old) – Mavuba (31) – Obbadi (32). This will be a very slow and old midfield that will have a negative influence both on the attack and the defense. Winger Bautheac was also transferred but in recent seasons only his attitude made him noticeable as his skills seem to have evaporated.
Lille struggled offensively last season and they haven’t done much to improve the situation. On the contrary, attacking players Origi and Roux left and the replacements transferred-in are yet to prove themselves and may not have enough skills to help Lille progress (Tallo, Guillaume and Guirassy were transferred-in).
Bottom line is that Lille look weaker than last season when they only finished 8th.
PSG weren’t that active on the transfer market but they still have time until August 31 when the transfer window will close. Only two notable transfers for PSG, keeper Trapp and midfielder Stambouli. Stambouli is a very combative midfielder who played for Montpellier in the past and should substitute Cabaye on the bench who left for Premier League.
Last month PSG played more than just friendlies as their games were against high profile teams that have valuable players both on the field and on the bench. They also played against Lyon in French Super-cup and easily won 2-0 after a one sided encounter. From what we could see PSG have the same strategy as last season but they seem more powerful now since the squad has continuity (no important player left) and more confident and determined.
Ibrahimovic suffered an injury against Lyon and is not available for this encounter. Even without Ibrahimovic PSG should take all points against a squad that needs time to accommodate the newly arrived players and seem to be lacking speed and creativity. PSG -0.75 at 2.16
UPDATE: Lille will miss fullbacks Soumaro and Beria and midfielder Martin. central defender Basa is in the squad but he is not fully fit.
Lille: Enyeama, Elana – Basa, Civelli, Corchia, Y.Koné, Pavard, D.Sidibé – Amadou, Balmont, Bauthéac, Boufal, Obbadi, Mavuba, S.Meïté – Guillaume, Guirassy, R.Mendes, Rodelin, Tallo
PSG: Trapp, Sirigu – Van der Wiel, Aurier, Sabaly, Marquinhos, Silva, Luiz, Maxwell, Digne – Stambouli, Motta, Verratti, Matuidi, Rabiot, Pastore – Lucas, Lavezzi, Cavani, Augustin.