Lille to lose ground in three-way Ligue 1 scrap
Lille and Nice do battle in Ligue 1 on Saturday evening as the season starts to reach its climax. The hosts have shocked the footballing world by going toe-to-toe with giants Paris Saint-Germain domestically, and also have Monaco for company in a top trio that have just two points separating them with four games left at the time of writing. The visitors have little to play for with Europa League qualification out of the question, but still have the quality to give the leaders a rough ride. Read our preview here:
The Fonte of knowledge
LOSC head coach Christophe Galtier continues to defy the odds by keeping his charges' noses in front of PSG, and he has in large part a commanding backline to thank for that, which is still very ably led by Portuguese veteran José Fonte. The former Premier League stalwart has been an ever-present in a defence that has only conceded 22 league goals, fewer even the Champions League semi-finalists in the French capital. His guidance has really helped Dutch youngster Sven Botman along, and Nice are unlikely to get much joy from floated crosses or set piece situations with the duo patrolling their own penalty area with aplomb. Elsewhere, the 4-4-2 shape has proved dynamic enough to make the most out of confounding the obvious weaknesses that formation tends to have in modern football. Both midfielders sit close to the back four out of possession, and Turkish striker Burak Yılmaz is enjoying a superb campaign deep into the autumn of his career.
Kasper the unfriendly
Romanian manager Adrian Ursea has not had the easiest time of it since taking over in December 2020, and has at the current time lost more of the 26 matches he's been in charge of than he's won. He will also have to contend without several key personnel for the trip to Stade Pierre-Mauroy, and chief amongst them will be Jeff Reine-Adélaïde, who last kicked a ball in anger at the start of February. Morgan Schneiderlin will anchor a midfield three, with the emphasis firmly placed on maintaining their composure and hitting their adversaries on the break. Danish forward Kasper Dolberg has had a poor season by his high standards, notching only five goals in Ligue 1. Even so, he cannot be underestimated, and will likely outpace the home defence if given the opportunity.
Not so Nice
Though their win over Montpellier was in effect a dead rubber, Nice have proven that they're not to be trifled with. They're not going to lie down and let Lille dominate from the outset, and a victory will have to be earned the hard way. Having prior knowledge of the PSG score could add undue psychological pressure on them, and bet365 have odds of 4.50 for a costly draw.