Seeking to bounce back from a humiliating defeat at the hands of Brest, Ligue 1 high-flyers Lens welcome Angers to the Stade Bollaert-Delelis for Friday evening’s encounter.
Franck Haise witnessed his side go down 4-0 to Les Pirates last time out, while the visitors marched to a 1-0 success over Lorient.
Having put four unanswered goals past Troyes before the international break, Lens travelled to Brest seeking to establish their dominance once more, but Haise’s men would be the ones to end up on the wrong end of a four-goal thrashing at the Stade Francis Le-Ble.
Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong for Sang et Or on the day, as Steve Mounie, Brendan Chardonnet and Romain Faivre put Brest 3-0 up in the first half, and Jeremy Le Douaron would round off the scoring before substitute Arnaud Kalimuendo saw red.
A shell-shocked Lens have made a habit of winning one then losing one in the top flight – which is certainly a good omen for them ahead of Friday’s clash – and they have now dropped to fourth in the table amid their inconsistent streak.
Haise’s side would temporarily rise back up to second with all three points on their own turf, and while they continue to struggle for inspiration on rival turf, Sang et Or welcome Angers to the Stade Bollaert-Delelis on a three-game winning streak at home.
The hosts have also conceded just two goals in their last five in front of their own supporters and have certainly proved that last season’s memorable top-half finish was no fluke, but Angers have been something of a surprise package themselves this term.
While Lens were being taught a footballing lesson by Brest, Angers sought to snap a four-game winless streak during the visit of lowly Lorient, but the heroics of Paul Nardi in the Merlus goal thwarted Les Scoistes’ efforts to do just that.
However, Lorient midfielder Samuel Loric had a Ligue 1 debut to forget as he tripped Jimmy Cabot in the area, allowing Thomas Mangani to rifle home the resulting penalty in a much-needed 1-0 win for Gerald Baticle’s side.
Angers had quickly risen into contention for a European place before their woeful winless run leading up to the international break, but all three points against Lorient means that they are still firmly in the mix as they lie sixth in the table – just three points adrift of Lens.
Baticle’s men did not lose their goalscoring touch during their winless streak and have now scored in 13 of their 14 Ligue 1 games this season – including every away fixture – but they have also failed to win any of their last six in the road, drawing five of them.
One would not put it past another stalemate this weekend – with the most recent encounter between the two sides in February ending in a 2-2 draw – but Angers prevailed 3-1 on Lens’ turf back in November.
Lens Ligue 1 form:
Angers Ligue 1 form:
We say: Lens 2-1 Angers
Angers do not do low-scoring affairs away from home and have no problem finding the back of the net on rival territory, but their alarming winless streak in such games will have Lens licking their lips.
Sang et Or seem to find a sixth gear when playing in front of their own fans and will be desperate to prove that the humbling at Brest was simply a one-off, so we are backing the hosts to return to winning ways in this battle.