Preview: Lille vs. Lyon
The Ligue 1 weekend gets underway on Friday night when Lille welcome Lyon to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
Despite indifferent campaigns for both, the two clubs are still in European contention as we approach the final third of the season.
Lille enter the fixture in a strong position to attack the Champions League places in Ligue 1.
Les Dogues are sat in sixth, six points behind Monaco in third, but with all the sides below the top two of Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille showing great inconsistency, the door is open for anybody to take the final place.
Paulo Fonseca’s side have won three of their last five matches in the league, and even in the two games where they failed to find three points, they performed well.
Despite falling to defeat against PSG at the Parc des Princes, they scored three times and led with three minutes to go, but were undone by a piece of late magic by Lionel Messi.
The other of those games saw them draw at high-flying Lens last weekend, a result which is wholly respectably given Lens’ stubbornness against the best sides in the division this season.
Lille’s home form will be key if they are to make a late charge for the top three and it has been excellent up to this point – averaging over two points per game at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
They have not lost here since August against Nice, a run which now stretches back 12 games, but they will be tested by a Lyon side capable of so much more than they have shown this season.
Jonathan David could play a pivotal role for the hosts, and it was his equaliser that earned them a point at Lens last time out.
Only Kylian Mbappe has more goals in Ligue 1 this season than the Canadian, and David is on course for his best scoring season in Europe, as he needs three more to beat his 18-goal tally from the 2019-20 season with Gent in Belgium.
The reverse fixture between the sides was Laurent Blanc’s home debut in charge, and even though Lyon won, they would go on to pick up just two points from their following four home games.
A notable improvement on their home form of late has helped keep alive very faint hopes of Europe for OL this season though, via the league route.
Blanc’s men sit 10th currently, but are just six points off sixth, which, depending on who wins the domestic cup, could be enough for a European place.
Lyon themselves could be one of the sides to win it, as they are now the favourites to win the Coupe de France, having beat their upcoming opponents in the last 16 before seeing off Grenoble to set up a tie with Nantes in the semi-finals.
Toulouse and second-tier Annecy are the other two sides remaining in the competition, so Lyon will hope to keep the winning feeling going in preparation for that crucial semi-final.
Seven wins from their last 10 matches suggests Lyon are headed in the right direction at the moment.
Lille Ligue 1 form:
Lille form (all competitions):
Lyon Ligue 1 form:
Lyon form (all competitions):
We say: Lille 2-1 Lyon
Both clubs are among the sides in form in Ligue 1 at the moment, so it is tough to separate them.
With Lyon’s injury issues though, Lille may have the slight edge, especially when you factor in their fantastic home record.