LOSC Lille will be aiming to be crowned the new champions of Ligue 1 when they lock horns with Angers SCO on Sunday night at Stade Raymond Kopa.

One of the most fascinating title races in recent memory in Ligue 1 will come to an end this weekend as challengers LOSC Lille look to end defending champions Paris Saint-Germain’s dominance as the top-dog in French top-flight football. Heading into the final gameweek of the season, Lille are perched at the top of the table and need a win against Angers SCO to be coronated as the new champions of France.

Lille could have sealed their title triumph last weekend itself, but a goalless draw against AS Saint-Etienneย has meant that PSG are still with a chance of holding onto the title, given as they are just a point behind Christophe Galtier’s men. So,ย Les Dogues will need to grab all three points on Sunday night in order to lift the trophy, or they will have to depend on the outcome of the encounter between PSG and Brest.

Under Galtier, Lille have built a formidable team with a good blend of youth and experience, despite having lost some of their top players in recent transfer window, and deserve to be where they are in the table currently. And, irrespective of what happens on Sunday, there is no denying that they have done some amazing work this season.

As for Angers, they have managed to retain their status as a top-flight club for yet another season, having accrued 44 points from their 37 matches, which leaves them 12th in the table, four points clear of the relegation playoff spots ahead of their last match of the campaign. With this set to be manager Stephane Moulin’s final game in-charge after ten years with the club, the players will be aiming to send him off with a win.

The reverse fixture, played in January earlier this year, saw Angers pull of a surprise 2-1 win over Lille, courtesy of early goals from Romain Thomas while Burak Yilmaz scored the consolation effort for the leaders. Ahead of their latest meeting on Sunday, which has so much riding on it, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.

Team News & Tactics

Angers SCO

Angers will be without the services of Lassana Coulibaly, who is ruled out due to suspension while the likes of Ismael Traore, Abdoulaye Bamba, Sofiane Boufal and Ibrahim Amadou also miss out due to fitness issues.ย The hosts will line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with manager Stephane Moulin insisting that his team will look to make things difficult for the prospective champions, indicating at fielding the strongest possible lineup.

Paul Bernardoni will, thus, continue in between the sticks for the home team, with Romain Thomas and Mateo Pavlovic starting at the heart of the defence. Vincent Manceau and Pierreick Capelle ought to be the two full-backs, who will provide defensive support to the centre-backs for the most part but look to make forward runs every now and then.

Captain Thomas Mangani is a certainty to feature as one of the two central midfielders in the double pivot on Sunday. He is likely to be partnered by Antonin Bobichon in the middle, with the duo largely expected to sit behind the ball and provide defensive cover the the backline. The onus of fashioning chances in the final third is likely to fall on the shoulders of Angelo Fulgini, who will line up as the No. 10 for Angers.

Farid El Melali and Sada Thioub will provide a threat from the wide areas and look to support star forward and joint-top scorer Stephane Bahoken at the top for the home team.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1):ย Bernardoni; Manceau, Pavlovic, Thoams, Capelle; Mangani, Bobichon; El Melali, Fulgini, Thioub; Bahoken

Lille

Lille, meanwhile, will be without defensive mainstay Jose Fonte, who is out with a suspension. Other than that, coach Christophe Galtier does not have any other absences to deal with as he looks to clinch the league title on Sunday. As usual,ย Les Dogues will set up in their preferred 4-4-2 formation in front of goalkeeper Mike Maignan.

With Fonte unavailable, Tiago Djalo is expected to come into the side to partner Sven Botman, who is a wanted commodity in the transfer market, at the heart of the Lille defence. Zeki Celik and Reinildo Mandava ought to be retained as the full-backs on the right and left-sides respectively, from where they will look to make constant overtures into the attacking half with an aim to find the two strikers, Burak Yilmaz and Jonathan David from out wide.

The onus of holding down the fort in the middle of the park will fall onto the shoulders of Benjamin Andre and Boubakary Soumare, who will look to maintain their positional discipline while being aggressive in their pressing.

Renato Sanches, who made a substitute appearance in the previous game, should get a starting berth on the right-wing, with his ability to mix it up by either drifting centrally or staying wide, coupled with his quality on the ball likely to be of value. Jonathan Bamba, meanwhile, should hold on to his place on the left and look to cause problems with his directness.

As iterated earlier, Yilmaz and David are likely to be the two strikers with the likes of Yusuf Yazici and Timothy Weah providing options from the bench should Galtier feel the need to change things up.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2):ย Maignan; Celik, Djalo, Botman, Reinildo; Sanches, Andre, Soumare, Bamba; David, Yilmaz

Key Stats

  • Lille have won eleven of their last twelve away matches in Ligue 1.
  • Angers, meanwhile, have lost five of their last six games in the French top-flight.
  • Lille have kept a clean sheet in eight of their last ten league games away from home.
  • Angers have failed to score in only two of their 18 home games against LOSC Lille in Ligue 1, one of which was their most recent such fixture in February last year.
  • Lille have earned 80 points so far in the 2020/21 Ligue 1 – their highest-ever tally in a single campaign. Their previous best came in the 2010/11 season when they accumulated 76 points on their way to winning the league title.

Player to Watch

Jonathan David

It has been a fairly eventful debut campaign for the 21-year-old Jonathan David with Lille. Having arrived from Gent last summer, the Canadian forward had to wait for quite a while to open his goalscoring account in Ligue 1, but once he did, the 21-year-old has risen in stature, in the process becoming a key player for Lille.

So far this term, David has produced a respectable tally of 12 goals and 3 assists from 36 league games, scoring three in his last six appearances. However, the former Gent forward endured a disappointing game against ASSE last time out and needs to step up on Sunday to make sure that Burak Yilmaz is not left to do all the heavy-lifting for his side once again. A big game beckons the 21-year-old David.

Prediction

Angers 1-2 Lille

Angers have quite a few injury issues while they have failed to win five of their last six games in Ligue 1. Lille, meanwhile, are coming into the game on the back of a draw but have been very impressive on the road this season. So, they will be the favourites to win despite having failed to get points off of their opponents on Sunday once already this season.

The Hard Tackle is predicting Christophe Galtier & co. to pick up all three points in a narrow win to edge out PSG in the title race and be crowned the champions of Ligue 1.

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