Saturday, 20 May 2017

Lille - Nantes

PICK: Nantes AH +0,25 @1,83 PINNACLE 3/10

Stade Pierre-Mauroy will host match between 12th placed Lille and 7th placed Nantes. Both teams were pretty in bad situation after half of the season, but things got better in second half.

Lille who's manager from the next season on will be Marcelo Bielsa, continiues with underperforming. After one good week in April, when they won against Guingamp and Montpellier, they added two defeats (Metz, Lille) and I believe that players are just waiting for season to finish. They are the second worst team when it comes for home matches with 6 wins, 3 draws and 9 defeats. There will probably be some changes in the squad, as Lopes will be back, while young attacker Martin Terrier is with internationals u-20 team.

Nantes is in rock solid form, 4th best team in France since Christmas and as I've said many times, under Conceiçao, this team is performing totally differently. Atmosphere in club is amazing. Riou is still injured, but Dupé is in great form so that's not a negative point for Nantes. Conceicao managed to create a strong lineup, with stable 4 in defence and even more important stable, I would even say crucial figures of the team in the middle of the pitch - Rongier and Gillet are playing enourmously in last part of the season. Team is in top3 when it comes to stolen balls from opponent and only Monaco and thanks to the referee - Lyon managed to defeat them in last 10 away matches. Besides Riou, Harit will miss the match as well, as he is with international selection, but Conceiçao has still possibility to pick between Illoki, Kacaniklic, Pardo and Thomasson for two wing positions.

I am seriously doubtful, that Lille is strong enough to beat this team of Nantes. They won against them in cup, but it was a clear miracle that they succeeded in this match (it was a cup match). Nantes was better in all segments of football, but one mistake in defence and penalty for Lille decided the match. Sala missed two "impossible to miss" chances, and I believe that it will be different tomorrow. Moreover, with Nakoulma in attack, Sala is more useful player and 4-4-2 formation of Nantes, with many adjustments works really good, so I expect problems for Lille team. It's true that with Bielsa arrival, Lille players needs to prove themselves if they want to stay in the team after summer transfer window, but I trust much more to the team which is in super form, under super atmosphere and performing really good recently. Against Guingamp which is pretty decent, we could say solid mid-table team this season, they were all over the pitch. Guingamp was not able to make 2 passes without being pressed by Nantes players, and I think that nothing will change against Lille. I need to add, that if PSG will win against Angers in French cup (I am sure that they will) 6th placed team will play in Europe league. Why am I saying this if Nantes is 7th? Yes, Nantes is 7th with only a point more than Saint Etienne and Rennes, but situation over Lyon and Bešiktaš is still unclear. If Lyon will be baned from UEFA competitions for 2 years as promised, then 7th place will bring you to the Europa league as well, so we cannot say that Nantes have nothing to play for!

FT: 3-0

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