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Jan 23, 2021 at 4pm UK
LensLens
0-1
NiceNice

Cahuzac (61'), Fortes (68')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Atal (49')
Boudaoui (90')
/esi/1339/6_G_1_115733/index.html?art_id=431430&game_id=115733&sport_id=1&ESI

Preview: Lens vs. Nice - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Lens vs. Nice - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Ligue 1 clash between Lens and Nice, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Having just beaten Marseille in Wednesday's rearranged fixture, Lens will be aiming to march to back-to-back victories in Ligue 1 when they welcome Nice to the Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Saturday afternoon.

The visitors, meanwhile, are on a downward slope but have had a week to recover from last weekend's crushing defeat to Bordeaux.


Match preview

A major coronavirus outbreak in the Lens camp prevented their clash with Marseille from being played back in November, but Franck Haise's men navigated the rescheduled fixture with aplomb to take all three points at the Orange Velodrome on Wednesday.

Simon Banza's header just before the hour mark saw the European outsiders end a three-game winless run in the top flight as they moved to within one point of their midweek opponents - who have played a game fewer - and only five points now separate Lens from the top five after 20 matches.

Haise's side had been slowly drifting away from the big boys after a below-par start to 2021, but having now claimed their first win of the calendar year, the newly-promoted team will be determined to carry that momentum forward and, at the very least, secure a top-half finish.

Lens will break into the top six for at least a few hours should they win on Saturday, and with Marseille facing a daunting trip to an in-form Monaco side later on the same day, fans would not put it past Sang et Or to stay there for the time being.

However, the hosts' form on their own patch is certainly not what has propelled them into European competition, as Lens can only boast one win from their last six at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis ahead of the visit of Nice.

Meanwhile, Nice just cannot arrest their alarming slump with Adrian Ursea at the helm, with last Sunday's 3-0 humbling defeat to Bordeaux representing their fifth game in a row without a win.

Hwang Ui-jo, Paul Baysse and Toma Basic all struck in the second 45 to condemn Nice to their seventh home defeat from their last eight in all competitions, and only the bottom three sides in Lorient, Dijon and Nimes have taken fewer points on their own turf this season.

Les Aiglons are still eight points clear of the dotted line, but with Montpellier being the only other side in the top 15 without a win from their last five matches, Ursea's men are flirting with danger.

This weekend's visitors have only claimed one win in their last 10 top-flight attempts, but their form on the road - three wins, three draws and one defeat from their last seven - is rather respectable, and they do have a game in hand over most of the teams around them.

Nice enjoyed a 2-1 victory when these sides met at the Allianz Riviera earlier in the season, with both goals coming from the highly-rated Amine Gouiri, who has had a hand in nine of Nice's 22 strikes this season so far.

Lens Ligue 1 form: LWLLDW

Nice Ligue 1 form: WLDLDL


Team News

Banza was a surprise starter over Ignatius Ganago on Wednesday, but having repaid his manager's faith in him with the winner, he is likely to keep his place up top.

Yannick Cahuzac served a suspension in midweek but returns for this one, meaning that Cheick Doucoure could drop out of the midfield.

Issiaga Sylla and Clement Michelin are both options for change out wide should Haise shuffle the pack amid a quick fixture turnaround.

Nice lost midfielder Khephren Thuram to an apparent groin problem against Bordeaux, and the 19-year-old may not be risked from the first whistle here.

However, Ursea has been able to welcome Pierre Lees Melou back to the fold, so a straight swap in midfield is likely with Danilo Barbosa and Morgan Schneiderlin both sidelined, and Rony Lopes will also be out for another couple of weeks with a thigh problem.

Kasper Dolberg lasted 76 minutes last week in his first start since November, and the 23-year-old should lead the line again despite recent links with RB Leipzig.

Lens possible starting lineup:
Leca; Medina, Fortes, Gradit; Michelin, Cahuzac, Fofana, Haidara; Kakuta; Banza, Sotoca

Nice possible starting lineup:
Benitez; Bambu, Saliba, Nsoki; Atal, Lees Melou, Boudaoui, Reine-Adelaide, Kamara; Dolberg, Gouiri


We say: Lens 2-1 Nice

Lens' inconsistency has prevented them from breaking into the European places so far, but this game represents a prime opportunity for Haise's men to secure back-to-back wins for the first time since September. The visitors may have to do without a key player in Thuram, and even though their away form is relatively strong, we are backing Lens to take the spoils.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Draw:data



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Ligue 1 Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Lille26177246163058
2Paris Saint-GermainPSG27183661174457
3Lyon26167354243055
4MonacoMonaco27174656371955
5Metz2711883326741
6Lens2711883937241
7Montpellier HSCMontpellier27116104346-339
8Marseille2510873329438
9Rennes2610883330338
10Angers27106113242-1036
11Bordeaux2796122833-533
12Nice2795133339-632
13Reims27710103234-231
14Brest2794143949-1031
15Saint-EtienneSt Etienne2779112739-1230
16StrasbourgStrasbourg2685133440-629
17Lorient2775153351-1826
18Nimes2774162652-2625
19NantesNantes27412112742-1524
20Dijon2729161844-2615
Scroll for more - Tap for full version

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Ligue 1 Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Lille26177246163058
2Paris Saint-GermainPSG27183661174457
3Lyon26167354243055
4MonacoMonaco27174656371955
5Metz2711883326741
6Lens2711883937241
7Montpellier HSCMontpellier27116104346-339
8Marseille2510873329438
9Rennes2610883330338
10Angers27106113242-1036
11Bordeaux2796122833-533
12Nice2795133339-632
13Reims27710103234-231
14Brest2794143949-1031
15Saint-EtienneSt Etienne2779112739-1230
16StrasbourgStrasbourg2685133440-629
17Lorient2775153351-1826
18Nimes2774162652-2625
19NantesNantes27412112742-1524
20Dijon2729161844-2615
Scroll for more - Tap for full version
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