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Oct 23, 2021 at 8pm UK
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Preview: Lille vs. Brest - prediction, team news, lineups

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

A maiden back-to-back Ligue 1 championship seems unlikely for Lille, yet they will be keen to keep their European football hopes alive when they welcome Brest to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Saturday evening.

It has not been the defence of their title Lille would have been hoping for in the early part of this season, with the reigning champions currently floating around mid-table.

Match preview

Having already lost more matches in the current campaign than they did in the entirety of their 2020-21 championship winning season, Jocelyn Gourvennec's first couple of months in charge of Lille have not exactly gone to plan.

Forced to wait until the third game of the season for their first win of the season, they were uprooted 4-0 by OGC Nice on matchday two, with Christophe Galtier triumphing during his maiden voyage back to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

Galtier became the first manager in 10 years to deliver a Ligue 1 title to the club from Northern France, yet his surprising exit at the end of last season left Lille with some post-season rebuilding to do.

Gourvennec was the man Lille turned to, yet the unassuming former Guingamp coach has failed to excite the Dogues faithful like his predecessor had.

A flurry of victories after the first international break of the season had seen Lille recover some of their early-season deficit, however, a surprise defeat to Clermont in the league last time out did nothing to dissuade Gourvennec's critics.

It was the first competitive meeting between them and the Ligue 1 newbies, with Vital N'Simba's first-half strike sinking the Lille ship.

That defeat saw them drop back into the bottom half of the table, meaning they enter their clash against relegation-threatened Brest just nine points above the side in the drop zone.

Whilst it may seem a healthy advantage, it pales in comparison to the gap between themselves and league leaders Paris Saint-Germain, which now sits at a staggering 14 points.

Brest's fortunes this year have not been much better than their Saturday opponents and much like Lille, they are desperate for three points.

However, unlike Lille, Brest are yet to taste victory this season and will travel up North in the midst of a 14-match winless streak, stretching back to the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

Whilst they may be against the odds in this tie, Brest will look back on their two matches against Lille last season, where the Pirates came out 3-2 winners in their first meeting, before sneaking a 0-0 draw in the return fixture as inspiration.

Yet, that draw did come at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, where Brest are winless in their previous five Ligue 1 matches, making a famous victory on Saturday evening an unlikely achievement, despite Lille's shaky form.

Lille Ligue 1 form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L

Lille form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Brest Ligue 1 form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • D

Team News

Already facing a tough task on Saturday evening, Michel Der Zakarian's task has been considerably harder given the number of Brest players absent through injury.

Lucien Agoume (calf), Romain Del Castillo (groin), Sebastien Cibois (tendon) and Christophe Herelle (knee) are all expected to be missing at the weekend, yet they should be back in action before the end of the month.

A similar thing cannot be said for Paul Lasne, who continues to recover from an anterior cruciate ligament injury and will face a tricky test if he wishes to be back before the end of the year.

In their absence, much of Brest's positive play has been pinned on winger Franck Honorat, who has netted three times this season and will once again provide the Pirates' biggest attacking threat.

Lille are not without their own injury woes, with a couple of absentees making Gourvennec's job a little bit trickier.

Leo Jardim's return could come sooner than expected, yet the goalkeeper will still be missing with a neck injury, whilst Sven Botman is likely to be out of contention until early November.

Burak Yilmaz was the standout man in Lille's attack last season, yet he has been upstaged by the efforts of Jonathan David, who has netted six goals in Ligue 1 compared to the Turkish international's three.

Lille's issues this season have come mainly in defence, where veteran Jose Fonte has been partnered with Tiago Djalo in recent weeks, and the pair have failed to impress.

Lille possible starting lineup:
Grbic; Celik, Fonte, Djalo, Mandava; Sanches, Andre, Onana, Bamba; David, Yilmaz

Brest possible starting lineup:
Bizot; Faussurier, Chardonnet, Brassier, Duverne; Magnetti, Mbock; Honorat, Faivre, Le Douaron; Mounie

We say: Lille 2-0 Brest

Improving on a title-winning season was always going to prove difficult for Lille, yet it is still a shock to see them struggling as much as they have.

Reaching the Champions League will now be their only target and, with PSG on the horizon, three points against Brest is near enough a must for an out-of-sorts Lille side.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals 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.Over 1.5:data

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