Oct 18, 2020 at 8pm UK
Yilmaz (11'), Bamba (47'), Ikone (69'), Yazici (79')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Cahuzac (18'), Gradit (30')
Gradit (57'), Michelin (75')

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

:Headline: Preview: Lille vs. Lens - prediction, team news, lineups: ID:418589: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 match between Lille and Lens, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Second hosts third in the 2020-21 Ligue 1 campaign as Lille take on Lens on Sunday in the Derby du Nord of France.

The two fierce Northern rivals have not met since Lille defeated Lens 3-1 in May 2015, by which time Sang et Or had already been condemned to relegation into the second-tier, where they had remained until gaining promotion last season.

Match preview

It would be fair to say Lille have had a better time of things in recent years than their rivals, winning Ligue 1 for the first time in over half a century in the 2010-11 campaign, and finishing as runners-up in 2018-19.

Fourth place prior to the curtailment of last season due to the coronavirus crisis was no mean feat either, ensuring another campaign of European football for Les Dogues' fans.

After selling Victor Osimhen and Gabriel Magalhaes for big money to Napoli and Arsenal respectively in the summer, there would have been understandable fears of a regression in results and performances.

However, at present Christophe Galtier's side look set to compete at the top end of the table once more, winning four and drawing two of their opening six games.

Only Rennes, who sit ahead of Lille in first place based on goals scored, are also unbeaten in Ligue 1.

Burak Yilmaz, Luiz Araujo and Jonathan Bamba are part of a fluid front line who can all chip in, with the three forwards scoring two league goals apiece.

Jonathan David, who replaced Osimhen as the club's most expensive signing in the summer after being brought in from Belgian side Gent for £24m, is yet to open his account for the club but at only 20 years of age deserves plenty of patience.

While it is early days, of course, to be sitting third in the table after six matches in their first season back in the top flight is a tremendous achievement for Franck Haise's side.

The 2-0 win against Saint-Etienne prior to the international break was Lens' fourth win in five matches; they have remained unbeaten since a 2-1 loss at Nice on the opening day, with the 1-0 win against Paris Saint-Germain a notable highlight which set a benchmark for the rest of the campaign.

Former Chelsea winger Gael Kakuta and Cameroon striker Ignatius Ganago arrived in the summer, with both making an instant impact at the newly-promoted side. Only Metz's Ibrahima Niane has scored more goals than the dynamic duo's tally of four apiece so far in this season's Ligue 1.

Indeed, Ganago, who scored the winner against PSG, is currently scoring a goal at an incredible rate of every 77 minutes, which is unrivalled across the league.

Lille may well head into this match as favourites, but they will certainly need to keep tabs on Lens' front line.

Lille Ligue 1 form: DWWDWW

Lens Ligue 1 form: LWWWDW

Team News

Veteran defender Jose Fonte tested positive for coronavirus during the international break, meaning his young compatriot Tiago Djalo may replace him, but otherwise Galtier looks to have a clean bill of health heading into the derby.

France international Jonathan Ikone has found himself on the bench in recent weeks and may have to remain patient given the form of the aforementioned attacking players currently ahead of him in the pecking order.

Haise is a little less fortunate in terms of availability, with Clement Michelin (ankle), Cheick Traore (Achilles) and Issiaga Sylla (calf) set to miss out on the trip to Stade Pierre Mauroy.

Seko Fofana and Charles Boli should be fit enough to make the bench, with Massadio Haidara continuing to deputise at left wing-back in the absence of Sylla.

Lille possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Celik, Djalo, Botman, Bradaric; Araujo, Andre, Sanches, Bamba; David, Yilmaz

Lens possible starting lineup:
Leca; Gradt, Bade, Medina; Clauss, Cahuzac, Doucoure, Haidara; Kakuta; Ganago, Sotoca

We say: Lille 2-1 Lens

Derby du Nord tends to be a feisty affair and with such a long gap between the last meeting between two sides both flying high in the table, we do not expect it to be any different on Sunday.

Lille do have home advantage and more quality throughout their side, though, so while the absence of Fonte in defence is a concern given the form of Kakuta and Ganago, we think they may just about get the job done.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win 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/Away:data

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