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Dec 6, 2020 at 12pm UK
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Preview: Lille vs. Monaco - prediction, team news, lineups

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

The pick of the fixtures this weekend in Ligue 1 sees second-placed Lille welcome fourth-placed Monaco to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Sunday lunchtime.

The two powerhouses are only separated in the table by goal difference and, depending on Paris Saint-Germain's result on Saturday, either could rise to the top of the rankings with a win.

Match preview

Lille ensured that their unbeaten record in the Europa League remained intact with a slender 2-1 victory over Sparta Prague on Thursday evening - a result which has confirmed their place in the round of 32.

Fans have become accustomed to seeing Yusuf Yazici notch up Lille's all-important goals in the Europa League, but this time it was his replacement and compatriot Burak Yilmaz who struck twice within seven minutes of being introduced to propel Christophe Galtier's men to victory.

Sparta surprisingly took the lead through Ladislav Krejci only a few minutes after being reduced to 10 men, but Yilmaz showed that he has not lost his goalscoring touch at the ripe old age of 35 and Lille sit one point clear of AC Milan at the top of Group H before next week's journey to Celtic.

Their trip to Scotland is nothing more than a dead rubber, though, and Galtier will undoubtedly be focused on improving his side's results in the league after managing to steer his side to just one win from their last five - a run which has included three 1-1 stalemates and a dampening loss to Brest last month.

Les Dogues have been unable to take advantage of PSG's own slip-ups in recent weeks, but Galtier's men find themselves just two points behind the champions, who must navigate a stern test at Montpellier to ensure that they remain top with Lille and Monaco hot on their trail.

Meanwhile, Monaco supporters are understandably desperate to see their club return to continental competition, but the absence of European commitments has certainly helped Niko Kovac's men domestically this season.

With 12 points accrued from their last four matches, Monaco are one of the league's most in-form teams right now and have stormed into contention for a Champions League place - with Marseille and Montpellier the only other clubs in Ligue 1 to have won their last four on the trot.

Monaco followed up their memorable triumph over PSG with a routine 3-0 victory over an out-of-sorts Nimes outfit last Sunday, with Sofiane Diop, Gelson Martins and Kevin Volland all on target against the 10-man strugglers.

Kovac's men have now amassed 23 goals from their first 12 matches of the 2020-21 campaign - a tally which is only bettered by PSG - and that is no surprise given the talent on show in Monaco's attacking ranks, who will need to be firing on all cylinders if Monaco are to stand a chance of winning at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

Les Dogues trounced Monaco 3-0 in last season's Coupe de la Ligue, but Les Monegasques have triumphed in seven of their last nine encounters with Lille in all competitions - including a 5-1 thrashing in their most recent meeting.

Lille Ligue 1 form: WDDLWD
Lille form (all competitions): WLWDDW

Monaco Ligue 1 form: DLWWWW

Team News

Lille are expected to make do without both recognised right-backs in Jeremy Pied and Zeki Celik once more, meaning that Tiago Djalo is in line for another start in defence.

Renato Sanches was not involved against Sparta but has returned to the training pitches now, so the Portuguese midfielder could play a part this weekend.

Yilmaz is sure to come back in for this one following his heroics in the Europa League, while Jonathan Ikone is also vying for a recall to the right-hand side.

As for Monaco, goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte is nearing a return but may not be given the green light to line up here, meaning that Vito Mannone will be tasked with keeping the Lille attack at bay.

Wissam Ben Yedder was restricted to an appearance from the bench against Nimes but will be holding out for a start here, with the 30-year-old netting twice in Monaco's 5-1 win over Lille last year.

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

Monaco possible starting lineup:
Mannone; Aguilar, Disasi, Badiashile, Henrique; Diop, Fofana, Tchouameni, Martins; Volland, Ben Yedder

We say: Lille 1-2 Monaco

Monaco have actually lost three of their last four games in Ligue 1 on the road, whereas Lille are unbeaten on familiar territory this season. However, Lille are sure to be fatigued following their European exploits while Kovac's men have had a full week to recuperate from their win over Nimes. Having already beaten PSG this season, Les Monegasques will feel capable of overcoming any opponent, and we are backing Monaco to come out on top in this top-of-the-table showdown.

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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