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Ligue 1 | Gameweek 29
Apr 12, 2024 at 8pm UK
Stade Saint-Symphorien

2 - 1

Mikautadze (34', 45+3')
Van Den Kerkhof (20'), Traore (44')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Sotoca (13' pen.)
Gradit (44'), Diouf (45+1'), Machado (46'), Chavez (74'), Frankowski (78')

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

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

Relegation-threatened Metz can end a three-match winless run in Ligue 1 when they host Lens at Stade Saint-Symphorien on Friday.

Les Grenats came up short against Brest last weekend, suffering a narrow 4-3 defeat as they remain in 17th, three points behind Lorient for a relegation playoff spot, while Lens are sixth, a point back of Nice for a place in the Europa League following a 1-1 draw with Le Havre.

Match preview

Metz have just six matches remaining in their battle to avoid being relegated from the French top flight for the second time in the last three seasons.

Most of their fixtures played since February have been there for the taking, but Laszlo Boloni's men have rarely seized the opportunity, losing six domestic encounters this year by a single goal.

In seven of their last eight home matches in all competitions, Les Grenats wound up on the losing side, failing to score on three of those occasions, with each of those three matches ending 1-0 to the opposition.

Poor second-half showings have proven to be their downfall this year, with Les Graoullys being even or behind at the interval in seven of their 2024 top-flight contests and emerging victorious in only two of those instances.

Ligue 1 history suggests that their chances of remaining in the top flight beyond this season are slim as only one of 19 teams with their current number of points (23), counting three points for a win, have stayed up, and Martigues only survived relegation in 1993-94 because of Marseille's administrative relegation.

They have earned 11 points from their previous six domestic encounters with Lens while going unbeaten in their last five league contests against them at Stade Saint-Symphorien.

Last Saturday was a missed opportunity for Lens to gain some ground in the race for a Europa League place, failing to win for the first time domestically in 2024 when scoring the opening goal.

Franck Haise's men have dropped seven points domestically when scoring the opening goal this season, and those points could have them a point above Lille in fourth; instead, they are just three points above Reims in the final Europa Conference League qualifying spot as things stand.

Throughout the campaign, Les Sang et Or have often been guilty of being overly aggressive in their own penalty area, conceding eight penalties domestically this season, more than any side currently in the competition.

Lens have only gone pointless in one league contest away from home this year (2-1 to Lille), while they have not suffered consecutive away defeats in Ligue 1 since losing their opening three such top-flight encounters this season.

They may not be where many had expected at the start of the campaign, seeing as they finished second in this competition last season, but according to Opta's expected points model, Lens are overperforming based on their expected goals, which suggests they should be 11th in the table.

Les Sang et Or have failed to score in four successive matches in all competitions away to Metz and have not won an away contest in Ligue 1 against them since the 2007-08 campaign (2-1).

Metz Ligue 1 form:

Lens Ligue 1 form:

Team News

Benjamin Tetteh, Joel Asoro and Christophe Herelle are not expected to return from the injured list for Metz until late April, while Didier Lamkel Ze was questionable with a minor knock last week, featuring for only the opening 45 minutes.

Maxime Colin was on the bench for that clash, having previously missed time through injury, while Cheikh Sabaly and Danley Jean Jacques returned from their suspensions, with the former replacing Arthur Atta for the final 15 minutes plus stoppage time.

Ismael Traore notched his second of the campaign in their defeat to Brest, while Georges Mikautadze had a brace, giving him a team-high seven this season.

Last Saturday Lens were once again without Jimmy Cabot, who is nearing a return from an ACL injury, while Deiver Machado was back in the fold after missing a good portion of the campaign due to a groin strain, coming on for Jonathan Gradit for the final 11 minutes plus stoppage time.

Their leading goalscorer, Elye Wahi, who was surprisingly dropped from the starting 11 against Lille, was back in the lineup last week, while Abdukodir Khusanov was once again an unused substitute.

In their previous encounter, Przemyslaw Frankowski had the only goal for Lens against Le Havre, his third of the 2023-24 domestic campaign.

Metz possible starting lineup:
Oukidja; Kouao, Traore, Cande, Udol; Camara, Jacques, Sabaly; Jallow, Mikautadze, Diallo

Lens possible starting lineup:
Samba; Gradit, Danso, Medina; Aguilar, Abdul Samed, Fulgini, Frankowski; Costa; Sotoca, Wahi

We say: Metz 0-1 Lens

Both teams have a lot to play for, so we expect to see a tight defensive showdown, which should favour the visitors, who have only gone pointless twice this year in domestic fixtures decided by a goal or fewer.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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