Lille v Angers – Stade Pierre Mauroy at 18:00 GMT +1
Last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up Lille were expected to regress in 2019/20 after a tumultuous summer of comings-and-goings. Standout stars Nicolas Pepe and Thiago Mendes were the most high-profile departures from the Stade Pierre Mauroy, although Les Dogues have spent plenty of cash on new recruits.
Lille are preparing for their first taste of Champions League football since 2012 and the results have been mixed thus far in 2019/20. Les Dogues have continued their almost unblemished efforts on home soil by beating Nantes and St Etienne, but unexpected defeats at Amiens and Reims have stalled potential progress.
Both losses have followed similar patterns. Christophe Galtier’s group went down 1-0 at Amiens after playing more than half the game with 10 men following the sending-off of Boubakary Soumare. The northerners struggled from the off to impose their authority on proceedings at Reims and were handicapped by a red card to Yusuf Yazıcı early in the second period.
Galtier relished the opportunity to work with his players during the international break and the highly-rated boss is confident the squad can find their feet, and consistency in September. The 53-year-old arrived at the club in 2017, steering Les Dogues clear of relegation trouble and is adamant further progress can be made with LOSC, potentially starting on Friday night.
Lille too good to turn down
Lille have been chalked up as attractive 1.88 favourites to pocket maximum points from their contest with Angers at the Stade Pierre Mauroy on Friday night. The hosts have W18-D7-L6 when welcoming Ligue 1 opposition here under Galtier, including W15-D4-L2 since the start of last season.
Les Dogues therefore own a 71% win ratio as hosts in league action over the past 13 months, a return that would imply odds of 1.40 would be more accurate. Indeed, backing the hosts at average match odds throughout that 21-game spell would have returned handsome 11.10 points profit from level stakes.
I’m happy to follow suit again on Friday night despite visitors Angers always offering up a relatively tricky test. Les Scoistes are functional rather than flashy, although the majority of their best work under long-term boss Stephen Moulin is done on home soil with the guests losing eight (40%) of their past 20 road trips.
Angers’ only away day this term resulted in a 6-0 mauling at Lyon and Les Scoistes have lost 15/24 (63%) of trips to top-six teams since arriving in France’s top-flight, as well as all four trips to Champions League qualifying sides last season, shipping 14 goals in the process.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Lille -0.50 at 1.880
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.