Lille v Metz – Stade Pierre Mauroy at 20:00 GMT +1
Lille suffered a damaging 4-1 midweek defeat in Valencia to leave their hopes of Champions League progression hanging by a thread. Les Dogues failed to earn their just desserts in matches against the Spaniards and Ajax prior to Tuesday night’s contest and even took the lead at the Mestalla before a late collapse.
Knowing victory was imperative if LOSC were going to challenge for a place in the knockout stage, Lille snapped terrier-like around Valencia as they knocked the ball around confidently in the opening exchanges. Meanwhile, Yusuf Yazici and Victor Osimhen were causing problems on the counter and confidence grew.
The latter broke the deadlock midway through the first-half although Lille were unable to add to their tally and eventually succumbed to pressure from the hosts despite goalkeeper Mike Maignan’s best efforts. Galtier admitted, “Until the 81st minute, we tried to stay in the game, to make changes to be more incisive. From the 81st to the 90th minute, though, it was a nightmare.”
LOSC now return to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy looking to enhance their already excellent record at home as Metz arrive. Last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up have pocketed a formidable 18 victories from 25 Ligue 1 outings here since the beginning of 2018/19 and a W21-D8-L6 return under Galtier’s watch.
Lille value to take top honours
The Flanders club therefore own a 72% win ratio as hosts in league action over the past 15 months, a return that would imply odds of 1.39 would be accurate. Indeed, backing the hosts at average match odds throughout that 25-game spell would have returned handsome 12.70 points profit from level stakes.
It’s been a remarkable revival under Galtier. 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 Lille too. All the available evidence suggests the northerners should be backed on Sunday with a -0.75 Asian Handicap start.
Newly-promoted Metz since second-bottom having been beaten in half of their 12 outings, as well as four of six games as guests. Les Grenats have also had to deal this week with the repercussions of a serious, high speed car accident involving two of their players, Kevin N’Doram and Manuel Cabit.
Left-back Cabit, “has lost feeling in his legs” following the incident last Sunday night when travelling as a passenger in the car that’s alleged to have been travelling at faster than 180kmph. Head coach Vincent Hognon will therefore be forced into a reshuffle for one of the club’s toughest away trips of the campaign.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Lille -0.75 at 1.860
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.