Lille v Nimes – Stade Pierre-Mauroy at 14:00 GMT+1
Lille’s last outing before the international break sees Les Dogues welcome Nimes to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy. Last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up – when 500/1 outsiders – were expected to regress after a tumultuous summer of comings-and-goings that saw standout stars Nicolas Pepe and Thiago Mendes depart.
However, the Flanders club are in safe hands with renowned recruitment specialist Luis Campos replenishing the squad. Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen has seamlessly slotted into Lille’s attack, whilst Jonathan Bamba and Jonathan Ikone remain in situ. Meanwhile, Benjamin Andre was an eye-catching arrival.
With canny tactician Christophe Galtier still on-board, there’s a lot to like about the hosts on Sunday. Sure, Lille face a demanding match-up with Chelsea in the Champions League in midweek, but both fixtures are on home soil and Les Dogues’ record at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy commands maximum respect.
Lille’s excellent home record
The northerners have pocketed a formidable 17 victories from 23 Ligue 1 outings here since the start of last season and a W20-D7-L6 return when welcoming domestic league opposition here under Galtier’s watch.
Les Dogues therefore own a 74% win ratio as hosts in league action over the past 13 months, a return that would imply odds of 1.35 would be more accurate. Indeed, backing the hosts at average match odds throughout that 23-game spell would have returned handsome 12.80 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 LOSC too. All the available evidence suggests the Flanders outfit should be backed on Sunday with a -0.75 Asian Handicap start.
Nimes can be opposed
Nimes were arguably the neutrals favourite in their first top-tier campaign since 1993. Les Crocodiles’ carefree approach under Bernard Blaquart saw the newcomers pierce the top-half despite operating under the league’s smallest budget. However, numerous key players left the club in the summer.
Jordan Ferri, Sada Thioub, Baptiste Guillaume, Umut Bozok, Denis Bouanga, Téji Savanier and Rachid Alioui moved away, robbing Blaquart of seven of Nimes’ top nine contributors according to the Expected Goals (xG) metric. The visitors have W2-D2-L4 in 2019/20 and been beaten in 12/22 (52%) on their travels, makng them easily opposable this weekend.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Lille -0.75 at 1.830
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.