Life after Christophe Galtier has been expectedly difficult for Lille, with his successor Jocelyn Gourvennec struggling to keep the champions competitive this term. As it stands, Les Dogues are down in 12th, but they could leapfrog Friday’s opponents, Monaco, who sit just a place and only two points above them.
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Monaco vs Lille build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Having guided Monaco to third in Ligue 1 last season, former Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac has not enjoyed a similar run of luck this time around. Currently, The Monegasques are in the bottom half of the table, though they are currently on a three-game home winning streak in Ligue 1 (three goals scored each time).
Lille meanwhile have all but surrendered their Ligue 1 crown in these early stages. The difference between them and PSG after 13 games is 18 points, which is more than their actual total (16). They have also lost four of their last five Ligue 1 away games after going unbeaten in their previous 16, so Gourvennec will have to reverse that trend and fast.
- Monaco (vs Reims): Nubel; Aguilar, Maripan, Badiashile*, Jakobs; Golovin*, Fofana, Tchhouameni, Martins; Ben Yedder, Diop.
- Lille (vs Angers): Grbic; Celik, Fonte, Djalo, Mandava; Ikone, Andre, Sanches, Bamba; Yilmaz, David.
Benoit Badiashile and Aleksandr Golovin are both missing for Monaco through suspension, while Cesc Fabregas and Eliot Matazo remain out through injury. Amadou Onana’s sending off against Angers means he is unavailable for the travelling champions, and he joins Sven Botman and Leo Jardim on the sidelines, with the latter duo still recovering from a groin and neck injury respectively.
Burak Yilmaz to end patchy form?
Burak Yilmaz was a sensation last season as Lille wrestled the Ligue 1 crown off PSG, scoring the decisive penalty kick in a 2–1 away win over Angers, which secured Lille their fourth title in the club’s history. That spot-kick was just one of 16 strikes the veteran Turk fired home last season.
Unfortunately, things just haven’t clicked for Yilmaz since the summer. He took that title-winning form into the Euros, but Turkey exited the competition with a whimper, finishing bottom of Group A, while he has only found the back of the net twice since the new season kicked off.
Those two strikes come despite boasting an expected goals (xG) tally of 5.4. That negative differential of -3.4 is the biggest of any player in the competition this campaign. By contrast, in 2020/21 the 36-year-old had the biggest positive differential(+6 – 16 goals, 10 xG).
So, it’s not for the want of trying on Yilmaz’s part. If luck were on his side just a little bit more, he would be in and around the five-goal mark this term. That bodes well for Lille, as it underlines Yilmaz’s ability to get into goalscoring position, even if his shooting boots have eluded him in those dangerous areas recently.
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