MX23RW : Monday, July 26 19:16:30| >> :600:646819:646819:
May 1, 2021 at 8pm UK at Stade Lille-Metropole
Yilmaz (13'), Celik (56')
Celik (21'), Claude-Maurice (27'), Lotomba (34'), C. (36'), Xeka (87')
Lotomba (48')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Preview: Lille vs. Nice - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Ligue 1 clash between Lille and Nice, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Lille will endeavour to take another giant step towards the Ligue 1 title when they welcome Nice to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Saturday evening.

The hosts put title rivals Lyon to the sword 3-2 last time out, while Nice returned to winning ways with a 3-1 success over Montpellier HSC.

Match preview

Lille coach Christophe Galtier pictured on February 14, 2021© Reuters

Burak Yilmaz - 35 but going on 25 - proved that class is permanent with an inspirational performance in last week's win over Lyon, who stormed into a two-goal lead in the top-of-the-table clash thanks to an own goal from Jose Fonte and Islam Slimani's strike.

However, Yilmaz's thunderous free kick gave Lille hope just before the break, and his strike partner Jonathan David proceeded to level the scores on the hour mark, before Yilmaz latched onto Yusuf Yazici's flick and dinked the ball over an onrushing Anthony Lopes to seal the win five minutes from time.

That result did not just effectively kill off Lyon's hopes of title glory, but it cemented Lille's place at the top of the rankings over Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco, who are still just one and two points behind respectively with four games left to go.

A mere three defeats from 34 matches this season is a remarkable return for Lille, and they have taken 10 points from the last 12 on offer in the top flight, so Christophe Galtier's men are gaining momentum at just the right time as they bid to finally dethrone PSG.

Lille's destiny is firmly in their own hands, but they welcome Nice to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy having won just one of their last five home games in Ligue 1, and another slip up on familiar territory could have fatal consequences as PSG and Monaco look to pounce.

Nice manager Adrian Ursea pictured in February 2021© Reuters

Nice were expected to struggle against Montpellier and their 11-game unbeaten streak without the injured Amine Gouiri leading the line, and Adrien Ursea's side could not have got off to a worse start as Gaetan Laborde headed La Paillade in front after just three minutes.

However, three unlikely goalscorers in Hicham Boudaoui, Alexis Claude-Maurice and Jean-Clair Todibo all struck before the break to propel Nice to a resounding 3-1 win over Montpellier - a welcome result following a draw with Reims and an embarrassing defeat to relegated Dijon beforehand.

Ursea's men are mathematically still in the race for Europe, but the ninth-placed Aiglons are currently 10 points adrift of the top five, so they would need to produce a shock win at Lille and hope that other teams slip up to keep their faint hopes alive.

Realistically, Ursea can only demand that his side consolidate their hold on a top-10 finish to conclude a topsy-turvy campaign, and even with the astute loan acquisitions of Todibo and William Saliba, Nice travel to Lille without a clean sheet in seven away games.

Les Aiglons did manage to hold Lille to a 1-1 draw back in October - when Patrick Vieira was in charge - and they have only lost one of their last 16 league games against Les Dogues, although that was a 4-0 thrashing at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in the 2018-19 season.

Lille Ligue 1 form:
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Lille form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Nice Ligue 1 form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W

Team News

Lille forward Yusuf Yazici celebrates scoring in October 2020© Reuters

Lille have almost everyone fit and raring to go for the final few weeks of the campaign, and Galtier is optimistic that Timothy Weah will return from a minor thigh injury in time to be part of the squad.

First-choice left-back Reinildo only appeared as a substitute against Lyon due to knee pain, and Lille manager Galtier has revealed that he has not taken part in every training session this week, so it remains to be seen if he will feature from the start.

Yazici has been restricted to appearances from the bench recently given the form of Yilmaz and David, and that is likely to be the case again here, despite his assist for Yilmaz's winner against Lyon.

Nice attacker Myziane Maolida has joined Dante and Jeff Reine-Adelaide on the long-term injury list, and Ursea has also conceded that the game will come too soon for star man Gouiri.

The youngster is being kept company by fellow starlet Khephren Thuram, who is also struggling to shake off a calf problem, but the Nice manager hopes that both players will be available to face Brest next weekend.

Boudaoui should keep his place in midfield over Pierre Lees Melou after finding the back of the net last time out, and it would not be surprising to see Ursea stick with the same XI from the win over Montpellier.

Lille possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Celik, Fonte, Botman, Reinildo; Sanches, Andre, Soumare, Bamba; David, Yilmaz

Nice possible starting lineup:
Benitez; Lotomba, Todibo, Saliba, Kamara; Schneiderlin, Boudaoui, Claude-Maurice; Atal, Dolberg, Lopes

SM words green background

We say: Lille 2-1 Nice

Nice are more than capable of making this a difficult outing for Lille, and their recent performances against Les Dogues show that this match has the potential to be a banana skin for the league leaders.

Galtier's side had to rely on the brilliance of Yilmaz to bail them out of trouble in Lyon, but that win would have done wonders for their confidence, and we can see Lille edging closer to title glory with a hard-fought win over Ursea's improving Aiglons.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Nice defender William Saliba pictured on January 17, 2021
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