MX23RW : Monday, June 14 22:40:55| >> :600:370780:370780:
May 16, 2021 at 8pm UK at Stade Lille-Metropole
St EtienneSaint-Etienne

Andre (26')

Neyou (21'), Khazri (47')

Preview: Lille vs. Saint-Etienne - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Lille and Saint-Etienne, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

With only four points needed from their final two games to wrestle the Ligue 1 crown off Paris Saint-Germain's hands, Lille welcome Saint-Etienne to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Sunday night.

Les Dogues eased past European hopefuls Lens by three goals to nil last time out, while Saint-Etienne solidified their position in mid-table by beating Marseille.

Match preview

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

At 35 years young, Burak Yilmaz is showing no signs of letting up anytime soon as he leads the Lille charge towards the Ligue 1 title, with the Turkish veteran netting a fourth-minute penalty before scoring a screamer all in a first half's work against 10-man Lens.

Yilmaz's strike partner Jonathan David would wrap up the points with a goal of his own on the hour mark as Lille overcame yet another hurdle in their pursuit of glory, and Christophe Galtier is tantalizingly close to ending PSG's spate of dominance in the French top flight.

Les Dogues remain three points clear of the reigning champions in what has now become a two-horse race for the title, and Lille need only secure one win and one draw from their remaining two games to lift the trophy - anything less will open the door for PSG to capitalise, however.

Lille were looking rather shaky when trying to juggle Europa League commitments alongside their title challenge, but they have taken 16 points from the last 18 on offer in Ligue 1 and continue to be indebted to their staunch defence, which has conceded a league-low 22 goals in 36 games.

Les Dogues have been far from perfect at home - winning just two of their last six Ligue 1 matches at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy - but friendly fixtures with mid-table sides in Saint-Etienne and Angers - both of whom have nothing to play for - is just what the doctor ordered for the champions-elect.

Saint-Etienne manager Claude Puel pictured in February 2021© Reuters

Saint-Etienne were given a helping hand by a calamitous defensive error from Marseille defender Leonardo Balerdi, but Claude Puel will not lose sleep over how the goal came about as his side secured a merited 1-0 win over Marseille in gameweek 35.

Wahbi Khazri's cross fell into the path of Balerdi as he set himself to clear the ball, but the Borussia Dortmund loanee completely missed his kick as the ball fell to Arnaud Nordin, who could make no mistake from close range.

Despite losing defensive mainstay Harold Moukoudi to an early injury, Saint-Etienne held on for a 1-0 win as they rose to 11th in the table amid their mini-revival, and the pressure is firmly off now that safety has been confirmed.

A torrid autumn and winter period has been consigned to history for Saint-Etienne, who have claimed four wins from their last six Ligue 1 matches - as well as three from their last four away from home - and a final-day clash with basement side Dijon should give them the best chance possible of pushing for a top-half ranking.

Saint-Etienne did manage to hold Lille to a 1-1 draw earlier in the campaign, but Les Dogues have navigated their last 19 home games unbeaten in the league against Les Verts, who most recently triumphed over the league leaders away from home in 1993.

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

Saint-Etienne Ligue 1 form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W

Team News

Renato Sanches in action for Lille on November 1, 2020© Reuters

Lille's midfield marshal Benjamin Andre is back from suspension and should slot straight back into the engine room over Xeka, with Renato Sanches unlikely to displace Leicester City-linked Boubakary Soumare alongside him.

Teenage attacker Isaac Lihadji (calf) is Galtier's only injury concern at the minute as the Lille boss gears up to meet his former employers, with the 54-year-old spending eight years with Les Verts before taking the reins at Lille.

Yilmaz's 15 strikes this season can only be bettered by Cristiano Ronaldo (27) for players aged 35 or over in Europe's top five leagues this term, and his red-hot form will see Yusuf Yazici restricted to a substitute outing once more.

Moukoudi was revealed to have suffered a hamstring injury as he was forced off after 27 minutes against Marseille, and he is now considered a major doubt for his side's final two matches this season.

Timothee Kolodziejczak will therefore hope to grasp his opportunity with both hands, and Moukoudi joins long-term absentees Jessy Moulin, Anthony Modeste and Yvann Macon on the treatment table.

The fit-again Romain Hamouma will hope to demote Charles Abi back down to the bench against Lille, but Puel should keep changes to a minimum against his former club.

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

Saint-Etienne possible starting lineup:
Green; Debuchy, Cisse, Kolodziejczak, Trauco; Nordin, Neyou, Camara, Bouanga; Hamouma, Khazri

SM words green background

We say: Lille 2-0 Saint-Etienne

Both Galtier and Puel will be desperate to get one over their former clubs in the penultimate gameweek of the season, but the onus is clearly on the hosts to steer clear in the race for the title.

The Ligue 1 crown could be Lille's if PSG cannot better their result when they take on Reims, and despite struggling for consistency at home, we are struggling to back anything other than a routine win for the league leaders on their way to the title.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 1.5 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.Over 1.5:data

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Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare pictured in October 2020
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