MX23RW : Friday, April 23 15:08:57| >> :60:1645:1645:
Feb 28, 2021 at 4.05pm UK at Stade Lille-Metropole
Fonte (86')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Ajorque (36')
Guilbert (44'), Aholou (90')

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

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

Lille will be aiming to consign their dampening Europa League exit to history when they take on Strasbourg in Ligue 1 on Sunday afternoon.

The hosts continue to lead the way at the top of the rankings, whereas Strasbourg have risen to 15th amid an inconsistent run of form.

Match preview

Lille coach Christophe Galtier in the Europa League on February 18, 2021© Reuters

One could argue that Lille deserved to lose the first leg of their Europa League last-32 clash with Ajax - which they did - but Les Dogues produced a much more improved performance in their second meeting with the Amsterdam giants on Thursday evening.

However, their valiant efforts counted for nought as Davy Klaassen and David Neres struck either side of Yusuf Yazici's equaliser to send Lille packing at the last-32 stage of the tournament, with Christophe Galtier's men going down to Erik ten Hag's side 4-2 on aggregate.

An abrupt exit from Europe is sure to hamper Lille's confidence a tad, but at least the Ligue 1 leaders can now focus all their efforts on their domestic title charge, as Galtier's side remain three points clear at the summit after returning to winning ways with a 4-1 victory at Lorient last weekend.

Les Dogues boast 58 points from 26 matches this term, and the last 14 teams to have accrued such an impressive tally at this stage have gone on to be crowned champions of France - a good omen for Galtier's men as Paris Saint-Germain's hold on the Ligue 1 scene appears to be nearing an end.

While their Europa League exit means that Lille have only won one of their last four in all competitions, the hosts are unbeaten in eight in the top flight and have shipped a league-low seven goals on home soil this season, so Strasbourg have their work cut out for them if they are to upset the apple cart.

Strasbourg manager Thierry Laurey pictured in February 2020© Reuters

Strasbourg were tipped as relegation candidates after an appalling start to proceedings, but Thierry Laurey has since steered Les Coureurs to relative safety as they gear up for a taxing trip to the table-toppers.

Laurey's side have only lost two of their nine Ligue 1 outings since the turn of the year to rise to 15th in the standings - six clear of the bottom three - although they were unable to make it back-to-back wins last time out as they played out a goalless stalemate with Angers.

Les Coureurs had marched to an impressive 2-1 success at European outsiders Metz the weekend before, although that win represents Strasbourg's only triumph from their last six attempts, and Laurey must be wary of the sides below Strasbourg starting to accumulate more points as the season reaches its business end.

While Lille have only managed to win two of their last five Ligue 1 matches on home soil, Strasbourg have taken maximum points from four of their last seven away outings in the top division - keeping clean sheets in three of those victories - but their record against Les Dogues does not exactly make for pleasant reading.

Indeed, the league leaders eased to a 3-0 win on Strasbourg's turf earlier in the campaign and have come up trumps in their last three against Strasbourg, although Lille have never won four on the trot against Les Coureurs in the premier division.

Lille Ligue 1 form: WWWWDW
Lille form (all competitions): WWDLWL

Strasbourg Ligue 1 form: DLDLWD
Strasbourg form (all competitions): LDLLWD

Team News

Lille's Jonathan David celebrates scoring their first goal on January 24, 2021© Reuters

Lille are still having to cope without star striker Burak Yilmaz, but fellow forward Jonathan David should return up top, probably in place of Timothy Weah.

Zeki Celik was forced off just after the hour mark against Ajax, so Jeremy Pied should start at right-back on Sunday, while Jose Fonte is expected to demote Tiago Djalo back down to the bench.

Benjamin Andre was an unused substitute in midweek so should come back into the first XI as well, although Galtier also has next Wednesday's clash with Marseille to keep in mind.

Strasbourg manager Laurey revealed at his pre-match press conference that midfielder Jean-Eudes Aholou is doubtful after taking a blow to the knee, but the 26-year-old could be cleared to play.

Jean-Ricner Bellegarde would return to the engine room if Aholou is not given the green light, while much-coveted defender Mohamed Simakan faces another couple of weeks out with a knee problem.

Lille possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Pied, Fonte, Botman, Reinildo; Ikone, Andre, Soumare, Bamba; David, Yazici

Strasbourg possible starting lineup:
Kawashima; Guilbert, Djiku, Mitrovic, Caci; Sissoko, Bellegarde, Lienard; Thomasson; Ajorque, Diallo

SM words green background

We say: Lille 2-0 Strasbourg

Strasbourg's away form is actually rather respectable, but Laurey would need 10/10 performances from every player on the pitch if they are to have any chance of walking away from the Stade Pierre-Mauroy with something to show for it. Lille continue to sweep aside the competition in the league and do not concede many goals at home, so we can only envisage another win for the league leaders on Sunday.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a home win 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.Home Win:data

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Strasbourg defender Mohamed Simakan touches elbows with Monaco boss Niko Kovac in September 2020
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